If women’s entrepreneurship was not only a female Agenda!

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A number of studies and researches over the past years have highlighted that gender equality is a smart economic tool. The unexploited potential of women is a lost opportunity for economic progress and development. Women’s economic participation promotes agricultural productivity, enterprise expansion at the micro and macro, small and medium enterprise levels, in addition to improving business management and returns on investments.

Besides boosting economic growth, investing in women has multiplier effects; women plow a large portion of their income in their families and communities. Women play crucial role in creating peaceful and stable societies which are important factors for economic growth. Regrettably, even these benefits have been universally recognized and have therefore not translated into women’s full economic participation, especially in Africa, where women still face obstacles when establishing new businesses or even increasing existing ones. Among the biggest obstacles are discriminatory laws, regulations and business conditions, with women’s lack of access to property rights, finance, training, technology, markets, mentors, and networks. We can only imagine one of the reasons behind the lack of economic development of Africa when half of the population is discriminated from full participation in the economic level.

Although there has been current focus on developing women’s entrepreneurship in Africa, this spotlight has been on growth-oriented women’s businesses. Women’s entrepreneurship in micro and small business that are often measured as informal, regardless of these concentrated efforts of poverty reduction initiatives through increased access to skills training and micro-credit, still have not been able to reach the growth potential among women.

The role of women in African economies is more emphasized in recent years by ensuring gender equality and women empowerment among Africans. But the fact is that women have less access to resources, education and health facilities in most of the African countries, where women are half the workforce. Greater participation of women in economic activities is the major concern of most of the countries in Africa, which is considered as one of the best tools to achieve and attain a sustain development in Africa. Africa cannot manage to attain a development if half of its population is discriminated and ignored from local and national policies.

African governments need to show more financial aid to support efforts to increase women’s access to quality financial services; there is an urge need to highlight women’s crucial role in advancing agricultural development and food security, and encourage policy and programmatic support for female farmers and agricultural businesses owned by women, and reform the policy to facilitating the processes for women in this field.

More support to NGOs, industry associations, and corporations advocating for policy and programmatic solutions that would enable women’s economic participation, also enhance more technology Access and providing access to mobile phones, Internet, and other vital technologies along with addressing cultural, financial, educational barriers…

Provide capacity building, trainings, and mentoring programs to women and girls and equip them with market information, entrepreneurship opportunities, and the necessary skills to attain economic independence; and Encourage best practices to increase women’s leadership in the sector of business and entrepreneurship;

Government states need to find a solution to one of the biggest obstacles in Africa which is Data Collection; endorse the collection and configuration of gender data in the economic sector to create evidence-based policy and programs aimed at increasing women’s economic participation across all sectors.

If women’s entrepreneurship was not only a female Agenda, Africa would be different.

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12 steps to be a successful woman

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This article was published on “The Voice of Women Initiative”, check from here: http://vowinitiative.org/2014/05/14/12-steps-to-be-a-successful-woman/

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1)      Don’t make your life’s goal ONLY about getting married and having children- it is great to have your own family- but don’t minimize your abilities on being a successful person, making change in your surroundings. Don’t stop dreaming and working just because you are married.

2)      Don’t be afraid to take risks, always be eager to be a risk taker, if you stop taking risks, it  means that you have stopped living, get inspiration from the history, the most powerful and successful persons are the ones who take risk, show them that women can handle risky situations, and show them your strength.

3)      Appreciate your value, don’t you ever let anyone tell you “you are just a woman, you cannot do it”, show them how much you are aware and appreciate your value and your abilities, don’t be afraid to tell the world “I can definitely do it”.

4)      Don’t waste your energy and your time trying to convince others that you can do amazing things like any other man, but show them what you can do through actions.

5)      Be a role model, inspire and get inspired from  other women by sharing your experiences, your lessons, your failures, your hard times…Help others, especially youth, learn that there are women out there that can really manage both their careers and their personal lives  successfully.

6)      Be confident, don’t be shy to talk to people and to share your thoughts, be proud of what you have to say. Confidence is the key of being successful person. Make conversation with others and stay involved in current events and interesting topics to help make wise up-to-date chit chat.

7)      Say goodbye to your past, your past is an experience for your future’s decisions; don’t get stuck in it just because you made some bad decisions. Take a step forward and think to yourself and say “today I will be powerful woman”.

8)      Handle insults with grace, remember that there are 7 billion people out there who will try to piss you off, make you feel unworthy, and underestimate you! Don’t be affected by that, show them how worthy you are and how strong a person you can be.

9)      Be and stay educated, being educated will guarantee you not only having the skills and knowledge you need to pursue your career, but also it will make you  well-respected by those you come across in your life. Your level of education mirrors your intelligence.

10)  Don’t be afraid to talk about politics, global issues, traditions and all the important topics, just because you are woman.

11)  Be independent not only financially, but also physically and emotionally, make a decision to be independent, which is being able to make decisions and then acting upon them. Being Independence is being capable to accurately take a decision even if it turns out to be a wrong decision.

12)  Challenge yourself every morning to show the world that women can be successful, because they have all the abilities needed to make positive changes!

P.S: I judged these 12 steps as ways to be a successful woman based on my own experiences and from the experiences of other powerful women.

Sana AFOUAIZ