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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Post Agenda 2015: Gender approach

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This article was published on “Foresight for Development”, check: http://www.foresightfordevelopment.org/featured/gender-equality-ii

 

05GenderEquality

I was honored to represent women in two international events that emphasized changing history: the “World Conference on Youth” in Sri Lanka and “UNAOC: Unity in Diversity” in Indonesia. I used this opportunity to be the voice of many women around world, and negotiate the right for gender equality to all women.

The outcomes of the post-agenda 2015 are a future promise to girls and women to live a normal life. It is now time to stand up for quality of girls’ secondary and higher levels of education and learning outcomes. “If you educate a woman, you educate a nation” cannot be possible if girls and women are forced to stay at home instead of studying. Ensuring the right of education for women, means giving them much better economic forecasts, more decision-making autonomy, greater control over their own productivity, healthier children, and a better chance of educating their own children.

If there is anything that would help to improve the situation of women, I would say “education”, which is a great way to empower women, not only socially, but politically and economically. As for the so-called “economic empowerment” of women, women’s roles in economic contributions were mostly ignored. Women’s economic empowerment must be not only a priority but a matter of urgency in the post-2015 framework.

The post-2015 development agenda should include targets and indicators on women’s ownership of and access to assets, engagement in employment and entrepreneurship. Women should have ownership of and access to possessions, resources and services.

Another thing that is unacceptable in the name of humanity that happens to one in three women in their lifetime is “violence”. Violence is a universal phenomenon ingrained in the determined discrimination against women and the historic power inequality in relationships between the two sexes.

I believe that violence is not tolerated across all cultures, countries and generations. It damages women’s health and well-being, inflicts upon their human rights, and deprives women, families and society as a whole.

 

Women to lead, to voice out and influence

Women should have the capacity to participate in and influence the decisions that affect their own lives, which are basic human rights and a requirement for responsive and equitable governance. Empowering women and thereby enhancing their chances to take leadership positions in the global economy, politics and society, has a great impact on maximizing a country’s development potential.

 

Contribution of women in peace and security

It is necessary to ensure participation of women in addressing the peaceful dialogue. Building peaceful and sustainable states can only happen through the active engagement and inclusion of women in peace and security negotiations.

 

Women and the environment

Research established that women are the world’s main producers of food and responsible for collecting water and fuel. In India and Africa, women walk from six to eight hours to fetch water. As such, they have extensive knowledge about the management of natural resources and ecosystems and their views can contribute considerately in fighting climate change.

Gender equality is a precondition for the health and development of societies and countries, and a driver of economic, social and political growth. It is our duty to ensure a brighter future for our daughters, without making them feel lesser than men or compromising opportunities to be equal to males.

I BELIEVE that we will still face poverty problems, health issues, employment matters, education difficulties, environment complications, unless we ensure gender equality, where both sexes have equal opportunities and chances to build a better world.

 

Sana AFOUAIZ

 

Youth Leaders Speaker for Millennium Campus Conference

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Youth Speaker in Millennium Campus Conference 2014, to share thoughts about the state of youth leadership for global change, Youth Policies and Post Agenda. Feeling fortunate to be one among experts, activists and celebrities like the actress of the “Sex and the City”: Kristin Davis, Mischa Barton, The Director Of Peace Corps Carrie Hessler- Radelet and many other activists and prize winners.

The event took place on the 12/10/2014 in Florida gathering more than 1,000 student leaders from over 50 countries worldwide.

Check it from here : http://www.mcc2014.org/sana-afouaiz

Meeting with the Executive Director of The Millennium Campus Network

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