Women in Business: Policies to support women entrepreneurship development in MENA


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Presented at the July 2012 Meeting of the OECD-MENA Initiative's Working Group on SME Policy, Entrepreneurship and Human Capital Development http://www.oecd.org/mena/investment

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Women in Business: Policies to support women entrepreneurship development in MENA

  1. 1. Women in Business: Policies to Support Women's Entrepreneurship Development in MENA by the OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum
  2. 2. Outline of the presentation 1. MENA committments to foster women enterpreneurship 2. Women's potential to support greater entrepreneurial activity 3. Targeted action to accelerate women’s entrepreneurship – Policies, institutions and supporting data – Access to finance – Access to business support services & market information 2
  3. 3. Commitments to women’s economic empowerment • All MENA governments have ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) • At MENA-OECD Ministerial Conferences, ministers endorsed the : • Declaration on Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region (2007) • Action Plan on Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship and Employment in the MENA Region (2009) and • called for the creation of a supporting network. 3
  4. 4. Nascent Infant Mature Asia;Hi Inc Europe N Amer, Oceania MENA Asia: Lo Inc Latin America Africa Men Asia;Hi Inc Europe N Amer, Oceania MENA Asia: Lo Inc Latin America Africa Asia;Hi Inc Europe N Amer, Oceania MENA Asia: Lo Inc Latin America Africa Asia;Hi Inc Europe N Amer, Oceania MENA Asia: Lo Inc Latin America Africa Proportion of Owners Absence of women enterpreneurs impacts enterprise activity rates in MENA Women 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Young 4
  5. 5. Low labour force participation impacts enterprise development 100 90 80 70 60 50 Female (% population 15+) 40 Male (% of population 15+) 30 20 10 0 Source: World Bank (2010), GenderStats, Washington, DC, USA: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank. 5
  6. 6. Additional factors hampering women’s entrepreneurship • •   •   •   High unemployment despite low labour force participation MENA women are on average twice as likely as men to be unemployed, with much higher ratios in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Qatar, Jordan, and Algeria. In Bahrain, for example, women make up 75% of the unemployed. Necessity and informality Many of the region’s women engage in marginal labour market activity as unpaid workers or family helpers (this is particularly noticeable in Djibouti, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine and Yemen) or work in seasonal or temporary informal activities, including the agricultural sector. More women than men start their business in the informal sector out of economic necessity, especially in Egypt and Morocco. Gender gaps in self-employment On average, employed men are more than twice as likely to be self-employed as employed women. The majority of self-employed MENA women are clustered in own-account self-employment (with no employees) or micro-enterprises. Only one in ten self-employed women are employers, compared to one in four self-employed men and the larger the enterprise, the fewer women owners are found. Gender gaps in education are closing but…. Women now make up over half of all university students. In fact, in the UAE, women reportedly make up three-quarters of university students and 70.4% of all university graduates But a large number of women do not have access to quality formal education and are illiterate. Overall, the region has the lowest regional adult literacy rates worldwide with women accounting for about 65% of the region’s illiterate population . 6
  7. 7. OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum A unique network that promotes women’s economic opportunity in the region. • • • • • Co-chairs: H.E. Ms. Dina Kawar, Jordanian Ambassador to France and H.E. Ms. Karen Kornbluh, U.S. Ambassador to the OECD Private sector & NGOs: Businesswomen's associations, business leaders, entrepreneurs Government: Policy makers, women’s councils, small business support agencies International organisations & experts: ILO, OECD, World Bank, UN, academia Local task forces from 18 MENA economies provide regional input and guidance and strengthen impact on the ground. Over 300 representatives of government, private sector and civil society from MENA and OECD economies seek to help improve policies and legislation impacting women’s economic integration. 7
  8. 8. Policy and programmes to promote women’s entrepreneurship First comparative assessment of in 18 MENA countries which : • takes stock of the important policy commitments and institutions put in place by governments to improve women's economic opportunity; • identifies efforts by businesswomen’s associations, financial institutions and the international community to catalyse support for women entrepreneurs; • proposes avenues for further action to accelerate women's entrepreneurship levels. 8