The Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), in collaboration with the Association of Federations and Associations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME), will organize the 7th edition of the Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum, which will take place in the framework of the 9th edition of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, on the 27th November in Barcelona.
Barcelona, 4th November 2015
Ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life by 2030, is one of the key objectives of the UN in the framework of the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A direct path to that goal is the women’s economic empowerments, who contribute very positively to the economy, especially as entrepreneurs. However, they remain in the minority in management positions globally and especially in the Mediterranean region, where women represent only a quarter of managers and senior technical positions, compared to 45% of the world average. On the promotion of equal opportunities and empowerment of women, the private sector has become a key player.
According to a recent study published by UN Women (United Nations Entity for the Empowerment of Women), women employed in the Mediterranean region are a minority and those who are, tend to have low-level jobs. For example, in North Africa, fewer than 1 in 5 women have a well-paid employment in the non-agricultural sector. The line between the economic growths of equal opportunities is very thin. In fact, the gender gap in the workplace is associated with lower growth rates. In the Mediterranean, the gap reduces the per capita GDP of 27%, according to UN Women.
What is the role of the private sector in the empowerment of women? This starts with the respect of their obligations regarding equal opportunities. Today, more than 800 companies worldwide have joined the Principles for the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). This commitment should be translated into concrete measures such as the promotion of the Mediterranean Women entrepreneurs or their professional development. Furthermore, those should be complemented by the evaluation and information on the progress of measures in favour of equal chances. It should be kept in mind that the full participation of women in the economy, also means an opportunity for the company. An analysis of the annual reference list “Fortune 500” revealed that companies with a representation of women in management positions offer to their shareholders a total return of 34% higher than those with a lower representation of women.
Considering that women entrepreneurs are an increasingly stronger reality in the Mediterranean region, there is still no established framework giving opportunities to those women to establish contacts and to do entrepreneurial networking, at an international level. In this sense, the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Barcelona and the Association of Federations and Associations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME) took the initiative, 7 years ago, to organize a Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum. The edition of this year, the 7th Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum will take place in the framework of the 9th edition of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, on the 27th November in Barcelona. During the consolidated forum, with more than 300 women from 20 countries of the region, who attended the last edition, the role of women entrepreneurs in the economic development of the region will be analysed, as well as the challenges regarding the creation or the management of their enterprises, such as obtaining financing to start their projects.
This meeting, which will count on the presence of presidents of organisations of women entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean, will be a unique opportunity for women or entrepreneurs, who want to start a business project, to establish contacts with other women entrepreneurs in the region, to encourage them and guide them to start a business in key sectors, to be independent and to carry out their own ideas.
The commitment to the Mediterranean and entrepreneur women becomes the basis that will help achieve the goal of a prosperous and sustainable region. Any Mediterranean progress without the joint construction of a society based on equal opportunities, where the full participation of women in the economic and business development of the region is guaranteed.
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