Facebook in support of UN Women recently hosted a Boost Your Business workshop for women Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) owners in Cape Town.
More than 200 women entrepreneurs attended the event, where they were able to network and receive advice on growing their businesses. Globally, only half of women participate in the labour force, compared to three quarters of men. In developing regions, up to 95% of women’s employment is informal, in jobs that are unprotected by labour laws, lack social protection, with limited access to resources and information. Enhancing women’s economic empowerment is one of the five top priority areas of UN Women.
“Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General. “Ultimately, advancing women-owned SMEs pays dividends in terms of jobs and improved development outcomes, including gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.”
SMEs are the engines for job growth in the world economy, accounting for 80% of jobs worldwide. In South Africa, for every 10 adult men engaged in entrepreneurship there are 8 women. Data shows that global GDP could rise by as much as 2%, or 1.5 trillion dollars, if women and men entrepreneurs could participate equally. It could rise by 13-18 billion dollars if 600 million more women had access to the Internet across 144 developing countries.
“We believe that technology can be a game changer for women and girls – in particular for women-owned SMEs. Our EmpowerWomen.org online platform gives women entrepreneurs in over 190 countries access to business success stories, resources and tools directly from their mobile devices. This way, technology becomes an accelerator for women to start and grow prosperous companies that can transform our society and create equal opportunities for all,” says Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Facebook’s Head of Public Policy in Africa, Ebele Okobi, says: “We see SMEs as the backbone of the economy and growing female-owned businesses as critical to South Africa’s growth and development. As a platform that democratises marketing, Facebook can help them grow.
“We’re happy to share our ideas at today’s workshop about how effective, easy to use, and mobile social media solutions can help female entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their businesses.”
Tell us more…….
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. It stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality.
Background information on Facebook:
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.
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