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Women Want Economic Opportunity

Discrimination against women and little access to financing opportunities has a long lasting effect that ultimately impacts everyone. Berlin held the Women20 Summit where women of influence discussed the economic empowerment of women and acknowledged current and potential problem areas.

Women leaders from all over the world came together and discussed the economic empowerment of women. This event was organized by the German Women’s Council and the Association of Female Entrepreneurs.

The W20 goal is to, “promote women’s economic empowerment as an integral part of the G20 process. In a broad dialogue using digital tools, expert meetings and roundtables as well as the W20 Summit, W20 joins the global experiences of women’s civil society organizations and women’s entrepreneur associations to implement strong recommendations within the G20 negotiations.”

The women in attendance included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, IMF boss Christine Lagarde and Bank of America Vice President Anne Finucane.

According to German Startup Monitor, 2016 saw a steady increase in the number of women founding businesses, however, the number is still only 13.9 percent.

This problem is clearly universal. Queen Máxima stated that only a third of Dutch firms are led by women. Job market and financial resources are not easily accessible and this becomes a major barrier for women who want to move forward.

Queen Máxima stated, “Financing today needs more financial security. That is one of the obstacles facing women,” she also stressed, “it is now a simple matter of fact that more and more women are being denied access to all-important financing.”

This is clearly a roadblock in the world of business for women. The only way that this will change, is if initiative is taken. Leadership from those who are in power and eliminating obstacles towards power amongst women has beneficial outcomes for everyone. Businesses that are more inclusive to both genders and provide equal opportunities leads to more growth and success.

The IMF chief Christine Lagarde stated that a diverse global economy free of inequality and discrimination could yield many macro- and micro-benefits.

Let’s think about the long battle of closing the gender gap. If this gap is actually closed, it could have an impact across economies. For example, it is estimated that in the United States, closing the gap could lead to a growth increase of five percent. In Japan it could be nine percent and in India it could reach up to 23 percent.

These estimated numbers could turn into reality if men and women both worked together to reach equality, especially when it comes to financial resources. Without the resources available, it becomes extremely difficult to move forward and reach equal terms.

At this point, the only way for businesses to see significant improvements is through political implementation for better access to education and jobs for women. This will increase the global network of female entrepreneurs and businesswomen to bolster the workforce and the global economy.

Featured Image by tara hunt on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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