own 1% of the world’s wealth, have a 10% share of the global income and
occupy 14% of leadership positions in the public and private sector. It is
therefore no surprise that they account for 70% of the world’s poor.
“If we truly want to tackle poverty, we must do things differently: we must
empower women to succeed in business and trade, and change the business
environment through policies that support women,” said Patricia R. Francis,
Executive Director, International Trade Centre, speaking at the
International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership, Development,
International Peace and Security Colloquium (Monrovia 7-8 March).
“Access to finance is critical to business success. Women’s lack of access
to finance has been well documented. The global financial crisis exacerbates
an already dissatisfactory situation of trade financing for women
entrepreneurs. Women urgently need a gender-specific component built into
responses to the international financial crisis to ensure they are not
further left out of the shrinking credit pool,” stated Valentine Sendanyoye
Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization.
“Clearly, apportioning funds to poor countries in rescue packages, and
earmarking funds for women entrepreneurs within countries in stimulus
packages and other responses to the crisis can help businesswomen survive
and thrive. This better positions them to contribute to the financial health
of their families and their communities,” Ms Rugwabiza added. “Women’s
economic empowerment builds a strong base for sustainable development.” In
the current financial and economic crisis it is vital that development
partners deliver on their aid for trade commitments to avoid further
marginalization of vulnerable economies.
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