Women and Entrepreneurship

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Women and Entrepreneurship (Part I) | | By Ronnie L. Goldberg | Thursday, March 11, 2010 | |
While at least half the brainpower on earth belongs to women, women remain perhaps the world’s most underutilized resource. As Ronnie Goldberg argues, not only is equal opportunity in the area of entrepreneurship not a reality — its absence is a drag on growth, development and poverty alleviation. |

t least half the brainpower on earth belongs to women. Countries that do not capitalize on the full potential of one-half of their society are grossly misallocating their human resources and compromising their ability to compete in the global economy. | Women remain perhaps the world’s most underutilized resource. Equal opportunity in the area of economic empowerment is not a reality. | | |
An important part of capitalizing on human potential lies in fostering entrepreneurship. This fact has been well-recognized by the International Labor Organization, which references the importance of entrepreneurship development in its Global Jobs Pact. Indeed, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia himself has said that “no decent work strategy can be successful without encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation and productivity.”At the same time, women workers and women entrepreneurs are the backbone of many industries that have been hard-hit in recent months. And of course, women are the backbones of families struggling to manage in difficult circumstances. The good news is that while women are hard-hit by the problem, we are also a huge part of the solution.So let me take a step back and draw some connections between development, entrepreneurship and women.There is clear evidence that enabling women to develop their skills and qualifications and to join the labor market boosts incomes and well-being throughout society. In particular, educating girls boosts prosperity. Not only are better-educated women more productive, they raise healthier, better-educated children.

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