Pakistan – The Uks Research Centre partnered with the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) to host the “Women in Media Awards” in Karachi. The ceremony recognized four first-place awardees and three runners-up in the areas of print, television, radio, and online. The awards celebrate women journalists from across Pakistan whose work has generated better awareness and understanding of gender equality and women’s role in the society. The ceremony attracted more than 50 attendees, and CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui presented on the importance of training journalists to support the democratic process. Uks also used the occasion of International Women’s Day to launch its new guidebook, Powerful Women – Powerful Nation, which will serve as a training tool and guide for journalists to conduct gender-sensitive reporting. Read more about the winners on the CIPE Development Blog: www.cipe.org/blog/2013/03/13/powerful-women-powerful-nation-changing-the-way-women-are-portrayed-in-pakistan/.
Nigeria – CIPE hosted a workshop in Lagos for 26 women participants representing 17 business and professional organizations throughout Nigeria. Facilitated by CIPE Nigeria Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi and CIPE consultant Carmen Stanila, the workshop focused on advocacy techniques for promoting policies that improve the business environment for women. The participants learned about the elements of building an effective advocacy campaign and laid the foundation for a network of women business associations by developing the mission, goals, membership categories, structure, and the groups’ rules for the network. This is the second workshop in a series, which is part of CIPE’s program to enhance the participation of Nigerian business women in decision-making.
Pakistan – The Peshawar Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized its first focus group meeting as part of a CIPE-funded initiative to identify and address policy-related barriers to the development of women’s entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Access to finance was highlighted as a major issue that will need to be addressed, both to encourage greater participation by women in entrepreneurship and to support the expansion of women-owned firms.
Afghanistan – The Impressive Consultancy Company and the Women’s Economic Empowerment Center conducted an exhibition of products made by women-owned businesses on February 14 to mark Valentine’s Day. Several students from CIPE’s Tashabos youth entrepreneurship course participated in the event, setting up booths to display and sell their products, providing them with a chance to improve their marketing skills.
Pakistan – CIPE completed a diagnostic report on the development of women’s chambers of commerce in Pakistan. The research shows that of eight registered women’s chambers, currently only five are functioning effectively. The report indicates that while these chambers have increased their membership, they continue to have deficits in governance, income generation and sustainability, and service delivery for members. Using this information, CIPE plans to develop a range of capacity-building initiatives for Pakistan’s women’s chambers, and will also integrate these organizations into current efforts to build a region-wide network of women’s business organizations.
Zimbabwe – CIPE partner the Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (WABAZ) conducted a Womenomics Dialogue Forum in cooperation with its members the Professional Women Executives and Business Women’s Forum, the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Center, and Network (ZWRCN) and UN WOMEN. The Forum provided an opportunity for 55 women participants to discuss the budgetary process, focusing on women’s attitudes towards participation in the budget process and how they can advance their participation in the formal sector. The attendees were encouraged to be part of organizations that advocate on their behalf. Action plans from the Forum included addressing women’s lack of knowledge of the budgetary process and the resulting disadvantages. Several of the host organizations pledged to provide support to these action plans. For example, ZWRCN will be responsible for research and obtaining information on gender-based budgeting, PROWEB will ad vocate for a quota system were women can sit in on decision-making boards, and WABAZ will disseminate information to its members to increase women’s participation in budgetary process.
Bangladesh – CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui participated in the South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium in Dhaka, which was organized by the U.S. State Department. Participants included leading women entrepreneurs and business association leaders from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. Other participants included U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the State Department’s U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council Sarah Peck, and a range of other U.S. government officials. The Symposium sought to give women entrepreneurs in the region a platform to discuss trade facilitation and an opportunity to share best practices to grow their businesses. Siddiqui presented CIPE’s program to create a network of regional women’s business associations, which will complement the State Department’s efforts in the region.
Nigeria – CIPE Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi and Assistant Program Officer Erica Poff participated in an event in Akure, Ondo State, hosted by the Country Women’s Association of Nigeria (COWAN) in honor of International Rural Women’s Day. COWAN, a leading association representing about 260,000 rural women entrepreneurs across Nigeria, recently participated in a CIPE workshop to build the capacity of Nigerian women’s business associations to better represent their members. Gbadamosi and Poff also met with the Governor’s Special Advisor on NGOs to discuss how Ondo State is improving the business environment and promoting development, as well as the leadership of the Akure City Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture to discuss future programming opportunities with CIPE.
Peru – CIPE partner the Institute for Liberty and Democracy held a workshop in Cusco aimed at promoting business participation among indigenous women and building the capacity of indigenous women’s associations. The workshop provided over 40 participants with the legal and economic tools to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, know their rights, and advocate for removing challenges that affect the local business environment. CIPE consultant Marina Stadthagen presented at the workshop on association governance and the importance of business associations in democratic societies.
Nigeria – CIPE hosted a three-day capacity-building workshop for 24 women representing 15 Nigerian business and professional women’s associations at CIPE’s field office in Lagos. The workshop on association management covered topics including best practices for functional boards and management; strategic planning; membership recruitment and retention; and service provision. CIPE Nigeria Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi, CIPE Field Representative Camelia Bulat, and CIPE Program Officer Yana Hongla facilitated the workshop. CIPE is working to enhance the capacity of business and professional women’s organizations to effectively advocate for their members’ interests.
Zimbabwe – CIPE partner the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) hired two consultants to provide assistance to the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). The first consultant met with two WABAZ members to provide technical assistance on association management and membership development, while the second consultant met with five WABAZ members in Harare and Bulawayo to solicit input on the development of a strategic plan to guide the informal coalition over the next five years. This is part of a CIPE program with ZNCC to empower women’s business associations to advocate for policy and regulatory reforms on issues affecting women entrepreneurs.
Bangladesh – The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) organized a seminar in Dhaka on September 20, entitled “A Path toward the Development of Women Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh: the 2012-13 National Budget.” Among the over 200 attendees were Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, along with BWCCI board members, parliamentarians, representatives of international donors, NGOs, and women entrepreneurs. Former BWCCI President Selima Ahmad noted that while women have made significant contributions to the national economy, the government lacks a cohesive policy to promote women entrepreneurs. Minister Abdul Muhith responded that the government has now allocated the equivalent of over US $12 million for women entrepreneurs as a way to begin addressing this issue. Over 100 journalists from print, television and online media covered the event.
Mauritania – CIPE held a capacity-building workshop in Nouakchott for 20 participants representing the Union Mauritanienne des Femmes Entrepreneures et Commercantes (UMAFEC) and the Union Nationale du Patronat Mauritanien (UNPM). UMAFEC is the apex business membership organization for women entrepreneurs in Mauritania, and UNPM is a confederation of private sector associations that represent various Mauritanian economic sectors. The workshop, which was facilitated by CIPE Africa Program Officer Yana Hongla and CIPE consultant Haroune Sidatt, focused on ways to improve association management, particularly on topics such as membership development, service and program delivery, and good governance. CIPE is working to strengthen the capacity of UMAFEC and UNPM to better represent their members and advocate for policy reforms.
West Bank/Gaza – On September 9, as part of a CIPE-supported project to strengthen corporate and democratic governance, the Palestine Governance Institute hosted a workshop for Palestinian businesswomen. Speakers included: Asma Masri, the chairperson of the Nablus Businesswomen Association; Dr. Hisham Awartani, PGI executive director; and Mohammad Shahin, a member of the Palestinian Development Fund. The speakers explained ways in which Palestinian businesswomen can strengthen their firms. Dr. Awartani recommended that they adopt corporate governance practices in order to become more efficient and competitive and to access financial assistance provided by specialized international and local organizations. Twenty-eight businesswomen attended the workshop and expressed interest in future workshops on similar topics.
Looking through Diplomatic Courier magazine’s 2012 list of Top Global Women, it comes as no surprise to see names such as President Dilma Rousseff and Aung San Suu Kyi, not to mention a number of impressive women’s rights activists. I am pleased, however, to see business women making more and more appearances on such international lists of influential women. I suppose this is occurring both because women are rising in the business world and because the importance of women’s economic leadership is increasingly recognized.
The 2012 list has executives like Cher Wang, co-founder of HTC of smartphone fame, and Chanda Kochhar, head of ICICI Bank. Significantly, leaders of chambers of commerce are recognized: Christine Martey-Ochola, co-founder of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce; and Selima Ahmad, founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Zimbabwe - CIPE’s partner the Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe is hosting a series of breakfast meetings called ‘Breaking Financial Barriers to Success’ for women entrepreneurs as part of ongoing efforts to empower women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe. Twenty two participants attended the meeting and interacted with a series of presenters, which included the Director of Women Affairs and Gender and Community Development, Research Manager for FBC Bank and the Business Development Manager for Micro King Finance. The Meeting was attended by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZTV) which aired footage during the nightly news. CIPE is supporting WABAZ to empower women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe through technical assistance, advocacy, and research on issues affecting women in business.
Volume 6 of the GROW newsletter features an overview of women’s entrepreneurship in Asian developing countries by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which profiles women’s business organizations in the region and makes recommendations for the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship. The issue also includes a description of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan by Arjumand A. Qazi, highlights from the CACCI Women Entrepreneurs Council session at the 2011 CACCI Conference in Istanbul, and more.
The Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (WABAZ), a newly formed women’s coalition hosted a public launch of the organization. As part of the launch, Dr. Charity Manyeruke author of a CIPE-commissioned study on women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe presented the report, which examines the enabling environment and potential for women’s empowerment in the country. The Minister of Industry and Commerce, the Minister and Permanent Secretary of Regional Integration and Economic Cooperation, as well as members of Parliament, and the Permanent Secretaries from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Economic Development and the Ministry of SMEs were in attendance. The President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce – organizers and supporters of WABAZ – gave remarks, as did the Chairwoman of WABAZ. The Ministers gave brief presentations and pledge their maximum support for the coalition. The event, which was also attended by top women business executives in the country, was covered by both the print and electronic media. CIPE is supporting the growth of WABAZ through ZNCC to strengthen the voice of business associations in the country to represent the interests of the private sector in dialogue with the government.
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