Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category.

Recommendations for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Peshawar

Pakistan – The Peshawar Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, working under a small grant from CIPE, has put forward to the regional government a set of policy recommendations to benefit women entrepreneurs in the region. This week the Chamber held a closing event for over 100 participants. The Education Minister agreed to consider including basic business education at the middle school level across the province and a regional focus group for women entrepreneurs will be formed to work on the other policy recommendations. The event was widely covered by the press, including:,, and

Blog by Hammad Siddiqui: “Entrepreneurship Development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa


Advocating for Women Traders in Nigeria

Recognizing the importance of women in the key issues that Nigeria and ECOWAS are committed to addressing, Life Impact Foundation International (LIFI) has recently prepared a position paper on the Women and Cross-Border Trade Project in Nigeria. LIFI argues that women cross-border traders are driving forces in alleviating poverty, ensuring food security, and generating employment.

Important though they are, most of these women remain in the informal sector where they are not recognized and do not benefit from policies meant to facilitate trade in the region.  Although ECOWAS has implemented a set of protocols to reflect the decisions of heads of state, enforcement of these policies has been found wanting.  Because of this, significant challenges faced by women-cross border traders remain including lack of information regarding trade protocols, transport constraints, lack of access to finance and networks, and extortion of all kinds.

To address the problem, LIFI has developed several recommendations for action that will help shift the way all actors of the cross-border trade community view these women:

  1. Officially recognize the significance and needs of women as contributors to national and regional trade and development in trade policy and export promotion
  2. Develop cross border trade facilitation programming targeted at women traders
  3. Empower women traders through greater access to horizontal and vertical business linkages, information, skills and resources
  4. Build capacity among border officials toward gender sensitive professional practice, standards and accountability
  5. Initiate multi-sectoral approaches that will support the facilitation of women’s cross-border trade

As the position paper states, “moves towards regional economic integration for the purposes of economic and human development cannot ignore the role of women cross-border traders.” Only when informal women traders enjoy the same access to markets, opportunities, and ability to operate in the formal sector, will the region truly realize trade openness and substantial regional economic growth.

Read the full Position paper here.

Thanks to Eniola Dada for sharing this paper.

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Women Business Associations in the Balkans Meet on Entrepreneurship, Advocacy and Coalition Building

The Regional Center for Organization Management has recently organized a series of events dedicated to women entrepreneurship, advocacy and coalition building. The events took place in Bucharest, Romania on June 12-15, 2012 and they brought together over fifty women entrepreneurs and women association managers from six countries in the Balkan region (Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey).

The series of events is part of a project titled “Balkan Women Coalition for Professional Qualification and Training in the Field of Business and Economic Science” (2012-2014), funded by the European Commission through the Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme. The aim of the project is to establish and strengthen a coalition of Balkan women’s business associations, as well as to improve women’s entrepreneurial and professional skills. This project builds on a previous initiative aiming for the creation of an informal coalition of Balkan women business associations which CIPE supported in 2005-2007. Continue reading ‘Women Business Associations in the Balkans Meet on Entrepreneurship, Advocacy and Coalition Building’ »

Budgeting for Women in Bangladesh

Selima Ahmad (right)


The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a roundtable with Finance Minister AMA Muhith entitled “National Budget 2012-13 and Women Entrepreneurs.”  Attended by members of parliament, NGO representatives, women activists, academicians, and the media, the event explored the possibilities for creating an environment in which women entrepreneurs could flourish.

Acting on a statement that “the government emphasizes women development in the greater inerest of the country,” Finance Minister Muhith pledged to allocate Tk 1 billion  ($12 million) as a special fund to promote the development of women entrepreneurs.  Muhith agreed to BWCCI’s request to release funds on the condition that the chamber develop a comprehensive plan on how the money will be used.  He noted that in the past, special funds for other sectors have been set aside but were misused because of weak implementation plans.

Continue reading ‘Budgeting for Women in Bangladesh’ »

The Role of Advocacy in Building Democracies that Deliver for Women

Originally posted on CIPE’s Development Blog by Jon Custer on Februrary 29, 2012

CIPE has long recognized the value of business associations to articulate and advocate for the interests of entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Women entrepreneurs and business owners face many of the same regulatory, legal, and policy issues as businesses headed by men. However, despite driving much of the world’s economic growth, women also face unique obstacles that hinder their participation in the economy, especially in leadership roles. Of the world’s 500 largest companies, only 13 (less than 3%) have a female chief executive officer.

In this week’s Economic Reform Feature Service article, senior director of La Pietra Coalition Sandra Taylor talks about how the strategies of collective action and advocacy can be used to increase women’s economic opportunities and make democracies more responsive to their citizens. “Non-profits, government, businesses, and the public can make substantially greater progress in alleviating many serious and complex social problems if they join around a common agenda,” she writes. “When we work together to accomplish a similar goal we can be very powerful and have a real collective impact.”

Article at a glance:

  • For democracy to deliver for women around the world, women’s voices must be heard on policy and regulatory issues that affect them at the local, national, and increasingly, the global level.
  • Women’s business associations, networks, and coalitions are important vehicles for political, economic, and social empowerment.
  • The focus on creating economic opportunity for women is key not only to women’s empowerment but to the democratic and economic development of countries.

With International Women’s Day approaching on March 8, we will be focusing for the next week on women’s issues here on the blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter @cipeglobal. Tomorrow: 20 Empowered Women You Should Be Following on Twitter.

The Coalition of Women’s Business Associations Sets a Good Example for Romanian Civil Society

A few months ago, the Coalition of Women’s Business Associations, Romania, submitted a protest to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, in reference to a number of unfriendly fiscal and financial measures that the government has adopted, in order to increase its budget.

Under the slogan “We Care”, the Coalition suggested a set of ten alternative measures that should help support the business environment, especially because some fiscal measures that were adopted by the Government in 2009 have determined the closure of around 150,000 SMEs. CAFA proposed that, instead of those measures, which are simply aimed at raising more money now, the government should introduce measures that stimulate work and the creation of more jobs, and allow companies to become stable and even to grow. Such measures are: the elimination of the mandatory income tax income introduced in 2009; the elimination of the 5% and 10% late penalties that only private companies must pay (as opposed to state-owned companies, which are exempted from paying penalties); increasing the transparency of the laws on public acquisitions; simplifying the procedures for granting European funds to SMEs; introducing VAT deduction procedures for natural persons; eliminating the tax on reinvested profit, etc.

Continue reading ‘The Coalition of Women’s Business Associations Sets a Good Example for Romanian Civil Society’ »

The Voice of Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs

In this video, the Executive Director of the Palestinian Business Women Forum (BWF), Doa Wadi, highlights the journey BWF has taken, as well as challenges and lessons learned along the way as BWF positions itself as the voice of women entrepreneurs throughout the West Bank. Using the results of a survey of Palestinian businesswomen administered last Fall, with CIPE’s support the (BWF) is conducting regular public-private dialogues and advocating for issues that matter most for women entrepreneurs in the West Bank.

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Women’s National Business Agenda Success

In the budget of 2009- 2010, the government has allocated 1000 crore taka (69.70 = 1$) for the SME sector. In fact it was the same also in the last budget but there was nothing for women SMEs. We expressed our demands in the Women’s National Business Agenda launch and also in our prebudget seminar, and in this budget 15% from this 1000 crore for women SMEs has been allocated.

This is another success of BWCCI.

Selima Ahmad
President, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Recommendations and Communique from the 4th Global

Participants in the 4th Global Women Entrepreneurs Trade Fair and Investment Forum held in Accra, Ghana, from July 23 to 31, 2009, made recommendations for improving trade in the ECOWAS region. They identified goals for cross-border trade, capacity building, health care, food processing and packaging, and scientific information and technology. To achieve these goals, they called for women entrepreneurs in the region to come together to create a strategic plan, and they made recommendations to African governments and the international community.

Read the Recommendations from the 4th Global Women Entrepreneurs Trade Fair and Investment Forum

Lucia Quachey
President, Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs

President of Bangladesh Receives Women’s National Business Agenda

We submitted the Women’s National Business Agenda draft to Hon’bl President of the Government of Bangladesh. It was the first time our news was in the national television headlines. The President was happy to see the WNBA draft and he mentioned that it will hep the Govt. to promote women’s entrepreneurship as it has wide information and specific recommendations.

Read the story in the Daily Star: “President Suggests Women’s Chamber in Every District” (May 25, 2009)

Selima Ahmad
President, BWCCI