The Association of Business Women and Top Managers in Brasov, Romania (AFAFCI) has organized a launch event for a new CIPE publication “Women’s Business Associations, Experiences from Around the World: Central and Eastern Europe”, which is part of CIPE’s Women Paper Series. The publication presents findings on the current state of women’s business associations in 14 countries in Central and Eastern Europe (Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, FYROM, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland). It also includes a case study on the Association of Business Women and Top Managers in Brasov, Romania (AFAFCI). AFAFCI has translated the case study into Romanian and printed it at its own expense. The translated version is meant to complement the English version of the study.
The event, which focused on women entrepreneurs and the international recognition of AFAFCI’s work, was hosted by Brasov Chamber of Commerce and Industry and featured CIPE Regional Office Program Director Camelia Bulat, as well as the author of the case study, Cornelia Rotaru, as guest speakers. Ms. Rotaru is also President of another prominent Romanian women entrepreneurs’ organization, the Association for the Development of Women Entrepreneurship (ADAF).
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What can multinational corporations do to encourage women in business, and how can companies benefit from women’s empowerment? Isobel Coleman looks at these questions in Foreign Affairs, “The Global Glass Ceiling: Why Empowering Women is Good for Business.”
“Some companies already promote initiatives focused on women as part of their corporate social responsibility programs…. But the truly transformative shift… will occur when companies understand that empowering women in developing economies affects their bottom lines.”
Companies are incorporating women-owned businesses into supply chains, offering microcredit to distributors (Hindustan Unilever), or teaching literacy and workplace skills (Walmart). Coleman’s five-point plan includes an innovative recommendation for companies to support local organizations that help women, for example by extending their access to property rights. Along these lines, CIPE is coordinating the provision of skills and advice to women’s business associations and similar organizations. Women’s associations in turn provide important services to their members, help new entrepreneurs get started, and provide a credible voice for women entrepreneurs.
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