The 2010 CIPE International Youth Essay Contest invited students and young professionals from across the globe to submit original works sharing their ideas on create opportunities for youth to strengthen democracy and the private sector in their own countries. The category on women and participation received several quality and insightful entries and the winners were announced at the end of October. The first, second, and third place winners all highlighted the conditions and struggles women face when participating in the economic and political realms, and prescribed solutions to increasing the empowerment of women in the private sector.
First place winner, Deepa Kylasam Iyer, advocates for an expanded national agenda on women’s issues and believes increased youth participation is key to programmatic successes. Deepa also discusses the role of self-help groups for women that provide access to credit, training, and shared resources in supporting women’s programs stating, “SHGs offer a unique approach to financial intermediation by linking themselves to wider development programmes.” The second place winner, Claris Gatwiri Kariuki, also pointed out various political barriers to participation and suggested capacity building workshops to address the needs of women entrepreneurs.
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On November 19, 2010, the Center for International Private Enterprise Regional Office in Bucharest, Romania conducted, in partnership with the Coalition of Women’s Business Associations, a roundtable to discuss Entrepreneurship in Times of Crisis: 2009 – 2010. The event, organized in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, was held in Ramnicu Valcea, Romania where approximately 35 women were in attendance. The participants ranged from business owners and managers to entrepreneurs from six women’s business associations, all of which are members of the Coalition of Women’s Business Associations.
At the roundtable various topics were discussed including the evolution and dynamics of Romanian companies, economic obstacles and incentives and their impact on the companies’ competitiveness, as well as prospects for 2011 in dealing with economic crisis. When discussing economic obstacles and incentives each business association was asked to identify three they often encounter from each category. While the lists created by the various business associations had a variety of obstacles and incentives, some common themes did arise. Several women indicated that unpredictable or unreliable legislation along with excessive taxation were among the largest obstacles they experience. Conversely, the women cited personal incentives, such as optimism against all odds, strong motivation, and the will to succeed, as having the strongest influence on their businesses. To view the full list of the women’s responses follow this link. Overall, the event was very well received and included media coverage from local broadcast television stations.
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