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Main takeaways from the Webinar “Entrepreneurship & Fragile Environments: Beyond Business as Usual"

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Main takeaways from the Webinar : “Entrepreneurship & Fragile Environments: Beyond Business as Usual” with Dr. Holly A. Ritchie

Global situation of women in the economy: women face discrimination in many spheres that inhibit them to get access to public spaces, services and resources (eg. land in agriculture), markets and opportunities. Women entrepreneurs in fragile settings face family and community acceptance and support, choosing type/location of the business and breaking into male-dominated fields, gaining access to networks, markets and resources.

According to WEC (2020) globally only after 257 years, women can participate in the economy on an equal basis to men.

In developing countries where the democratic institutions weak the non-formal institutions as religion, traditional norms, and customs that are mainly patriarchal mindset shape the society that affects women's economic role and rights negatively. 

NGOs mainly work with women networks and provide supports women's collective action, provide access to resources and facilitate improvements of necessary skills. 

Empirical Research of Dr. R's in Afganistan, Sudanese and Surian women focus on how the cultural norms affect women's economic behaviour in fragile environments: 

➊ Women try to engage in business, but on the local level, it requires endorsement from local leaders.

❷ In societies shaped by religious norms, one should find references from that religious setting (as quotes of religious leaders, in religious books, proverbs) to convince the local leaders on women's participation in business.

❸ Impact of successful women-role model from the same village or similar group on encouraging other women is stronger than successful women from different groups. This also helps to make stronger networks. These networks of women and local leaders go beyond just economics, but often foster new cooperate and support among women.

❹ Some leader entrepreneurs may go beyond business and maybe even galvanized to support community problem solving, peacekeeping and social activism.

➎ Not every woman in fragile settings want to become an entrepreneur, some entrepreneurs would prefer to have paid jobs. Therefore, not everyone should be pushed to have a business, but governments and the international community should provide options and choices for women in fragile settings. 

Women's economic barrier not just rooted in finance, lack of skills or marketing, but since economies are embedded in society and culture that limits women's economic mobility and choices. 

Thanks to the Dr.Ritchie for her great contributions on women entrepreneurs in countries with fragile economies, as well as to all attendees. If you were one of those who did not have the opportunity to watch the video, you can see it on our YouTube channel.

Written by Gulnar Bayramova

Pic by Jackson David


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