Friday, November 16, 2012

Challenges for Pacific women in business outlined

Published November 16, 2012  -- by the Pacific Periscope Newsletter, a weekly publication for Pacific Islands Trade and Investment.
Australia’s first global ambassador for women and girls, Penny Williams, has outlined the challenges and solutions, opportunities and options for women entrepreneurs and leaders of the Pacific during her address at the opening of the Pacific Women in Business conference in Nadi, Fiji, this week.
The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) hosted ‘Pacific Women in Business Conference 2012’ brought together Government and community representatives to discuss and make practical recommendations on how to progress the development of women entrepreneurs. More than 100 women from 14 Pacific countries participated in the meet.

The conference challenged the world to harness women’s many talents in powering economic development. Ms Williams said women must ensure they were given access to capital so that women entrepreneurs could turn their ideas into small and medium enterprises.

“When women participate more fully in their economies, everyone benefits. Conversely, across the world, economies are suffering because of women’s limited access to employment opportunities,” Ms Williams said. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that in the Asia-Pacific region alone this equates to a loss of $47 billion annually, she added.

Speaking about her home country, she said: “Australia’s experience is that if we want to see opportunities for women improve, we must begin with sound economic policies that explicitly address the unique challenges that limit women. So, too, in the Pacific.”

She advocated improving women’s access to markets and said there was also a need to examine and reform legal and regulatory systems so women could avail themselves of the full range of financial services.

Also included in the conference are disabled women who are involved in business as well as the Pacific Disability Forum.

 [The FSM was represented at this meeting by a staff of the Department of Resources and Development, Division of Trade and Investment, and a private sector member from the State of Kosrae, both women]

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