Entrepreneurship is undeniably affected by gender issues, because, to some extent, women’s work is conditioned by gender. In many cases women executives and workers make less money than men, and double standards are almost innumerable. In this context, Pantene, a company produces beauty products, recently made an advert criticizing gender based discrimination in an ironic way: a man in a position of power is “the boss” or a leader, a woman is simply bossy; a man that looks after himself is clean, a woman is vain; a father that choses to work full time is dedicated, a woman is selfish…and the list goes on. In fact, stereotyping of women’s’ role in the workplace and beyond is deeply rooted in many societies.
These issues affect women entrepreneurs in Latin American. Beliefs and values affect every facet of life: from business to high schools, where young women are profiled to go into humanities, arts and design rather than to science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors. In Mexico, most of the 4 million female entrepreneurs work in services, commerce and consulting while just a few Mexican women entrepreneurs are in sectors that handle technology based projects.
Once they decide to take the leap to become business owners, women face other challenges, including access to funding, which might be the biggest of all challenges. Raising funds is a challenge for any entrepreneur, and can be more challenging for women: some 90 per cent of investors are men and women receive less than 12 per cent of all venture capital investment globally.
So, what’s missing?
Angélica Rodriguez from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in a recent article for Forbes asked: “What does Mexico need to propel female entrepreneurs into exploring new sectors, outside their traditional areas of focus when creating new ventures?” She looked at general aspects that apply to both women and men, like the presence of coordinated systems with good links between universities and research centres and provision of support for businesses development. Then she went on to highlight specific issues related to women. She argued that is imperative to empower women to embrace their technological capacity, their ability to take risks and step outside their comfort zone and, above all, to raise a generation of women that has systems in place to support pioneering women entrepreneurs.
The task is immense and, in many ways, it is in the hands of youth. Promoting a shift in beliefs must start in schools and workplaces as well as in homes and social groups. Changing in beliefs by challenging stereotypes will result in an increase of women working and creating enterprises in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
All in all, empowering young women can and will change the world into a better place, pushing humanity forward but, in the words of Isabel Allende, we need to be “working together linked, informed and educated” and it all starts with today’s youth.
About the Author:
Rocío Paniagua is the co-founder of Ronin Public Relations, a company focused on technological projects. In 2012 she represented Mexican women at the UN’s regional leaders’ forum, where she spoke about entrepreneurship, technology and gender. She currently covers the Mexican startup and tech scenes in TechCrunch and is part of the StartupBus crew. Follow her on twitter: www.twitter.com/lachinous
The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women is taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10 to 21 March 2014.
Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session. Read the NGO advisories.
'If you want peace, cultivate social justice.' This is the topic of discussion at a High-Level Panel on Decent Work in Fragile States to be held at ILO headquarters on 20 March. In fragile States, many of which are least developed countries, lack of employment opportunities and livelihoods, youth unemployment, inequalities and lack of participation can be catalysts for conflict. The promotion of social dialogue and the enforcement of fundamental rights can be a critical factor in breaking this circle.
This ILO report provides empirical evidence to confirm that informal employment, a category considered as “non-standard” in traditional literature, is in fact “standard” among young workers in developing economies. Based on the school-to-work transitions surveys (SWTSs) run in 2012-2013, the report finds that three-quarters of young workers aged 15-29 (at the aggregate level) are currently engaged in informal employment. The report is part of the Work4Youth Project, a partnership between the ILO and The MasterCard Foundation that aims to promote decent work opportunities for youth. More.
This ILO report analysing survey results in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa shows that while youth unemployment rates increase with the level of education, it is the young people with less education that are disadvantaged in terms of wages and access to stable employment. Results show that unemployment of young people remains a matter of concern, but that issues relating to the quality of work available to young people are of even greater relevance to the design and implementation of policy interventions. More
UNFPA GCC Office and Ministry of Health, HIV/ AIDS Section collaborated with Y-PEER Oman to implement in 2014 an important outreach awareness activity at Muscat Festival. Y-PEERs used their Edutainment methodology to encourage general public, with a focus on youth, to visit the HIV/AIDS stand, to obtain information about HIV, modes of transmission, prevention methods and get tested. Y-PEERs used puppetry theatre and shadow technique performances to draw attention and attract their target group.
The United Nations Department of Information Non-Governmental Organizations Youth Representatives program is comprised of young, passionate, and dedicated individuals between the ages of 18-32 who aim to serve the missions of their respective NGO’s and empower youth worldwide. Join or collaborate with us in providing civil society with global youth perspectives in an effort to tackle pressing issues and forward the UN agenda!
Want to know more?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Blog: theyouthreps.wordpress.com; Twitter: @theyouthreps
The Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS is excited to announce the opening of the application process for 2014-2016 Regional Focal Points!
GYCA is accepting applications from young people who work in the youth HIV movement in the following regions: Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, North America, and Western Europe. GYCA's RFP Program prepares young leaders working in the HIV response to be pro-active and effective agents of change.
Applications are due March 21st and More info.
SynergY, a youth group, for the second time celebrated National Environment Day by planting 34 trees at the Tadweer Waste Composting Plant in Dubai and encouraging the youth to get an insight on waste composting and waste management, thus reducing and lifting the pressure off the landfills. The enthusiastic group observed the 17th National Environment Day by dedicating the first 17 trees to the present generation and the following half to the future generations.
Over half of the world’s 1.8 million youth live in rural areas; with half of this number working in the agriculture sector. Youth and United Nations Global Alliance (YUNGA) has partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to produce the Junior Farmer Field and Life School (JFFLS). JFFLS aims to empower vulnerable youth, and provide them with the livelihood options and gender-sensitive skills needed for long-term food security while reducing their vulnerability to destitution.
The new World Bank report reveals that women in the Middle East and North Africa region have achieved impressive gains in a number of social indices, but still have the world’s lowest rates of labour force participation. Concerted action will be needed to change laws that limit female employment and to create an environment that allows women to balance work and households demands.
To read the full report,click here.
The State of the World’s Children 2014 In Numbers: Every Child Counts highlights the critical role data and monitoring play in realizing children’s rights. Credible data, disseminated effectively and used correctly, make it possible to target interventions that help right the wrong of exclusion. Data do not, of themselves, change the world. They make change possible – by identifying needs, supporting advocacy, gauging progress and holding duty bearers to account. Making the possible real is up to decision makers. More