Support for women entrepreneurs in Ramallah
by Jillian Convey, Cherie Blair Foundation
In an area of the world that is often known for conflict and political turmoil, Palestinians are working to improve their economic outlook on a large scale. How? By making use of one of their most valuable untapped resources: women.
More and more Palestinian women are being educated to secondary level and above, but are not receiving the training needed to start their own businesses or gain employment. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics recently reported that the percentage of women enrolled in secondary education in the West Bank has risen to 54%. However, only 16% of women are part of the labour force in Palestine, compared to a much higher 67% of the male population. Palestinian women have less access to business start-up capital than their male counterparts, less management experience, less access to information, and are less welcomed in both the formal and informal business networks that provide vital support to small and medium enterprises.
There are increasing calls from government, industry leaders and organisations to provide more support for women in business, so that they can contribute to the growing economy. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Business Women Forum are working together to provide such support with a Business Development Centre for women. The newly opened centre, based in Ramallah, is aimed at women who already own businesses and are struggling to expand, and those who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs but lack support to reach the next level. The Centre serves as a one stop shop for business development, offering a range of practical support services.
The centre is helping women to become significant players in the economy, not only to support their families financially but also to support their communities. To this end, the centre will provide quality business support services and valuable business networking opportunities. Encouraging women's participation in the private sector and their ability to function successfully within a highly unstable economic system will contribute to the revitalization of the Palestinian economy.
About the Business Women Forum:
The Business Women Forum's mission is to strengthen the role of businesswomen as leaders in the Palestinian economy through advocacy, networking, and the provision of business services.
About the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women:
The Foundation's vision is for a world where women have equal access to the tools and support needed to establish and grow successful businesses. By supporting women entrepreneurs, we are building a brighter future for families, communities and economies.
For further information: www.cherieblairfoundation.org
To donate: www.bmycharity.com/cbfw