Tag Archives: women

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #79: Masooma Sibtain on Women’s Chamber of Commerce in South Asia

From left: podcast guest Masooma Sibtain, with Jennifer Anderson, guest host Marc F. Schleifer and host Ken Jaques.

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Masooma Sibtain, president of the South Punjab Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SPWCCI) in Pakistan, discusses the current state of women entrepreneurs in South Asia.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Sibtain says women in her country have always participated in the work force. However, most of their jobs have been in the informal sector as artisans. The regional women’s chambers are transforming Pakistani women from informal artisans to entrepreneurs by helping them to market and sell their products.

Sibtain says because of CIPE, the other women’s chambers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh learn from and support one another. Sibtain credits her chamber, its members and CIPE for teaching her the importance of support systems and advocacy.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #75: Mark Oxley and Henry LaGue On Economic Progress in Zimbabwe

2011 CIPE Workshop in Zimbabwe

Henry LaGue sits down in the field with Mark Oxley, a CIPE consultant in Zimbabwe.

Oxley explains how he became involved with the country’s National Chamber of Commerce and CIPE, and he discusses the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. Specifically, the country has a large number of highly educated individuals who are either unemployed or working in the informal sector. Despite economic difficulties, there are opportunities for investing in the country’s infrastructure and tourism.

LaGue provides an update on the accomplishments of the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). CIPE supports WABAZ in building partnerships and networks among women entrepreneurs. CIPE also works with WABAZ to raise awareness on funding opportunities available to women entrepreneurs.

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Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia are Critical to the Region’s Economic Growth

Women work at a chili flake production facility owned by a Nepalese woman who used to carry stones to help send her brothers to school. Her business exports chili flakes to the United Kingdom.

By Jennifer Anderson and Maria Philip

Healthy, vibrant democracies must deliver for all of their citizens. Women’s full economic participation, control over their financial circumstances, and greater decision-making power are essential to building gender-equitable political and economic systems. Moreover, it has been shown that women’s economic empowerment can have a positive multiplier effect, leading to political and economic gains that benefit society as a whole. Yet research also shows that it is insufficient to focus solely on income-generating projects for women. Rather, to empower women as equal stakeholders, it is necessary to build a gender-inclusive business-enabling environment that allows women to start and grow their own businesses.

In the evolving democracies of South Asia, the majority of women are blocked from full economic and civil participation by a range of formal and informal obstacles, including laws and regulations, and cultural and societal norms. Women in the region continue to trail their peers in other parts of the world. Indicators for women’s employment, income, and wealth in South Asia are particularly dismal, and the region is the slowest in the world to equalize laws affecting women’s employment and entrepreneurship. From 2014 to 2016, the region enacted just three reforms to increase women’s economic opportunities—the fewest reforms out of 65 economies.

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Using Technology to Strengthen Policy Advocacy across South Asia

CIPE training session in Kathmandu, Nepal

Throughout South Asia, women in business have faced several barriers to achieving full civic and economic participation. To tackle these challenges, the South Asia Regional Women’s Economic Network has helped amplify women’s empowerment in the region. Supported by CIPE, the network has been able to effectively advocate for policy reforms that create more opportunities for women-owned businesses. This network is comprised of women business associations from Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, and Sri Lanka.

The achievements of the network continue to show that now, more than ever, focusing on women’s economic growth is key to strengthening democracy. For example, Multan, in South Punjab, and Peshawar—both cities in turbulent regions—are home to large artisan communities consisting mainly of women working on hand embroidery and handcrafted textiles. Despite challenges for women to participate economically and politically, both the Southern Punjab and Peshawar Women’s Chamber pushed the government to change a policy that was impeding the earning potential of women artisans. Eventually, the State Bank issued policy instructions that led to lengthening the amount of time that artisans have to pay back their loans. Extending credit will help them in fulfilling orders, and allows them to plan purchases and sales further in advance, with less pressure for rapid repayment.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #66: Maya Eristavi on Georgian Women and their Role in the Business Community

Podcast guest Maya Eristavi (second from left) with the recipients of the Women Leader Award at the 3rd
Annual Women’s Role in Economic Growth and Policy Development Conference. Photo Courtesy of G4G.

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Maya Eristavi, CIPE’s representative with USAID’s Governing for Growth (G4G) Project, talks about the role of women in Georgia and how women in business have been taking on a larger role in society, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union. She also talks about the young entrepreneurs and businesswomen who have benefitted from the comprehensive free-trade agreement Georgia has with Europe.

Eristavi also reflects on growing up in Tbilisi, studying abroad in America, and how this shaped her attitude towards business and put her on the path to where she is today.

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Meet the 2016 Photo Competition Winner

Winning photo: Karybekov Janyl, President of the Crafts Council of Kyrgyzstan

CIPE is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Photo Competition! The theme of the 2016 competition was highlighting creative and inspiring visuals that demonstrate democratic leadership or individuals advocating for democratic values and reform.

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Democracy That Delivers Podcast #65: Nikiru Joy Okpala on How Business Associations Empower Women in Nigeria

From Left: podcast guest Nikiru Joy Okpala and guest host Henry LaGue

On this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, National Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, Nikiru Joy Okpala, talks about how she went from being a young lawyer interested in women’s issues to working in the field of business association management. She discusses the importance of economic empowerment for women and the barriers that make it difficult for women in Nigeria to succeed in business. One of those barriers is what she calls the “two-job function” where women have to juggle demands at work with demands at home, such as housekeeping and childcare.

Okpala also discusses the role of women in Nigerian society, the urban/rural split in attitudes, and how education is helping expand what is possible for women in her country. Finally, she talks about how her parents raised her to be an independent and successful woman, including the confidence she gained through debating current affairs with her banker father and his friends.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes