The Role of Advocacy in Building Democracies that Deliver for Women
Frequently, business associations are the best advocates for government policies and regulations that affect business. Local business associations can identify constraints to conducting business regardless of sector or industry. The policy solutions they recommend can have a broad impact because business associations do not ask for individual favors; rather, they represent the interests of a specific sector or the business community in general. I encourage businesses everywhere to value advocacy and to value the development and strengthening of business associations because that is crucial to improving business climate and public-private policy dialogue in many countries and at many levels.
There are a number of success models for women’s business associations that have been effective – many of which have been incubated by the Center For International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Another example of successful associations are the Businesswomen’s Networks created by Vital Voices. These are unique regional models that connect and mobilize women entrepreneurs and professionals in order to catalyze economic and social progress. They also advance an environment more conducive to women’s economic engagement and promote full participation in society. Vital Voices currently has an active Businesswomen’s Network in the Middle East and North Africa, in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in Latin America and the Caribbean as of June 2011.
These networks have had a lot of success. Thousands of women — 2,500 members across 10 countries in MENA and over 8,000 members throughout Africa — have taken part in the Businesswomen’s Network programs, with over 90 percent of participants reporting that the networks have benefited their business. These are examples of not only local business associations but networks of hubs across regions that are growing to support women’s entrepreneurship.
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Southeast Europe
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean