One "kiosk" at a time.
The last time I wrote from St. Petersburg was 20 years ago. Back then we called it journaling not blogging and back then, if you wanted to buy a trinket for your niece, you would have to go to a state-owned store, not down the street to a kiosk owned by a woman in her 30s. Progress!
On the eve of the 2013 G20 Leaders' Meeting, I have been speaking to media from around the world about the G20 Leader's agenda, particularly their focus on creating jobs and the need for investment and innovation to fuel the global economy.
If you are at all familiar with the G(irls)20, it won't surprise you to read that my conversations have been geared toward encouraging G20 Leaders to include measures in their declaration that incentivize for the full participation of women as entrepreneurs to fuel innovation and drive economic growth.
Consider the following:
- If women's labor participation were closer to male participation, it would contribute 1T dollars to GDP in emerging economies;
- Women reinvest a staggering 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in "human resources" -- their families' education, health and nutrition. This is compared to 30-40% for men;
- In the U.S., more than half of the 9.72 million new jobs to be created in the SME sector by 2018 will be created by woman-owned SMEs; and,
- A United Nations report on Asia and the Pacific countries found that the region is losing between US42b and US46b each year because of restricted job opportunities for women.
One billion women are expected to join the workforce over the next decade. Surely, this is compelling enough for G20 Leaders to consider this "emerging market' as a major factor in their decision making and action plan.
So what's the "ask"? Here are a few ideas for G20 Leaders:
- Incentivize measures that will increase the availability of credit and access to capital for women owned SMEs.
- Eradicate laws that deny women the same rights as men (property, inheritance, access to financing).
- Implement equitable parental leave policies and mandatory re-entry programs to help women re-integrate into the workforce.
And now I am off to the Ponchiki kiosk down the street run by another emerging female entrepreneur. Let the 24 hour countdown to the G20 Leaders' Summit begin.