First UfM Report on Women’s Economic Participation: Three Questions to Expert Anna Dorangricchia

Saturday, March 5, 2022 12:56 PM

Barcelona – On March 8, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) released its first report on women’s economic participation in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Anna Dorangricchia, a UfM expert on gender equality, asked three questions to the MAP about the interests of this first study conducted by UfM, which acts as a mechanism to monitor the development of this situation and the measures taken in the region. I will explain the relationship.

How do you rate women’s economic participation and leadership in the West?

No country in Europe or the MENA region has achieved gender equality. The two numbers help you better understand the state of play. Both Europe and MENA countries are below the global percentage of female entrepreneurs who own established businesses of 6.2% (5.3% and 4.5%, respectively). These regions also have the lowest percentage of women-led start-ups (3.4% and 4.1%, respectively, compared to 5.5% overall). Looking at the presence of female CEOs in large companies, they average below 10% worldwide.

However, women’s economic empowerment is one of the areas with the highest number of initiatives adopted by countries in the region, especially within the framework of public policy for the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures adopted are diverse, with new provisions to ensure mandatory quotas in large corporations, from specific assistance to female entrepreneurs to family allowances to assist women who have lost their jobs. It extends to. However, there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to the issue of credit and investment access for women-owned SMEs, and supporting women’s leadership in national and international organizations. The introduction of quotas also seems to be one of the most effective means of dealing with these inequality.

What was the impact of the pandemic on this situation?

In this way, the pandemic has identified challenges for the region to tackle. It is a lack of statistical data categorized by gender. Without these data, developing effective comprehensive public policy would remain a challenge.

This is why the Union for the Mediterranean countries have come together to propose an intergovernmental oversight mechanism for gender equality.

Established during the pandemic, this surveillance exercise will help measure progress made in terms of women’s rights and develop policy recommendations to reduce regional gender disparities. It takes into account economic, social and political aspects.

Unfortunately, the crisis is not “neutral” in terms of gender equality, but acts as a “mirror” effect that highlights regional challenges, and the Covid-19 pandemic is no exception.

The first announcement of this month’s mechanism emphasizes that women are most affected by pandemic unemployment. The most affected sectors, such as tourism, personal services and even agricultural production, are the industries that are more representative of women, especially at the bottom of the hierarchical ladder.

What should be done and at what level should the existing imbalance be corrected?

The difficulties of the countries in this region are structural and economic, so there is no single solution. Nonetheless, there are common elements identified by effective public policy, such as investment in professional training for women, access to training throughout women’s careers, and access to funding.

To address these challenges, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and UfM have launched the first MENA Women’s Business Club in collaboration with Business Club Africa. More than 130 female entrepreneurs participate in this initiative with the goal of creating better networking opportunities and helping businesses grow in the region.

The Union for the Mediterranean also supported the “FLOWER” project, which trains, informs and assists Moroccan women in rural areas to accurately address the effects of a pandemic. The project is led by the Moroccan organization ES Maroc, also in Tunisia.

Beyond this pandemic, climate change imposes the need to invest in young women’s access to green jobs and jobs related to new digital technologies.

Please note that Morocco is a country with a particularly high percentage of female graduates from STEM.

For our region, strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors to enable the transition from an informal economy, where women’s social and economic rights are guaranteed, to a formal economy. Is also a problem. But all these measures are by no means effective without more constant effort in education for gender equality and in the fight against stereotypes that prevent women from being recognized for their social and economic rights. Not.