Towards More Inclusive Economies: Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Mediterranean

20 September 2023- 21 September 2023 | Conference | English | Palau de Pedralbes, Barcelona
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 The 43 UfM Member States in the last 5th UfM Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society committed to promote the transition to formal employment for women employed in the shadow economy, home-based work, care activities and in micro-small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as work in the agricultural sector and own-account and part-time work. They agreed on supporting women’s entrepreneurship, through incubation programmes for the early, seed and growth stages, on boosting investments on entrepreneurship education and targeted gender-sensitive financial services as well as on stimulating the financial institutions to adopt a gender-smart lens in their investment, especially for the Venture and Equity funds.

Nevertheless, in the MENA region only 23 percent of businesses are woman-owned, ranging from 7 percent in Yemen to 49 percent in Tunisia. Further, MENA on average suffers the lowest female business participation rate in the world (19 percent). It is a multifaceted problem that stems from a combination of factors, including the lack of quality ‘work ready’ focused education, structural discrimination within the legal environment, and broad socio-cultural biases and attitudes.

Through this conference which will take place in Barcelona, around 50 participants will have the possibility to discuss good practices on how to overcome the significant barriers that women within this region face to achieve full economic participation, including unequal access to education, finance, and employment opportunities, as well as legal and cultural obstacles that limit their ability to start and grow businesses, enter executive positions, and reach their full potential.

The conference, co-organised by the European League for Economic Cooperation (ELEC) and IEMed at the Union for the Mediterranean premises, will bring together experts, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to explore strategies for overcoming the economic barriers women face in the region and promoting women’s economic empowerment in the Mediterranean region. Through a series of panel discussions, it will examine key challenges and opportunities in the areas of education and workforce participation, entrepreneurship, access to finance, legal and regulatory reform, and gender equality in the work environment.

The different stakeholders will have the opportunity to share good practices and lessons learned in order to foster women’s economic empowerment in different sectors and levels within the Euro-Mediterranean region. The distinguished speakers will discuss ways to bridge the gap in women economic participation, to facilitate female entrepreneurship, to enhance the legal systems and make them more inclusive, and to increase the percentage of women in leadership positions.


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