The need to empower women to better the global economy was discussed yesterday at the Doha Forum, where speakers brought up cases from Egypt, China and India, three countries where women had made gains in the field of business.
Speaking at the plenary titled, “Women mean business in the global economy”, researcher at the India Foundation, Harinder Sekhon, said that women in India were becoming increasingly visible and successful, particularly in the IT sector.
However, she pointed out that it was a country where 600mn people still lived in rural areas, where young females had no choice but to work in the fields like their mothers for a living.
“They stay without education and their empowerment becomes difficult,” she said.
Sekhon pointed out that the number of women who worked in the Indian corporate sector had grown up by 40%. However, only 2% of them had high ranking corporate jobs.
She explained that social pressures, such as the limited access to higher education, was the main impediment, whereas it was not possible for every girl to go to a primary school in the villages.
Managing partner of the Allied Business Consultants and Egyptian delegate Hala al-Barkouky said that there were only a few women occupying high positions in her country.
Al-Barkouky explained that the senior positions that women occupied in Egypt were limited to the banking sector.
She pointed out that the political representation of women was low.
“There are only 10 of them in the 444-member Egyptian parliament. There are only two woman ministers in a cabinet of 33.”
Al-Barkouky maintained that the low representation of women in Egypt did not mean they lacked skills. “What is needed is a strong resolve to further empower women in Egypt,” she added.
China Solar Power Corporation chairperson Ying Wang noted that 99% of the Chinese women were illiterate in 1949. “However, things have improved since the decision to empower women had been taken. Still much has to be done as Chinese women face hard times with many of them managing their lives with less than $2 a day.”
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