On December 15th, together with Global Utmaning we launched the Women Leaders Anthology - a collection of voices, data and insights on empowering female entrepreneurs and their importance in the transition towards sustainable societies. The authors of the anthology are social entrepreneurs, investors, civil society representatives and researchers.
What to expect from the Anthology
Building capacity for women’s economic participation is crucial in the response to crises such as Covid-19 and the pandemic. Female entrepreneurs have potential to scale innovations that could tackle some of today’s most pressing issues. However, women who start their own businesses face major structural challenges that prevent them from becoming and succeeding as entrepreneurs (chapter 1). It is time that the international community listens to what researchers have already pointed out - investing in women is a great catalyst for change (chapter 2, co-authored by our CEO Sofia Breitholtz and Amma Gyampo).
Despite these barriers that female entrepreneurs have to overcome, many of today’s women are successful business leaders. These women’s stories need to be highlighted as they are great motivators for change and help normalise female entrepreneurship (chapter 3). In trying times, it is important to also look ahead and imagine what kind of society we wish to live in after the crisis. There is great potential in technological progress for advancing gender equality and social impact (chapter 4).
However, to give women a fair chance of becoming entrepreneurs, stereotypical ideas about women not being suitable leaders or business drivers need to be challenged. By doing so, the unfortunate investment climate where about 2.3 percent of the venture capital globally goes to female founded businesses can be eliminated (chapter 5). Investing in women’s economic inclusion both in terms of leadership and social innovation can drive solutions to the great challenges we are facing today, such as the climate crisis (chapter 6).
About the Women Leaders Project
The Anthology is a culmination of over a year's work within the Women Leaders project. Initiated by the independent think tank Global Utmaning and Reach for Change with support from the Swedish Institute, it’s purpose is to build a joint body of knowledge on barriers for women’s economic participation and raise awareness of the structural obstacles that female social entrepreneurs face.
In the first phase of the Women Leaders project, a mapping of structural obstacles that female entrepreneurs face today was made through in-depth interviews with investors, and a survey with female social entrepreneurs. It laid the foundation for a targeted capacity building program, with eight identified female social entrepreneurs from countries in the West African region.
The capacity building program included a nine-month tailored coaching plan for the entrepreneurs to address relevant needs for them and their organization, as well as group sessions focusing on networking as well as overcoming limiting beliefs.
Parallel to the program, a number of advocacy activities have been fulfilled - roundtable discussions and participation on international forums, the social media campaign promoting female social entrepreneurs - #Women Leaders Talks, opinion pieces to bring visibility to the structural issues, and the compilation of the Anthology.
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