Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer for Global Women’s Issues today stressed that women’s economic participation is critical to emerging markets.
In her remarks at “Invest for the Future: Women Driving Economic Growth” conference in Croatia, Ms. Verveer said women who are successful in business are also empowered to be leaders in their communities and countries. She added that women need to be represented at the policy-making table if the needs of their families, communities, and countries is to be fully addressed.
“As your businesses grow, we are confident you will speak out against corruption when you see it. As your businesses grow, we know you will be voices for a climate that fosters innovation and prosperity. As your businesses grow, you will advocate with your leaders for a system that promotes greater opportunities for communication and trade.”-Ms. Verveer
She highlighted that if the world will build a network of women leaders in business that spans the region, there will be no stopping the women entrepreneurs and no stopping the progress that can come to the part of the world. She added that empowering women is one of the most effective and positive forces for reshaping the globe. She stressed that it is a simple fact that no country can get ahead if it leaves half its people behind.
“Today there are many converging studies – from the World Bank to the World Economic Forum (WEF), from think tanks, universities, and corporations – that show that investing in women is a high yield investment. The World Economic Forum annually produces a gender gap report. You might ask – why does a forum comprised of top leaders in business and other fields focus on the gender gap in countries?” -Ms. Verveer
According to Ms. Verveer, the WEF report compares equality between men and women in a given country on four key measurements: educational attainment, health and survivability, economic opportunity, and political empowerment. In those countries where the gap is closer to being closed, those countries experience greater productivity and economic competitiveness.
“Gender equality is key to a country’s progress because it yields higher growth outcomes and lower poverty. As the World Bank put it: gender equality is smart economics.” -Ms. Verveer
She stressed that women entrepreneurs offer people everywhere so much promise. She cited that data shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) drive economic growth and create jobs.
“This is true in my country and it is true around the world. And, women-owned enterprises often have a better growth rate and a better loan payback rate.” -Ms. Verveer