Friday, May 28, 2010

Staying in Business and Succeeding All the Way!

An interesting sound clip from Speak Up, women's radio show hosted by Pat Lynch.

Speak Up! invites women, and also men, who “speak” to women in terms of their values, their goals and their strong sense of community, to address issues, opportunities and successes that need to be heard by a larger audience of women leaders.

Clip can be found at

Six Questions to Conquer the Growth Woes of Women-Owned Businesses


Sharon Hadary, claims that "the differences between women and men begin with their own reasons for starting a business."

What role are our current education systems playing in encouraging women to play small, and how do we break free from that limiting paradigm?

Hadary, the former and founding executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, found that only 3% of women-owned businesses generate over $1M. That number doubles (6%) for men-owned businesses.

Hadary shares a number of causes for these disparities. For example, most women's business centers or seminars for women business owners are ignoring the topic of planning for future growth. She contends that these groups focus exclusively on skills such as budget planning, marketing advice, and short term business launch strategies.

She recommends that in order to close that gap, "we need to do more than simply help women plan for business as usual...and "dramatically transform women's concepts of the future of their business catapult their businesses to a whole new level."

Hadary's action steps are also compelling. She goes on to say: "To do this, we have to show women how to embrace change; to be trend-setters rather than simply react; to innovate beyond expectations, to develop global integration, and to practice social responsibility.We need to help them identify ways to make their enterprises scalable and to build teams of talented people for where the enterprise should be in five years, not just today."

The next time you find yourself saying "planning is too expensive, difficult, and time-consuming," pause and reconsider. This is not true. It's your limiting belief talking. Ask yourself these six questions to transform your perspective about fostering rapid business growth:

1. What is a specific result that you want that you do not currently have? Where are you stuck?

2. How are you behaving when you are being that way?

3. If it were impossible to be that way, who would you prefer to be instead?

4. What kind of actions and results could those ways of being produce for you?

5. Who do you choose to be? (select an empowering state of being; e.g. expansive, decisive, confident, fearless, etc.)

6. What is the first action you will take that expresses that way of being, and that will move you towards your desired result?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mums Get Arty With Sefton Business

WHEN mums Faith Withers and Jo Hastie formed a friendship after meeting at a toddler group with their young children they never imagined it would lead to a successful business partnership.

But, after combining their creative skills and previous business experience they formed Arty Pants which provides mess play and art workshops for children age four to 12, as well as pre-school children and adults.

Jo said: “At the time, we both had very young children, Faith had been made redundant and I hadn’t worked for a couple of years, but was thinking about back. We were both looking for a new opportunity, I had previously run my own business and Faith had helped her husband with his business, so we combined our skills and experience and this is where Arty Pants all started.”

The idea came about after Jo, who had worked previously as a teacher, realised most schools did not have the facilities for children to undertake messy art activities.

“Great Crosby School agreed for us to carry out a pilot workshop” added Jo, “we were expecting 15 children to attend and when we arrived found out that 70 had put their names down. We knew instantly that our concept was sure to work.”

Now Arty Pants provide workshops at schools, after school and holiday clubs, children’s centres and from their own Bootle-based premises.

Faith and Jo opened up the business in February 2009 – but before doing so they came along to Train 2000 for some help and advice. Jo said: “We were put in touch with Train 2000 through a friend, after being off with out children, it was so nice to go somewhere and talk about starting up our business in a very professional yet informal environment.”

Initially Faith and Jo took part in one of Train 2000’s LSC funded training programmes by attending the business planning course. Jo added: “ The information that was given to us throughout the course was spot on and it was just what we needed. Following the course we also received one-to-one business advice.”

The two friends, who are aged 34 and 35, also received a grant from the local enterprise initiative Step Clever, which enabled them to subsidise some of their courses when they first set out. Since then Faith and Jo have also applied for further funding and grants to help them on their way. Non-funded sessions are charged at £4 per child.

In the future Arty Pants is hoping to open its doors to more adult courses also and Jo and Faith recently delivered a training session, a side of their business which they are also looking to develop.

And, in November 2009 Arty Pants won first prize in the Progress to Success category at the Train 2000 awards. Jo added: “We were absolutely delighted to be award winners, particularly as our business is so new.”

Jo and Faith both thoroughly enjoy running their own business and both agree that they would never want to go back to working for some one else.

Jo added: “Since setting up Arty Pants we have never looked back, we put in a lot of time and hard work, but there are so many benefits to being self-employed, it is worth it.

“We are so thankful for Great Crosby School allowing us to deliver our first session and for the help and support we received from Train 2000, as this is what really helped us on our way.”

To find out more about Arty Pants you can visit their website at or call Jo or Faith on 07711 640 809.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why positive action is needed for equality in Assembly

URGENT action is needed if women are to be fairly represented in the Senedd, a new report has warned.

The study suggested that the “battle for fair and equal representation of women is far from won” and expressed concerns about whether progress made in the past decade will be sustained into the next one.

There are 28 women AMs in the Senedd, two fewer than in the previous term when a record number of women were elected.

The 30 women comprised half of the legislature, making it the most equal democratic body in the United Kingdom.

But the number of women in the chamber is likely to fall again in next year’s Assembly elections.

The report, commissioned by the British Council and produced by the Hansard Society, explored the impact of women on the culture of politics in Wales and Scotland and the policy commitments that have been secured as a result of their leadership.

The report – Has Devolution Delivered for Women? – argues that voluntary action by the political parties is not enough and that progress towards gender equality cannot be achieved without positive action.

It says the increase in women’s representation at the start of devolution was achieved through “strong, well-organised campaigning” across a range of parties and organisations.

And it adds: “The time has come to start rebuilding these alliances within Scotland and Wales, across the UK and internationally.

“To support a new campaign there is a need for structures and institutions which enable dialogue among women across the generations – for example, the idea of a Women’s Centre close to the Scottish Parliament was proposed in 1999 but did not come to fruition and should be revisited.”

Dr Ruth Fox, of the Hansard Society and joint author of the report, said: “Scotland and Wales have rightly been hailed as beacons of international progress on women’s representation in the last decade. But the 2007 results showed that progress has stalled and there are real fears that the 2011 election results will be markedly worse.

“It’s therefore vital that we start raising urgent questions about how and why this is happening and begin to map out what measures are needed to address it. It is a challenge that is too important to be left to the political parties alone.”

Katy Chamberlain, of Chwarae Teg – a body dedicated to improving the economic opportunities of women – said an informed debate on the issue was needed.

A change of culture in politics from a male-dominated one to a more representative one would not happen overnight, she said.

“I think there is more work to be done around why women are not standing,” she said.

“If you want to make changes quickly then you’ve got to expect some specific action has to be taken.

“Change will be gradual, but we are clever enough to bring that change about more quickly. People don’t fully understand what positive action is and why it is needed.”

To read the full article click here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is Working from Home a Good Option for Women?


Several studies have revealed that 77% of women prefer working at home.

Some of the jobs that women can perform from home include tailoring, handicrafts, packing vegetables and raising birds. The interesting fact is that the above mentioned home based works are equivalent to 1/3 of the global economy production according to a recent international study. This Study has explained that the woman who runs and manages a business project from home saves a big portion of her income opposing to a women who work outside home because the later spends about 40% of her income on appearance and transportation.

On the other hand, the World Bank statistics show that women constitute 40% of the total population and 70% of poor people in the world which is more than half of them are unemployed.

As for the Arabian job market, the economic development report has revealed that the unemployment has started to affect Arabic women when its percentage has risen from 17% in 1977 to over 25% in 2002. Thus, the Arabian woman have moved towards the informal job market to increase her income after finding out that working from home fulfill her personal needs and provide her a source of income to help her face modern life challenges while giving her enough time to take care of children and maintain own privacy.

In spite of the fact that this kind of work is not included when calculating the national income, its actual value exceeds four thousand trillion dollar yearly and according to The United Nations Population Fund, this work is equivalent to 1/3 of the global economy production.

Not forgetting to mention that these home based businesses are not only common for women in developing countries, but this also include European Countries and United States as well. An international study was conducted in this regard to reveal that about 46% of home business owners in the United States are women whose income exceeds those working in offices by 28%.

In Italy for instance, restaurants business owners have complained to the government after the home based restaurants have started threatening their business while in Canada economy specialists have encouraged working at home schemes claiming that they play a vital role in supporting the local economy. In Japan though, housewives are paid a monthly salary and considered working women from home!

As far as the United Arab Emirates is concerned, a survey has been done on local business women whose age range from 35 t0 47 that demonstrated that 41% of business women takes treatment against depression and 65% visit a psychiatrist doctor and thinking seriously to resign and stay at home while 44% said that they are ready to change their current jobs.

Equality Issues in India


INDIA reportedly figures 114th among 134 countries when it comes to man-woman equality though it is now considered the second fastest growing economy in the World Economic Forum (WEF) rankings, according to a recent PTI report from New Delhi. The WEF has placed India at the bottom of table on health and survival issues, reflecting the huge gender gap as the worse is to share India's Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen's concern over female foeticide and 25 million 'missing women' in India.

The India Gender Gap Review 2009 ranked the neighbouring country behind Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal - showing that women in those countries share resources with men more equally than in India. Her performance in empowering women, however, is strong ranking at the 24th position in the world. The WEF, known for Davos-based global conferences and studies has made 'strong remarks' as mentioned by the news agency report 'against the wide inequalities' between the health facilities extended to males and females in India. 'We find that there are still persistent gaps in health and survival, a fact that contributes to India's 'missing women', the forum is quoted to have said.

The poverty-stricken Hindu families in the vast rural areas of India face rather acutely the problem of 'dowry' for their daughters' marriages. Dowry, in fact, stands as an obstacle for millions of girls in poor families of rural India to get married as hardly the helpless parents can meet the demand of dowry. So, many parents prefer going usually for female foeticide with a view to getting rid of such 'dowry burden' in future with female-child. This has also caused

Enterprise Nigeria – a Nigeria Trade Mission with the African Caribbean Business Network in the UK

Train 2000 were delighted to find details of this international trade opportunity.

The Enterprise Exhibition aims to forge linkages between businesses from Nigeria, African Union, United Kingdom, Europe, United States of America and Canada whilst promoting Trade and Investment. The Event, which was initiated in 2007 is organised by Compass Consulting UK in partnership with the UK Trade and Investment, Greater London Enterprise OneLondon, Federal Ministry for Commerce and Industry (Nigeria), the Bank of Industry (Nigeria), Lagos State Government, the British High Commission (Embassy), and a host of other organisations within the Organised Private sector in Nigeria. Register Now!

Background Information to the Event

The Enterprise Exhibition is the first Event of its kind to bring UK Businesses and Entrepreneurs from the African Diaspora to Nigeria on a Trade Mission/Exhibition with the aim of putting them in touch with the vibrant and diverse Nigerian Business Communities. The core objectives of this multi agency platform are to promote Investment through International Trade/Global Partnerships, and the exchange of learning and good practices as Business Communities across Continents dialogue and exhibit goods and services.

The 2010 Enterprise Exhibition

The focus of this year’s Exhibition is to host Nigerian Businesses and Businesses from Europe, United States of America, Canada and other parts of Africa. Through partnerships and collaborations with

Key Organisations and Stakeholders across Continents, the event aims to provide a framework that will support and fast track the integration of businesses across the board into the Global Market Place.

Highlights of the Event

v Road Shows in Abuja and Lagos Exhibition of Goods and Services
v Field visits to Industries in Key Sectors – Abuja and Lagos
v Export-Focused Workshops
v Case Studies of Successful Entrepreneurs from the Diaspora
v Conferences on Female Entrepreneurship and Supporting SMEs

Event’s Symposium:

Topic – Harnessing Diaspora Resources for Africa’s Development – A Case Study of Nigeria.

For international entrepreneurs interested in hearing more about opportunities in African and how this successful event now in its fourth year can help you – please register your interest here. We will forward to you the necessary information and forms to complete your registration with all necessary contact details.

Register Now until July 09, 2010!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Wall Street Journal Asks - Why Are Women-Owned Firms Smaller Than Men-Owned Ones?

In her article Sharon G. Hadary explores why female entrepreneurs are not statistically showing as much growth as their male counterparts.

Sharon says:

"The phenomenal growth of women-owned businesses has made headlines for three decades—women consistently have been launching new enterprises at twice the rate of men, and their growth rates of employment and revenue have outpaced the economy.

So, it is dismaying to see that, despite all this progress, on average, women-owned business are still small compared with businesses owned by men. And while the gap has narrowed, as of 2008—the latest year for which numbers are available—the average revenues of majority women-owned businesses were still only 27% of the average of majority men-owned businesses."

She sites possible reasons for this as
- Lack of Goals
- Lack of Capital
- Lack of access to potential markets and networks
- Lack of 'think big' mentality

To read the full article click here.

Women’s empowerment vital for economic development and peace, Migiro says

17 May 2010 – Source

Sustainable development, economic growth, and peace and security cannot be achieved without gender equality, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today, citing evidence of the beneficial impact of women’s empowerment.
“Numerous studies have found that companies with a more balanced representation of women and men in their top management teams considerably outperform those where such representation is low,” she told the International Forum on the Role of Leadership in Promoting Gender Equality in Kigali, Rwanda.

She cited numerous advances in the past decade as States have devoted greater focus to overcoming occupational segregation; introduced measures to support women’s equal access to economic resources, including credit and land rights;, increased access to education for girls at all levels; and established comprehensive legal, policy, and institutional frameworks to end violence against women and girls.

“There is a growing recognition among Governments and in the private sector that investing in women and girls has a powerful multiplier effect, on productivity, efficiency and economic growth,” she said. “So, there are many good practices from which to learn. The challenge ahead is to expand and apply such practices more systematically, particularly in areas where more needs to be done.

“The costs of inequality – for women and girls, for their communities, for economies at large – are too high,” she added, citing estimates by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) that the region loses up to $47 billion in output each year due to lack of female participation in labour markets.

“The global economic and financial crisis has generated a new sense of urgency for committed and accelerated action to address gender-based discrimination, violations of women’s human rights and violence against women,” Ms. Migiro stressed, calling for leadership at every level and in many forms to ensure greater participation by women in political decision-making, and in corporate boardrooms, and fair selection and promotion processes within political parties.

“Gender equality is a key goal in itself,” she added. “But it is more than that. Women’s empowerment is an essential means to achieving sustainable development, economic growth, and peace and security.”

US Department of Labor announces Women in Green Jobs Projects


Region I-Boston

Vermont Works for Women in Burlington, Vermont, is developing an on-the-job training program for women in the fields of green construction, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. The contract will enable Vermont Works for Women to provide unemployed or underemployed women skills related to the installation of solar tracking systems, weatherization, window and door replacement, equipment operation, and energy auditing. The women will use their new skills to improve the energy efficiency of affordable housing units in Burlington, Vermont and install solar trackers.

Region II- New York City

Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) is a community organization dedicated to Environmental Justice solutions through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs. SSBx is creating a full-time, hands-on job training program for women in the fields of green roofing and urban agriculture and horticulture which will train and certify women in green roof design, installation, and maintenance; landscaping; hazardous waste cleanup; and related specialties. The training program includes a six week apprenticeship, as well as formal mentoring. SSBx’s goal is to ensure that 80% of graduates attain employment in a relevant industry within three months.

Region IV-Atlanta

The “Women Going Green” project, contracted with 3D Management Enterprise, Inc., is designing and implement a 36-week training program that will educate women on the diversity of career paths available in green industries, including opportunities in green entrepreneurship. 3D Management Enterprise, Inc. is producing a curriculum covering energy efficiency and renewable energy industries and how to develop a green business plan, as well as to assemble a consortium of academia, business, unions, and Federal agencies to serve as mentors for program participants.

Region V-Chicago

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) in Detroit, Michigan, is increasing the participation of, and support for, women in its existing green jobs training program through a 14 week training program in green careers. DWEJ is recruiting and providing women with training in lead, asbestos, and mold remediation; energy audits and retrofitting; deconstruction; geothermal systems; and green landscaping; as well as training for HAZWOPER certification and OSHA 10-hour construction certification. DWEJ will ensure that at least 80% of graduates have job placements following graduation.

Region VI-Dallas

Austin Community College (ACC) has established “Green Jobs” Training options to increase the enrollment of women in its courses (both continuing education and college credit) related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building. The contract will support outreach and recruitment efforts targeted to women, including the development of a Web site and speakers’ bureau. ACC will also offer two sections of its entry-level solar photovoltaic installer course taught by women instructors, for women, in spring and summer of 2010. The goal is to increase female student enrollment in green courses from 10% to 20% in one year.

Region VII-Kansas City

The YWCA of Greater Kansas City, YWomen CAN (Career Action Network) and Employ Direct are developing training programs for women in green careers and/or increasing the participation of women in an existing green job training program or programs. The projects are designed to ensure participants receive training in a green career field, which will result in the attainment of a recognized credential and/or certification and placement assistance upon completion. The women recruited to participate in this demonstration project will be unemployed or underemployed women impacted by the economic downturn.

Region VIII-Denver

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is creating a “Green Jobs Pipeline for Women in Colorado” by designing an outreach and recruitment model to increase the number of women aware of green jobs and the skills needed to prepare for a green career. The development of the Pipeline, includes organizing a coalition of employers, including state, local and non governmental organizations, who have access to training programs in cities and rural areas throughout Colorado and includes technical assistance, recruitment and retention of women (such as linkages to workforce systems, mentoring, changes in the training programs, etc).

Region IX-San Francisco

Women in Nontraditional Employment Roles (WINTER), a non profit whose mission is to encourage and support women and youth’s training, education, employment and retention in high wage, high-skill jobs, is adding a “WINTERGreen” training component. Their goal is to assist women in entering pre apprenticeship and environmental education training programs that will lead to a Green Building Certificate and other industry-recognized skills that will lead to employment in the expanding local green economy.

Region X-Seattle

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI), in Portland, Oregon, is designing an outreach, recruitment, and retention support plan to assist women in pursing careers in the green economy. OTI is recruiting and training women to earn a green industry-recognized credential or certification, and to assist the women in identifying potential employment and apprenticeship opportunities. OTI is leveraging resources from the various organized unions to produce a “green training program” for their trade. For example, OTI is working with unions to develop procedures for green construction methods under a federal grant awarded by General Services Administration (GSA) using ARRA funds. The GSA grant also includes training and employment opportunities for women who complete the green construction methods training through OTI. The trained women will be placed on jobs retrofitting and renovating federal buildings to bring them up to energy efficiency standards and make them more environmentally friendly.

Further report on women's green jobs can be found here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Business Adviser Jackie McGee 10 Years of Success!

This week Train 2000 Enterprise Enabler completed her 10th Year of service. In her 10 years Jackie has supported hundreds of business women to start and develop their own business, and has been instrumnetal in setting up the Stepclever Women's networking group for business women in North Liverpool and South Sefton.

Upon presentation of her anniversary flowers from the Board and Staff Jackie commented
"It's been a fantastic 10 years here. They have literally flown by. I look forward to the next 10!".

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mind Your Own Business European SME Week Special With Train 2000

Train 2000's Chief Executive Maggie O'Carroll will be joining a panel of experts to offer enterprising insights to Merseyside's entrepreneurs as part of an innovative European SME Week Event tonight.

Mind Your Own Business is a free ethical gathering of small businesses in Merseyside, who feel they can gain from talking to likeminded business people and participate in healthy discussion and debate about current issues and needs affecting their business.

For this special SME week edition 'Mind Your Own Business' have joined forces with The Federation of Small Businesses on Merseyside and the Chartered Institute of Marketing to bring owners and managers of small businesses expert knowledge and insights to help their business grow. All by phone from the comfort of their office or sofa!

Date: Monday 17th May 2010 Time: 7pm to 8.30pm

Topic: How to grow your business

For: Small business owners and managers, members of FSB, CIM, LDP Business Club,
Daily Post readers and BBC Radio Merseyside listeners, local business community

How: By phone 0845 265 3000 - Small businesses call in to listen to expert speakers - Free or 1p per minute if call from BT Unlimited or other landlines

Panel: Federation of Small Businesses - Maggie O’Carroll, The Centre for Women’s Enterprise and & Employment, Train 2000, FSB Committee Liverpool & Knowsley and Neil Dutton, Regional Coordinator
Chartered Institute of Marketing Davide De Maestri, Chair CIM NW and Diane Earles, Regional Director
BBC Radio Merseyside - Mick Ord, Managing Director
Daily Post/ LDP Business Club - Bill Gleeson, Business Editor
International Coaching Academy - John Heynes, Director of Coaching Liverpool Vision -
Chair: Matt Wilson, CEO, Crosby Communications

If you missed this discussion catch the podcast here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

25 Best-Paying Jobs for Women US Emphasises Gender Pay Gap

Source Kate Lorenz,

When you look at Forbes magazine's most recent list of highest-paid CEO's (chief executives of the 500 biggest companies in the United States), you won't see a woman until No. 48: Irene B Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods.

In a country where women make up 47 percent of the workforce, women make up just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEO's. In addition, women who worked full time earned an average of just 80 percent of what men earned in the same positions in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But is salary disparity between genders the issue or is it something deeper?

In the Harvard Business Review blog, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox wrote: "Women represent one of the world's biggest and most under-reported opportunities. The business world has been so focused on stories like the rise of China that it has not been invited to see that, much closer to home, business could be reaping the benefits of the rise of women. Companies -- and their business school feeders -- have been slow in adapting and profiting from this shift, and part of the reason is that media too often focus on small, sensational and misleading parts of the story, including aspects like the wage gap."

Catalyst's February 2010 Pipeline's Broken Promise report examining high potential graduates from top business schools around the world found that, even after taking into account experience, industry and region, women start at lower levels than men, make on average $4,600 less in their initial jobs, and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth.

Only when women begin their post-MBA career at mid-management or above do they achieve parity in position with men -- a situation that accounted for only 10 percent of the women and 19 percent of the men surveyed.

Whatever the cause, the BLS reports there are only a handful of occupations where women's earnings are equal to or exceed men's including construction and extraction occupations; special education teachers; installation, maintenance and repair occupations; life, physical and social science technicians; and counselors.

We wanted to know, what jobs pay women the most money? Here are 25 jobs where women earn $1000 a week or more, according to the BLS. One thing to note is that they all earn a fraction of their male counterparts.

Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,647
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,914
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 86.1%

Chief executives
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,603
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,999
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 80.2%

Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,509
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,875
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 80.5%

Computer software engineers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,351
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,555
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 86.9%

Computer and information systems managers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,260
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,641
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 76.8%

Physicians and surgeons
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,230
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,911
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 64.4%

Management analysts
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,139
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,391
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 81.9%

Human resources managers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,137
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,433
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 79.3%

Speech-language pathologists
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,124
Men - Median weekly earnings: *
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: **

Computer and mathematical occupations
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,088
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,320
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 82.4%

Computer scientists and systems analysts
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,082
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,240Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 87.3%

Physician assistants
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,077
Men - Median weekly earnings: **
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: **

Medical and health services managers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,066
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,504
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 70.9%

Physical scientists, all other
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,061
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,535
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 69.1%

Postsecondary teachers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,056
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,245
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 84.8%

Marketing and sales managers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,024
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,601
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 64%

Physical therapists
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,019
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,329
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 76.7%

Occupational therapists
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,016
Men - Median weekly earnings: **
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: **

Registered nurses
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,011
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,168
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 86.6%

Managers, all other
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,010
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,359
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 74.3%

Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,004
Men - Median weekly earnings: **
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: **

Computer programmers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,003
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,261
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 79.5%

Architecture and engineering occupations
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,001
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,286
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 77.8%

Advertising and promotions managers
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,000
Men - Median weekly earnings: **
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: **

Education administrators
Women - Median weekly earnings: $1,000
Men - Median weekly earnings: $1,398
Women's earnings as percent of men's in same occupation: 71.5%

*No data or data that do not meet publication criteria.

** Data not shown where the male employment base is less than 50,000.

British Woman Nobel Prize Winner Inspiring Train 2000

It is 100 years since the birth of the only British woman ever to have won a Nobel Prize for science.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who lived most of her adult life in Warwickshire, is credited with discovering the three dimensional structures of penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin.

As The Royal Society celebrates her legacy to science and to women - take a look back at her life and pioneering work with her son Luke Hodgkin.

Click here for the link.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Increasing Business Sales Using NLP

31 local business women came to Train 2000 on Tuesday 11th May to network and listen to an interesting talk on how to use NLP to increase business sales.

By definition; NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a way of decoding and reproducing what works in thinking, language and behaviour so that individuals/businesses consistently achieve the results that they want.

Guest speaker Zahida Kayum, a qualified and highly expert facilitator in this field, set up her own business in 2008 with support from Train 2000. Some of the tips covered were:

What is NLP? and how it can help you
How to build effective working relationships - how NLP techniques can improve your communication skills and create a deep rapport with people around you
How to develop an awareness of yourself and others, and learn how to manage your emotions to your advantage
Some of the feedback comments from the event included:
'Really insightful a real joy to listen to - I look forward to the next inspiring session'

'Excellent very useful evening'

'I found this very useful and very interesting. I know that it will help me not only in my business but also in general everyday situations'

'I found Zahida to be a woman in her own power ,authentic ,inspiring and honest a great combination. She brought to life the challenges and the possible solutions to the art of communication'

To find out more about what Zahida can offer around training, coaching and mentoring you can contact her on

Our next networking event will be on Wednesday 30th June from 6pm-8.30pm. Business woman Kathryn May will be coming to talk about how to use Key Performance Indicators to grow your business. To book a place or for more information please call 0151 236 6601.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Second Woman Nominee from President Obama for the US Superme Court

US President Barack Obama has nominated Solicitor-General Elena Kagan as the 112th justice to the Supreme Court.

Ms Kagan, a 50-year-old former Harvard Law School dean, was at Mr Obama's side at the White House when he announced, as expected, that she was his pick.

She would be the youngest member and third woman on the current court as well as the first justice in many years not to have been a judge.

Republicans warned she would not receive automatic approval.

The Senate must confirm whether the nominee - who has spent much of her professional life in academia - can replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Gay rights advocate

Democrats welcomed the nomination, but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Ms Kagan's "brief litigation experience" would be reviewed.

If confirmed, she would join Sonia Sotomayor - also chosen by Mr Obama - and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in bringing the number of women justices on the Supreme Court to three, the highest in the court's history.

Introducing Ms Kagan in the White House East Room as "my friend", Mr Obama said she would bring excellence, independence, integrity and passion to the post.

The US president said she "is widely regarded as one of the nation's foremost legal minds".

Ms Kagan said she was "honoured and humbled by this nomination".

"I look forward to working with the Senate and thank you, Mr President, for this honour of a lifetime," she said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said Ms Kagan should be confirmed in the post by early September, after a hearing expected to last a week.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Washington says Ms Kagan is regarded as a liberal on most issues.

The nine US Supreme Court justices are appointed for life

Why the nominee matters
But she has worked with conservatives and even attracted a liberal backlash against her support for continuing Bush administration policies on state secrets and the use of military commissions to try terrorism suspects, our correspondent adds.

Her staunch advocacy of gay rights may concern Republicans.

She went through a fairly smooth confirmation process in the Senate for her current job this year, when seven Republicans voted for her.

With 59 votes, Senate Democrats would have enough to confirm her, but they would be one short of being able to halt blocking or stalling tactics by any Republican senators.

Early in her career Ms Kagan was a clerk for a US Court of Appeals judge and later for former Justice Thurgood Marshall.

And like Mr Obama, she worked on the prestigious Harvard Law Review as a student.

Our correspondent says that selection of a Supreme Court justice gives a president the opportunity to influence US public life for decades, as the justices are not bound by term limits.

For full article see the original post on BBC News site.

US Initiative Encourages Business Ownership by Black Women

DAYTONA BEACH -- Twenty African-American female entrepreneurs who followed their hearts and staked out a place in the business world will be honored this week for their tenacity.

The event, slated for Saturday at Sunset Harbor Yacht Club & Conference Center, is part of a national initiative to foster and spur the growth of business ownership by women and minorities, according to Jessie Childs, president of the Gamma Mu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

"We felt that this year, more than any other, was a great time to host this event. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and these women, along with other small-business owners, should be celebrated for their drive, ambition and service to our community," Childs said.

According to research published in 2008 by the Center for Women's Business Research, there were 1.9 million firms owned by women of color, defined as African-American, Asian and Hispanic. These firms employed 1.2 million workers and brought in $165 billion in revenue.

Black women started businesses at three-to-five times the rate of all other new businesses between 2006 and 2009, according to the center.

Here are examples of what it took three of the honorees to become successful in business.


Business owner Sherry Smith was 14 years old when she got a summer job at a restaurant in her hometown of DeLand.

All of her work for the next three decades involved the food service industry, including stints at fast-food giants such as Taco Bell and Hardee's.

"God was setting me up for something. He kept me in restaurants," Smith, 45, said, during an interview at Sherry's Kitchen and Buffet at 1500 S. Atlantic Ave., which she opened six years ago.

Business wasn't always so good. In fact, her first two attempts to open restaurants failed. "They were not in good neighborhoods, and they were too small," she said.

But on her third try, she got it right, opening one in DeLand in a building with 98 seats and, more important, a busy location at 1200 Woodland Blvd.

Still, getting the doors open was a challenge. "It was an old building, and it needed a lot of work. It also needed money which I didn't have," Smith said.

That is when faith stepped in, she said, adding the building's owner let her move in with no money upfront. She stayed there for eight years and might have stayed longer after her lease expired, but the owner sold the building.

"What we think is bad is not always so. God had something bigger for me," she said, adding she found another place at 344 E. New York Ave. in DeLand with almost double the seating.

The Atlantic Avenue restaurant thrived for the first three years, but has struggled since the 2004 hurricanes. Fortunately, business is still good at the DeLand location, she said.

"The economy has hurt business but I'm still here. A lot of restaurants closed," Smith said about the Daytona Beach location.

Her advice to would-be business owners? "You go to God first. Take it there and then do some research," she said.


Eight years ago, Teresa Anderson was a parent whose children attended Lilies of the Fields, a private school at 201 San Juan Ave.

All of that changed when the owners at that time -- George and Sharon Hotchkiss -- approached the teacher about buying the school, which would make her the third owner of the then 30-year-old school.

It seemed like a good idea, said Anderson, who also worked at the school during her summer vacations.

"I was already in education, so it was no new field for me," said Anderson, 38.

With the support and blessing of her family, Anderson decided to buy the school, which caters to pre-kindergarten through second-grade students. "It was a blessing in disguise," she said, adding she always had a yen to own a business but thought it would be a school-supply store.

Because she was buying an existing business, she managed to avoid some of the startup pitfalls that could create headaches for a first-time owner.

Still, she had to learn to deal with issues such as personnel. There were four employees when she took over, including one who had worked there for 25 years.

Anderson built her own team by retaining the long-term staffer and hiring others. She now employs five people.

If she had one piece of advice to others looking to go into business, the Bethune-Cookman University graduate said it would be "believe, and you can achieve.

"Obstacles will come. Get yourself a good support ring, and you can make it," she said, adding her supporters include a brother who helps maintain the aging building that houses the school.

Anderson, an exceptional student education teacher at Campbell Middle School, said she depends on her staff and her faith to keep business going. "Business is good," she said, despite the downturn in the economy, which has forced families in some areas to cut back on private schools.


Ophelia Robinson, founder of Fifi's Salon and Day Spa, celebrated 40 years in business last year, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

"You have to believe in what you do," the 75-year-old Robinson said in a recent interview.

Robinson, now semiretired, looks back on a life full of challenges. She attributed her ability to survive to her religious belief, which gave her the will to continue on despite the obstacles she faced as a black woman and entrepreneur.

The Daytona Beach native lived in Connecticut for five years after graduating from the old Campbell Street High School in 1952. After returning home, she took several jobs while studying cosmetology at the Volusia County Community College, now known as Daytona State College.

She graduated in 1960 and went to work at a salon. She also worked as a respiratory therapist technician as Halifax Hospital. Of her two jobs, Robinson said, it was a matter of necessity. "I was trying to make money to feed my (four) children," she said.

She worked to build her salon clientele and eventually opened Fifi's Salon in 1971 on South Campbell Street.

She was inspired by her family to go back to college in 1975 and get a degree in elementary education. She continued to operate her shop, though.

"I wanted to fit with other family members who had college degrees. But once I got it in 1980, I decided that cosmetology would be enough," she said. She did try teaching for about a year but preferred being her own boss.

In 1982, Robinson and her daughter, Kim Moten, formed a corporation and expanded the salon to include a day spa. Moten, a licensed cosmetologist, serves as president of Fifi's Salon and Day Spa while Robinson retains the position of vice president. The business is at 400 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.

"I always tried to run a respectful place that catered to all people," said Robinson, who also has taught classes as several area cosmetology schools through the years.


Outrage Erupts Over Failed Iranian Bid for UN Commission on Status of Women

Feminists worldwide are outraged over an attempt by Iran to gain a seat on the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Iran reportedly withdrew a bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights council and announced candidacy for membership in the commission last week, according to Radio Free Europe. The CSW meets annually and aims to "evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide."

Iranian women's rights activists and other feminists worldwide wrote an open letter to the UN opposing Iranian's candidacy for CSW membership. The letter references that Iranian women have been "arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of [the discriminatory] laws" in place in Iran and also states that "the Iranian government will certainly use [CSW membership] to curtail the progress and advancement of women," reported Radio Free Europe.

In February, Gender Equality in Iran issued a petition that demands "an end to state-led violence and repression" in Iran. In part, it said, "Over the past eight months, the grass-roots protest movement that emerged following the disputed presidential elections has been suppressed by mounting violence. Physical and psychological violence - through arrest, torture, rape, extended imprisonment, and even execution - has been exercised against civil and political activists in Iran. As of now, numerous women activists from various movements - women's, workers, students, civil, and political - are detained and/or have received heavy sentences. The list of detainees grows everyday."

In addition to the continued harassment of activists, during the fall of 2009 a documentary attacking Iran's women's rights movement was broadcast on state television. At about the same time, the head of Iran's state television, Ezatollah Zarghami, declared that state-sponsored television programs will henceforth prohibit women who appear on air from using make-up. Zarghami told the newspaper Eternad that "make-up by women during television programs is illegal and against Islamic Sharia law. There should not be a single case of a woman wearing make-up during a program."

More recently, a senior Iranian cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, created a firestorm when he blamed earthquakes on women's attire. He said, "Women who do not dress modestly...lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes," reported the Washington Post.

Taken from

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Small Steps Make Big Business For Knowsley Mum

MOTIVATIONAL workshops and positive thinking might not be traditional curriculum subjects but through her new business Small Steps to Success Katie Small is introducing them to schools throughout the area.

The 31-year-old former PE teacher decided to become her own boss when she became aware of the very positive impact this work had on the children she taught. Having started her career in 2002 working at a school in a socially deprived area of Liverpool Katie saw firsthand the talent and motivation many children had despite coming from difficult backgrounds – and it was this that spurred her on to use her own skills in positive thinking to work with children and to become her own boss.

“I had done some life coaching and workshops with some of my pupils whilst working as a teacher and was amazed at the effect it had on them,” said Katie “I gained a life coaching certificate and decided to set up my own business, as I really felt as though I could make a difference to the lives of young people.”

Katie, who lives in Knowsley and is a mum to her two young children, came to Train 2000 for advice and support in setting up her business.

She said: “The help I have received from Train 2000 has been excellent; it is a really supportive organisation and I couldn’t believe that everything they offer is completely free of charge. I had never put a business plan together before and wouldn’t have known where to start doing it on my own.”

She added: “Setting up my own business is something I had thought about for a long time and never got round to doing, but I’m so glad that I did, particularly knowing that there is always somewhere to turn to for help and support.”

Katie is currently carrying out workshops at schools throughout the area and is looking to get even more schools n board by offering her services to them and showing them the positive impact that her work has. She works alongside OFSTED and ensures that her works fits in with lessons such as PSHE.

She added: “I use vision boards, discussions and a number of activities when I am working with young people and it is amazing to see what they get out of it. We look at any issues the young people have, and help hem to make plans for their future by using positive thinking and determination.
“I was lucky as a child, I had parents who always told me I could achieve anything with hard work, determination, self belief and confidence but not all children have this. Schools are the only place we can reach all children and aim to make their lives better and help them take responsibility for their future.”
As Katie works to build up her business she is thoroughly enjoying the opportunities and challenges it brings and is benefiting from the flexibility of being her own boss, alongside being a mum.
To find out more about Small Steps to Success, visit Alternatively you can contact Katie on 0151 488 0927.

Women entrepreneurs told: Now's the time

BOND HILL - Women entrepreneurs considering opening a business now should go for it because the current economic conditions make it a good time to do so, said Sandra Yancey, founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork , one of the nation's largest women's business groups.

She said less competition and low interest rates are among factors that make starting a business attractive.

"The greatest time to build a small business is when the economy is struggling," said Yancey, who was in town Tuesday to speak to about 60 women business owners and professionals at the Maketewah Country Club.

In 2009, Yancey said that for the first time in U.S. history there were more women in the workplace than men.

"That shows that women are becoming leaders outside of the home as well in the home," Yancey said

She said that focusing on and then sticking to a commitment is the top factor that determines whether women will succeed and achieve their business dreams.

Yancey launched eWomenNetwork in January 2000 during the dot-com bust. It now includes 20,000 members, a database of 500,000 women business owners and professionals and 113 chapters in the United States and Canada, Yancey said.

She said women entrepreneurs need to think bigger and focus on how they can grow their business into a multi-million dollar business. Yancey said many women can't fathom growing their company to that size because they have not had a lot of role models to emulate.

She talked about some struggles she faced when she started eWoman Network, including being on the verge of bankruptcy two years after launching the business.

Yancey said she was able to turn things around after getting some business coaching, assistance her company still uses and relies on today.

"The biggest issue we have as entrepreneurs is we try to figure it ourselves," she said. "I've learned that there is power in not knowing."


How Women Entrepreneurs Are Driving Business in the Middle East

Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud is an Arabian princess with an entrepreneurial streak. As president and CEO of ALFA International and AL HAMA LLC, two leading luxury retail corporations in her native Saudi Arabia, and cofounder of Yibreen, a women's day spa in Riyadh, she is eager to defy the misconception that Saudi women are unsophisticated consumers who will buy any product put in front of them. Saudi women are not only well-informed about their purchases, but they also seek out entrepreneurial opportunities to serve the needs of other women, she believes.

As if to prove that point, ALFA International owns the license for Harvey Nicols Riyadh, the U.K.-based luxury lifestyle store's first overseas location, which employs Saudi women to be its lead buyers. Yibreen has gone beyond offering health and wellness services to providing women a place to network since its opening in 1999. Recently the spa hosted a fashion show where Saudi female designers launched new clothing lines. "It is a misconception that women have a long way to go," Al Saud notes. "Our plight is not that far behind any other society in health and work."

Her passage from palace to marketplace is a metaphor for a broader change: All over the Middle East, women are continuing to cross boundaries, going from being heads of households to small business owners to CEOs. While women entrepreneurs are a minority in most of the world, their presence in the Middle East and North African region (MENA) has been much lower in comparison to not only other middle-income regions but also predominantly Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. As the cost of living steadily rises in the region, though, and the need emerges for job creation for a growing labor force, women entrepreneurs are playing a role in creating new employment opportunities.

Women such as Basmah Al Omair, executive director of the AlSayedah Khadijah Bint Khawilid Businesswomen and Lobby Center have found an ally dating back 1,500 years to push for reforms in the Kingdom in support of female entrepreneurship. Named after the first wife of Prophet Muhammad, Khadijah, a powerful international trader who was pivotal in the expansion of Islam, the Center has worked with King Abdullah and Saudi ministries. Housed in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, it has pursued initiatives to change laws so that women can have the right to work in mixed environments and serve as CEOs and as head of boards. The Khadijah Center also aims to remove restrictions that previously limited what business licenses women could obtain.

Overcoming Cultural Barriers

Although women are making major strides as entrepreneurs, cultural challenges remain in the MENA region. "Socializing on a business front is difficult after hours. If two families are talking over dinner, for instance, a woman likely won't be part of that conversation," says Al Saud.

Lamia Boutaleb, who cofounded Capital Trust, a Casablanca-based investment bank, believes these barriers can be overcome. "In investment banking, information is everything," she says. While it may not be culturally acceptable for men and women to sit together in social gatherings, they still have opportunities to network. Boutaleb schedules appointments with her male counterparts in the industry during working hours and has found this approach to be effective.

Egyptian entrepreneur Shereen Allam founded her second business, EcoTek - a printer cartridge recycling company - 10 years ago. She serves as president of the Association of Women's Total Advancement and Development, a network hub for businesswomen in the MENA region, and notes, "As long as women have education, they cannot be marginalized." Allam tells the story of a woman she recently met who attended an international business course. The woman wears a nikab - a full-face cover - and manufactures goods at home. "She has hired many women and has a fantastic export business." While this way of doing business may not be what Europeans or Americans perceive to be totally free, says Allam, it is still possible to do business in this way.

More than 95% of enterprises in the MENA region are family-run, and it is more socially acceptable for women to run businesses they have inherited. While many family enterprises are operated by women, Allam notes that this does not make the hurdles any easier for women to overcome. She recalls meeting a woman who inherited 13 medical centers from her father. During board meetings, all the men turned their chairs away from her because they did not want to accept her as their leader. Still, she refused to let herself to be intimidated by their behavior. "She said, 'I'm sorry, but you are not going to get anyone else except me.'"

Al Saud points out that in her experience, rather than turning their backs, sometimes people do not disclose full information. When doing business for the family firms she heads, the Princess says she does not personally experience the same sort of treatment because everyone knows that her male cousins and uncles are backing her.

Legal Barriers

While Allam acknowledges that starting a business in Egypt is easier than it was 20 years ago, women entrepreneurs can still inadvertently fall into traps of unknowingly breaking the law. For example, while working with a lawyer and an accountant to launch a clothing business, she learned half way through the season that she was breaching the law by having the "Made in Egypt" tag written in English instead of Arabic. "Even today, you never know what law you could break by mistake, and you can immediately get into a lawsuit without even receiving a warning. It is one of the major hindrances for anyone that wants to get into a business. It is a scary thing," she says.

Other issues that confront entrepreneurs across the MENA region are financing, learning to better manage cash flows and obtaining access to information. Allam says Oman and the United Arab Emirates are good examples of governments helping to create a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs to collect data.

In Qatar, Aysha AlMudehki and two other women are helping develop the Roudha Center in partnership with universities and organizations to do just that. "We realized that there was a huge need to support women who wanted to launch a business," she says. The Center hopes to guide women through the process of developing business and marketing plans as well as obtaining financing. Although Her Highness Sheikha Moza, wife of the emir of Qatar, has been encouraging women to cross boundaries and work, entrepreneur Mona Fadel, who helps bring international fashion labels to the region, says that many people do not want to become entrepreneurs, preferring the safety of employment. "They would rather just go work for the government sector and not deal with the challenges of entrepreneurship," she says.

With state jobs becoming more competitive and harder to obtain, Middle Eastern governments are pushing citizens to go into business. Fadel notes that they could offer greater support for entrepreneurs so they can better understand what it means to have their own business. "What about those who do not have connections?" she asks. "If you have an idea, there needs to be a specific place within the government that can help you carry it out."

Funding Challenges

In Saudi Arabia, women hold more than $13 billion in local bank accounts that could potentially be invested in the local economy. More needs to be done across the region, though, to fund new startups so that women do not have to rely just on funding from their families. While Saudi Arabia has various funds to help small businesses, communication about the opportunities that are available needs to improve, according to Al Saud. "A community or information center in the Chamber of Commerce or information online can help you find support," she says.

Some of the challenges her firms face are labor issues. For example, bringing in fitness and beauty staff from Europe and South Africa is possible only because she has access to a group of financers through family contacts. Despite that, the visa process for employees, even for someone with strong connections in government, is long, bureaucratic and could affect business opportunities. "At the moment, the focus is on Saudization and big business that can support the training of staff," she says. "It is good if you are a Cisco or an IBM that has infrastructure to support this, but for small businesses, it is hard to balance out Saudization and not fall back on the services you are trying to provide customers."

During the next five years, many foresee several possible changes and challenges. For example, in Saudi Arabia, many women find driving to be an issue of finance rather than mobility. Half a woman's salary can go towards a second car and driver, and it has to be economically viable for her to work. It is not simply changing a law but also infrastructure issues such as hiring women to drive and staff ambulances as well as be trained as policewomen to facilitate Saudi women on the road. Learning to network and promote their businesses is another critical issue for women business owners. Allam recently was in Jordan participating in a session with other female entrepreneurs on public speaking training. "Even those who have owned businesses for 20 years did not know how to sell their ideas in order to get investment and grow," she says. With just a small amount of training, she saw a major change in confidence and hopes more emphasis will be placed on teaching women to form actual business networks. "There are female entrepreneurs who have been friends with each other for years but may never talk about business problems," states Allam, who believes business support networks are vital for any entrepreneur.

Mauro Guillen, director of the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and professor at Wharton says that governments must support women in rural areas where illiteracy is still high. The Jeddah-based business group Abdul Latif Jameel has recently partnered with the Grameen Bank - founded by microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus - to create The Grameen-Jameel Pan-Arab Microfinance Limited. They hope to support low-income and rural women and have a target of providing one million loans to clients across the MENA region by 2011. There are 100 microfinance institutions reaching some 3.5 million borrowers with an outstanding loan portfolio of $1.3 billion. Experts estimate that $4 billion is needed to meet demand for the entire region.

With Abu Dhabi alone averaging daily revenues of $800 million from oil, Wharton management professor Raphael (Raffi) Amit believes that many Gulf countries could be more proactive in supporting all entrepreneurs, both male and female. He says Singapore might be a good model to follow since the government there has been supporting entrepreneurs through providing startup grants of $50,000 to $100,000.

Within the next five years, Al Saud hopes that funds will not only go towards good business plans but also the development of angel investor groups with strict structure support programs. Once these programs take off, she suggests, gender will not be an issue in determining who gets funding.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bridging the Gender Divide: How Technology Can Advance Women Economically

This 2010 International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) document analyses the process of enabling women to increase their resources and economic opportunities and strengthen their ability to compete in market economies through technology. It offers recommendations on how to improve the way technologies are developed and deployed so they benefit women and enable them to be more successful economic actors.

The paper introduces a conceptual framework (illustrated on page 8, figure 2: How technology can facilitate the economic advancement of women), shows examples of integrating the needs of women into the technology development, and examines the lessons, common characteristics, and effective strategies of successful technology initiatives involving low- and middle-income women. It gives specific recommendations on better ways to develop, introduce, and disseminate technologies to help women to advance economically.

As stated here, “Bridging the gender and technology divide requires two main shifts:

•First, ...focus ...innovation efforts on sectors, such as energy and information and communication technologies (ICTs), which can convey rapid and significant benefits to women in developing countries. Like education, health, water, and agriculture - sectors that are widely recognised for their positive impacts on women and their families - energy and ICTs are particularly promising because they have the potential to benefit all women, regardless of their primary occupation, while often profiting their families and communities. For example an alternative household power source (the multifunctional platform) provides energy that lengthens the productive work day for women and other members of the home where it is installed. ICTs, including mobile phones and computers with Internet connections, have allowed women to develop new careers as village phone owners while also giving communities access to these services. Focusing on these two sectors would concentrate technology development efforts in a way that could be particularly beneficial for women in developing countries.
•Second, ...radically rethink the lifecycle for developing and deploying new and existing technologies. Rather than allow enthusiasm for a given technology to drive how it is designed, marketed, and distributed in the field, developers need to put female users at the center of their thinking, consulting and involving women at critical design and deployment phases. Rather than creating a technology and only then figuring out how to entice women in developing countries to adopt it, developers must first ask: ‘What technologies do women need to increase their economic opportunities?’ And then they must involve women - as technology innovators, developers, and drivers of the process - to design something that women can’t afford not to use."
The paper documents the phases of the "technology lifecycle" (illustrated on page 13, figure 1), including:

•Identifying the problem
•Designing the technology
•Researching the market
•Introducing mechanisms to address barriers to access
•Training users
•Supplying and distributing the technology
•Creating and maintaining market linkages
•Assessing and evaluating the entire process
ICTs used as examples of the steps in this process for the economic enhancement of women are listed as:

1.Village mobile phones - Women entrepreneurs sell mobile phone usage to other women and men. The question of long-term sustainability arises as more people own their own mobile phones. For example, the Grameen Village Phone programme staff and external researchers conducted assessments to determine the impact of the intervention on women phone booth owners and customers. Increases of 30-40% in household income seem to be declining among village operators as personal mobile ownership increases.
2.Outsourced ICT Services - Outsourced information technology (IT) jobs, such as medical transcription and software support, offer employment.
3.ICT Telecentres - Fee-based ICT products and services can be offered to women for entrepreneurship opportunities and for service employment and education.
4.ICT Academies - Education for high-skilled IT training for women can be made available in national universities. For example, in the Middle East, coupled with training for women in networking, interpersonal skills, and career planning, as well as job placement programmes that linked graduates with ICT employers, the academies created by a partnership of the Cisco Foundation, United Nations Development Fund for Women, and national governments give women help in the high-skilled ICT labour force.

The conclusion of the document recommends asking critical questions about needs, barriers, markets, training, and assessment at the earliest phases of research and development to ensure that a technology will aid women in developing countries. Practices in project development can include: engaging women in design and deployment of technologies; focusing on sectors that have the potential to give rapid and significant benefits to all women regardless of their primary occupation - alternative household power sources and ICTs are the two examples given; engaging partners with complementary capabilities - for example, non-governmental organisations can reach low- and middle-income women, while the private sector can create sustainable markets; and investing in training needed. Finally, the document enumerates elements of technology policymaking that support women.

To see the original article and for a link to the full downloadable report click here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Secretary's International Fund for Women and Girls: Economic Empowerment

"From my perspective, focusing on girls and women makes a great deal of sense because it is the fastest way to get money into the hands of children, family members, communities, and I think it is an obligation and responsibility."
-- Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 2010

A number of studies over the past few years have shown that gender equality is "smart economics." The untapped potential of women remains a lost opportunity for economic growth and development that the world can ill afford. Women’s economic participation promotes enterprise development at both the micro and small and medium enterprise (SME) levels, as well as enhancing business management and returns on investment.

Investing in women produces a multiplier effect – women reinvest up to 90 percent of their income in their families and communities. Women also play key roles in creating peaceful and stable societies –important factors for economic growth. Unfortunately, these benefits have not been universally recognized and have therefore not translated into women’s full economic participation. Women still face obstacles when trying to establish new businesses or expand existing ones. Among the biggest hurdles are discriminatory laws, regulations and business conditions, as well as women’s lack of access to property rights, as well as finance, training, technology, markets, mentors, and networks.

Women’s Economic Empowerment

Investments to advance women’s economic opportunity include:

•Financial Inclusion: Supporting efforts to increase women’s access to quality financial services, such as micro credit, savings, insurance, and payment systems through better regulation, technology, and financial literacy.

•Capacity-Building: Providing capacity-building, training, and mentoring programs to women and girls and equip them with training, access to markets, entrepreneurship opportunities, and the necessary skills to attain economic independence.

•Enterprise Growth: Supporting grassroots NGOs advocating for policy and fiscal solutions that enable women’s economic participation, including reforming discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to capital, land tenure, and inheritance rights, and encouraging a policy climate conducive to the growth of women-run SMEs.