Guest blog by Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre
The multiple social and economic dividends from women’s economic empowerment are why connecting women-owned businesses – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – to international markets has long been one of our top priorities at the International Trade Centre. SMEs account for the bulk of job creation everywhere. And close to 40% of SMEs worldwide are women owned. Indeed, ITC’s forthcoming new research report on SME competitiveness suggests that SMEs are the missing link to inclusive growth. Boosting the ability of SMEs to compete in global markets, and helping them close the productivity gap with their larger domestic competitors, would directly address income inequality.
ITC’s Call to Action, which was adopted at the recent Trailblazers Summit at the Women Vendors and Exhibition Forum (WEDF), aims to bring one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020 and through shared commitments we can aim to make this happen.
One of the key outcomes of the Trailblazers Summit was this five-year Call to Action, which includes commitments towards implementation comprising of eight pillars of policy and programming interventions to support greater participation of women in the global economy. These eight key pillars include data collection, analysis and dissemination; trade policy; corporate procurement; public procurement; certification; addressing supply side constraints; financial services; and ownership rights.
Developed through a consultative process, the global call to action provides a robust and comprehensive framework for organisations to design, implement and monitor policies and programmes towards our shared commitment of achieving women’s economic empowerment. The Call to Action will be an important calling card at the ITC-Government of Kenya Women in Business event in Nairobi on 14 December as well as at the Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF) 2016 to be held in Turkey.
Trailblazers Summit 2015 in São Paulo, Brazil
About Arancha González Ms. González is the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC). An expert in international trade and development, she has previously held leading positions at the World Trade Organization and the European Commission.
About the International Trade Centre ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.