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Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge Plenary Session European Report on the Entrepreneurial Environment for.

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Presentation on theme: "Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge Plenary Session European Report on the Entrepreneurial Environment for."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge Plenary Session European Report on the Entrepreneurial Environment for Women: The Gender ScoreCard

2 2 Project Objectives: Objective 1: Microfinance providers in 7 member states and Norway as well as a European-wide audience will better understand the external environment affecting women’s entrepreneurship, as well as the specific issues related to gender equality in entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship initiatives in the 8 participating countries. Objective 2: Microfinance providers will have developed and exchanged experience and best practice on concrete actions specifically tailored to positively impact women micro entrepreneurs and self employed and will have analysed and quantified the impact of these actions. Objective 3: The capacity of microfinance providers in Europe to promote gender equality will have been developed through the dissemination of information, research studies, best practice and pilot projects’ results. Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge

3 3 European Report: Methodology, Findings, Recommendations – Stefanie Lahn, Evers & Jung Expert Input and Reactions: –Mrs. Iris Kronenbitter- Federal Agency for Women’s Enterprise, Germany –Mme. Françoise Goffinet – Institute for Gender Equality, Belgium. –Mr. Jean-Michel Vern – Ministry for the Economy, Finance and Employment, France. –Mr. Laurant Aujean – Gender Equality Unit, European Commission –Ms. Laura-Jane Franklin – Regional Women’s Enterprise Coordinator, East Midlands Development Agency, UK Audience Questions Conclusions Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge

4 4 German National Report: “In Germany, it is still hard to combine family life with a business career for women. Working biographies of women are still strongly influenced by their family situation. This issue is currently high on the government’s agenda, but the pace of policy development is still slow. It seems questionable whether the traditional German focus on monetary compensation sets the right incentives. In particular, the comparison with other European countries shows greater success rates where “in kind” support such as childcare services are offered. Another option would be to set monetary incentives for childcare service providers i.e. for the establishment of a nationwide infrastructure.” Do you agree with this assertion? How can childcare be expanded rapidly? How can childcare that is adapted to entrepreneurs working hours be promoted? Questions for Mrs. Iris Kronenbitter

5 5 European Report: “Business development services and their providers often do not take into account gender specific needs of women entrepreneurs. Quality standards for institutions providing business development services and finance can improve the consideration of gender needs in delivering such services.” How could such quality standards be developed, implemented and enforced? Questions for Mrs. Iris Kronenbitter Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge

6 6 Belgian National Report: “Women find security much more important than men. They prefer to take as few risks as possible when starting their own business. In addition to specific initiatives to make life of female entrepreneurs easier, Belgium does not make a (large) distinction between men and women when assisting starting entrepreneurs. Yet, a gender-specific approach could stress the aspects of entrepreneurship that women find important, such as security. Gender-neutral organizations have lessons to learn here from organizations that do make a difference between both sexes or organizations that are specifically aimed at women.” Do you agree that a gender-specific approach to entrepreneurship support would result in greater numbers of women taking up entrepreneurship? What practical steps can the government take to ensure that all entrepreneurship support programmes take account of and design specific responses to women’s situations? Questions for Mme. Françoise Goffinet Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge

7 7 Questions for Mme. Françoise Goffinet European Report: “Female entrepreneurs get far too little attention in the media. Television, papers and magazines do not pay as much attention to female entrepreneurs as to their male counterparts. Since women look up to role models, the influence of the media should be explored further. We should also consider the approach of articles on female entrepreneurship. Women’s magazines often choose to paint a more versatile and female picture of the female entrepreneur (with the stress on personal experiences and their private life), whereas the general and economic press pays more attention to a more partial and male image (with accents on professional expertise, intelligence, business skills and rationale). That gives an incomplete picture of female entrepreneurs and the female entrepreneurial world. In other words: female entrepreneurs should get more exposure in the press and the media should give a correct and total picture of self- employed female entrepreneurs.” Do you agree? What practical measures can be taken to increase media attention to women’s entrepreneurship and for the articles and images to focus on the women’s business rather than their personal life and circumstances?

8 8 France National Report : “In France a National Strategy for Women’s Entrepreneurship is needed. A strategy would assist actors at all levels to promote women’s enterprise by providing a clear set of goals and a focus for women’s enterprise support. A national strategy would also enhance visibility and programmatic coherence across France. It would provide the accountability mechanisms needed to monitor progress and evaluate actions undertaken. If formulation of a national strategy is undertaken, it should be developed and supported by a sound analysis of the reasons for the stagnation in women’s entrepreneurship rates. It should also be informed by the experience of those programmes and individuals currently working with women entrepreneurs. This strategy should build upon and link together individual government pronouncements, targets and the agreements signed in 2006.” Do you agree that a national strategy is needed? Why/why not? If yes, in practical terms, how can the development of such a strategy be achieved in the short term? If you disagree, what alternatives are there to addressing the stagnation (if not decline) in female entrepreneurship rates in France? Questions for M. Jean-Michel Vern Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge

9 9 European Report : “Providing adequate access to start-up finance for female entrepreneurs is still a cornerstone in the task of fostering the share of women in viable entrepreneurship. Fighting discrimination against women on the part of banks and other financial providers is an important issue but will not be sufficient to ensure equal access to finance for women and men, since the study revealed that a high share of entrepreneurial women in EU-Member states do not even try to apply for external finance. This situation calls for an offensive outreach strategy on behalf of financial providers to reach women as well as men with their products for business finance. They have to communicate that they are not only supporting entrepreneurial projects in traditional and male dominated sectors that are characterised and presented in a masculine way.” Do you agree? What can banks and financial institution do to finance women’s businesses and to improve their image with potential and existing women entrepreneurs? Questions for M. Jean-Michel Vern Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge

10 10 The European report highlights “a need to extend and develop the existing initiatives for women’s entrepreneurship programmes… that organisations undertaking gender equality or women’s enterprise support activities should be brought together. Lessons learned and good practices should be integrated into strategies for nation-wide implementation.” Specifically, during the national report preparation phase, it was noted that many of the interesting initiatives to support women’s entrepreneurship existed thanks to the very important support provided by the commission’s EQUAL programme funding. However, in some cases these programmes had limited visibility outside of the particular region or locality where the programme was implemented; sometimes at the end of the funding phase, it proved difficult to get mainstream providers to adopt the programmes and their innovations on a permanent basis; lastly it was unclear whether opportunities existed to scale up the innovations for nation-wide application. What can be done about this situation? Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge Questions for M. Laurant Aujean

11 11 Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge National Reports : The lack of gender disaggregated data with respect to bank lending, microcredit provider lending, national statistics on entrepreneurship, lack of longitudinal research on women’s entrepreneurship has been raised in many national reports. For example, in Germany, it was not possible to access any statistical data from banks about the gender-specific distribution of their clients. Also, the national promotional bank KfW does not collect gender-aggregated data on a regular base. In France, plans to launch an annual report on women’s entrepreneurship prepared in collaboration between the national statistics agency and the agency for entrepreneurship have not materialised due to unclear modus operandi and lack of financial resources. What role can the Commission play in requiring/encouraging banks, credit unions and government financial support and guarantee programmes to publish gender disaggregated data? How can the commission promote longitudinal research on women’s entrepreneurship in all member states? Questions for M. Laurant Aujean

12 12 Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge UK National Report: “The female specific micro-credit sector is small in the UK and needs expansion. The broader CDFI sector is struggling at the moment, with clear recommendations from experts in the field, such as the New Economics Foundation, that not only do policy and financial support need to be maintained by government, but that a decision must be made about its future development. Evidence from the European Microfinance Network shows that female microcredit access rates are low in the UK; however interviews with practitioners show that women are systematically failed by more mainstream providers.” The CDFI sector is struggling and clear governmental support is lacking after significant policy and financial support in the first half of the decade. If a policy and funding vacuum is developing, how can the report recommendation regarding the need for expansion in the female specific micro-credit sector be achieved? Which institutions must play a role in its achievement? Questions for Ms. Laura-Jane Franklin

13 13 European Report: “ Business development services and their providers often do not take into account the specific needs of gender. Quality standards for institutions providing business development services and finance can improve the consideration of gender needs in delivering such services.” How could such quality standards be developed and implemented? – please explain the example of the Prowess Flagship award and its adoption by several Regional Development Agencies in order to screen and select business support contractors. Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge Questions for Ms. Laura-Jane Franklin

14 14 Fostering Gender Equality: Meeting the Entrepreneurship and Microfinance Challenge Thank You!


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