Response Updates

Empowering Women in Business

Reported by Convoy of Hope

When it comes to the entrepreneurial landscape, empowering women in business is crucial.

Empowering women in business is not merely a matter of equity but also one of economic common sense.

Women represent half of the global population and bring diverse perspectives, innovations, and leadership styles that can drive economic growth and foster global competitiveness.

A business landscape that actively supports and promotes female entrepreneurs and leaders resonates with more markets, caters to a broader audience, and creates a more inclusive, dynamic environment.

Studies consistently demonstrate that companies with more women in decision-making roles boast higher profitability and adaptability. Consider this one study of nearly 22,000 firms in 91 nations. Ignoring or marginalizing this potent segment is not just a social oversight; it’s a missed economic opportunity.

Every individual stands to benefit from a world where women in business are:

  • • Celebrated.
  • • Supported.
  • • Empowered.

But despite positive change in recent years, progress is still needed.

Join us as we dive into the intriguing world of women in business. We’ll dissect facts, highlight challenges, and offer tips for genuine female empowerment.

Women in Business Statistics

When we delve into women in business statistics, the figures reveal a compelling narrative that underscores the strengths and challenges faced by women in the professional realm.

Here are some noteworthy stats:

Statistics don’t just provide data; they spotlight areas of progress and concern.

These numbers emphasize the remarkable strides women have made in the business domain, particularly in the world of small businesses and startups. However, they also point to persisting disparities, especially in higher echelons of corporate leadership.

Challenges Women Face

From the U.S. to the most remote corners of the world, challenges continue to face women business owners.

Here are some examples:

  • • Limited Access to Capital: This is a major concern. Women, especially during the early stages of their ventures, find it hard to get needed capital when they are viewed more skeptically compared to their male counterparts.
  • • Gender Stereotypes: Can women be good at business? Absolutely! But societal biases can be strong, pushing many empowered women into the background.
  • Work-life Imbalance: For many women — especially those in cultures where they handle most household responsibilities — balancing a flourishing business with family life can be overwhelming.

WATCH: Married at 16, Esther’s options for her future were very limited. But, with a little help, she has changed everything.

Understanding the hurdles women encounter in their professional journeys isn’t just about empathy; it’s about tapping into the full potential of half the world’s population. Every challenge that holds a woman back from achieving her professional goals equates to lost ideas, innovations, and contributions to the business realm.

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit that responds to these challenges around the world. In 2010, Convoy began its Women’s Empowerment initiative in Ethiopia.

The idea was straightforward — if women are given the resources to begin their own business, they not only provide for their families but contribute to the larger economic health of their community.

Women’s Empowerment now helps tens of thousands of women every year.

Hareg
Hareg operating her business selling clothes and shoes, with dreams of expanding.

For example, Hareg took Women’s Empowerment classes and now runs a business selling clothes and shoes. She is one of 500 women in Convoy’s Ethiopia program.

In Guatemala, Lidia was able to get a larger refrigerator for her ice cream sales business thanks to Convoy.

Convoy not only gives entrepreneurial lessons but also provides seed capital as a gift to women who complete the program.

Tanzania is an excellent example of empowerment in action. Convoy of Hope has worked in Tanzania for 10 years — empowering more than 7,500 women and girls there in 2022 alone.

Through Women’s Empowerment, women learn how to:

  • • Break the cycle of poverty.
  • • Start and grow their own businesses.
  • • Give back to their communities.

Women can take classes dedicated to financial education, vocational training, early-childhood care, and more.

Similar stories continue to come into Convoy’s Global Headquarters & Training Center. The ripple effect of Women’s Empowerment is a direct benefit to Convoy’s key initiative — Children’s Feeding, a program that provides nutritious meals every school day to more than 571,000 children around the world.

Convoy has discovered one of the best ways to feed kids is to empower their moms.

Let’s Take Action: Tips for True Empowerment

If you’re reading this and nodding in emphatic agreement, ask yourself what you can do to make a difference. There’s an old expression: “If we’re going to talk the talk, we need to walk the walk.”

Here’s how we can propel more women into the business limelight:

  • • Mentorship Is Key: Successful women in business can change the game by mentoring newcomers. Sharing experiences and offering advice can make a massive difference.
  • • Networking, Networking, Networking: The power of women in business networking events is unmatched. This is where connections are made, and collaborations are born.
  • • Books Are Your Best Friend: Dive into business books written by women entrepreneurs or featuring business principles that apply across the board. They are treasure troves of knowledge, guidance, and inspiration.
  • • Celebrate Success: Did you know there’s a “Business Women’s Day”? It’s the perfect occasion to cheer for women’s achievements and contributions to the business world.
  • • Empower Through Education: Business education tailored for women can create more opportunity for more women-owned small businesses. Harvard’s Women Leaders: Advancing Together program is just one example.

WATCH: Angela’s business journey in El Salvador will inspire you. Angela is a provider for her family and an example to her daughters, who dream of running their own businesses in the future.

Helpful Resources: Grants, Programs, and More!

In the vast expanse of the business realm, a constellation of resources shines brightly, dedicated to propelling women forward.

Whether you’re a seasoned businesswoman, an emerging entrepreneur, or somewhere in between, there’s a wealth of support available.

Here’s a shoutout to all those women at the starting phase of their entrepreneurial journey:

  • • Grants for Women: The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program, for example, provides financial assistance. There are numerous other grant opportunities, and guess what? Some even cater exclusively to women.
  • The Magic of Federal Contracts: In the United States, women-owned small businesses have specific federal contracts set aside just for them. This levels the playing field, allowing women to compete fairly.
  • • Learning at the Chamber of Commerce: Many local businesses collaborate with the Chamber of Commerce to offer tailored business education programs for women. They can be a goldmine for budding entrepreneurs.
  • Business Plan Assistance: In the early stages, creating a solid business plan can be a challenge. Thankfully, many programs offer guidance on this, ensuring women set out with a clear direction.

Looking Forward

Empowering women in business isn’t a mere trend — it’s a need, and more importantly, a responsibility we all share. As society grows, the gap between women and men in the business realm should diminish. Both genders have unique strengths, and only by combining them can we reach our collective development goals.

Opportunity for women in business is vast. From local businesses in small towns to megacorporations, the potential is endless.

What’s needed is a collective effort — from grant applicants, grant-funding agencies, established business moguls, and of course, women themselves.

  • • To the women reading this — take that leap. Dive deep, for the business world is waiting for your unique touch.
  • • To the men — commit to being a source of encouragement and support.

Together, we can and we will change the world of business.

Convoy of Hope Logo

Convoy of Hope continues to grow its Women’s Empowerment program.

In 2023, Convoy served more than 48,000 women and girls, bringing the total to more than 148,000 women since Women’s Empowerment began in 2010.

You can make a powerful difference in the future of a woman or girl by getting involved, and the level of your involvement can fit your time and your budget.

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