SheTrades: Connecting Women Entrepreneurs in Zambia To The World
What meaning does the term ‘Female Empowerment’ have to you?
It’s a term often bandied about without anyone quite knowing what it means, but Zambia is attempting to give it true value with the SheTrades initiative.
According to the Zambian Central Statistics Office, the unemployment rate for Zambia in 2017 was 13.5 for women, compared to 11.9 for men. Although statistics are not totally accurate, they do serve as a valuable reference point – there is a clear discrepancy between female and male unemployment in Zambia.
So the big question is: how do we readdress this gender imbalance; making the economy more inclusive for working women?
One potential answer to that longstanding question has been SheTrades, an initiative lead by the International Trade Centre (ITC), which launched early September 2018 in Luskaka, Zambia. SheTrades hopes to promote the economic participation of women, connecting them to local and global markets through trade, and their aim is to connect three million women entrepreneurs to the global market by 2021. An ambitious target, which SheTrades believes can be reached by providing women with online training, tailored mentoring sessions and financial advice. In fact, the initiative outlines seven global actions which government, the private sector and civil society groups can make pledges on. Each tackles identifiable obstacles to women-owned businesses, such as: Champion Quality Data and Striking Business Deals.
Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma said: “We can empower our women entrepreneurs by leveraging multilateral partnerships and linking export ready women entrepreneurs to buyers, partners and investors across the globe.”
Although, female progression in the workplace has a way to go in Zambia, pro-actively engaging women through pragmatic initiatives such as SheTrades is hugely important.
Through the SheTrades initiative both women who work their way up to the top and men who amplify female voices can share a great sense of pride. After all, a proudly united nation makes for a strong nation.