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Rampant gender-based discrimination slows entrepreneurship among African women, says new study
(Source: Economic Commission for Africa on-line news)
Addis Ababa, 18 June 2007 --- African women's success in entrepreneurship can only be accelerated through policies and programmes which address rampant gender-based discrimination in the formal sector, according to a new study recently carried out by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The study titled “Lessons from Success Stories of African Women Entrepreneurs”, which was conducted by ECA's African Centre for Gender and Social Development, calls for “gender-specific allocation of resources so as to develop and boost women's entrepreneurship, beyond micro-credit”.
The study underlines that despite limited government support, negative social environments, discriminatory institutional practices and persistent gender inequalities, African women are still managing enterprises that are creating employment and paying taxes.
If African countries are to achieve the MDGs, adds the study, governments would need to address these constraints, focusing on women in particular because they are more adversely affected than men.
The study is based on the experiences of nine randomly selected African women entrepreneurs in Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
It identifies some personality traits common to successful women entrepreneurs that include the ability to take risks, creativity, extroversion and openness, optimism and sociableness.
The study also says that none of the women entrepreneurs interviewed identified economic gain as the number one indicator of success; rather, their ideology of success embraces honesty, reliability, hard work and the flexibility to spend more time with their family.
The lessons learned will be validated at a two-day workshop which opened today in Addis Ababa.