To celebrate the return of Global Entrepreneurship week, Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) invited ASB committee member Louise Medve to attend a debate in the Scottish Parliment. The motion raised by MSP Gillian Martin endorsed the work of WES in supporting women to start up businesses. The motion also challenged gender-blind policy making which must be replaced by a gender-aware approach to economic development, enterprise and growth. Research undertaken by WES suggests that if the rates of women-led businesses equalled those of men, the contribution to Scotland’s gross value added (GVA) would increase from £7.6 billion to £13 billion.
On Tuesday 14th November ASB president Wendy Maltman attended the meeting of the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Women in Enterprise. Anne Meikle presented the annual report discussing meetings held over the course of the year. Themes included “Issues for women starting in business”, “Importance of data (gathering and analysis)”, “Gender specific support” and “Economic development”. Going forward the CPG will examine some of the themes in the recently published Scottish Government Framework and Action Plan for Women in Enterprise; mentoring and networking, role models, growth and finance, and gender-aware support and best practice.
A highlight of the evening was hearing from Dr Margo Thomas, Chief of Secretariat, UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. The independent High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment was established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in March 2016 and the panel was tasked to make action-oriented recommendations on how to improve economic outcomes for women in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Read Dr Thomas’ article on Taking action for transformative change on women’s economic empowerment
Dr Thomas said that Scotland could be an example to the world in its action to promote economic empowerment in women. We have an opportunity to challenge social norms and do things differently. But she encouraged us to go faster, deeper and higher in this work, not shying away from the bigger issues and recognising that we all have to act in our spheres of influence.