According to the new Information Economy Report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), women entrepreneurs in developing countries face numerous challenges that restrict their abilities to take advantage of opportunities and succeed in their business ventures. Access to finance, lack of physical mobility, and limited use of information technology cervices are cited as the major obstacles that prevent women from closing the gender gap in terms of business opportunities.
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“The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is calling upon governments and other stakeholders to make better use of innovative initiatives to help women entrepreneurs.
In its Information Economy Report of 2011, UNCTAD concludes that not sufficient programme and policy attention has been given so far to the application of information communication technology (ICT) tools to support women.
“The success of many women-owned ventures in developing countries is often hampered by gender-specific challenges. For example, women entrepreneurs tend to face greater difficulty in accessing finance,” UNCTAD said in a media release, last week.
UNCTAD said family commitments often place a limitation on the amount of time women entrepreneurs can devote to their businesses and in some cases, lack of physical mobility affects their ability to grasp opportunities and to network. “Mobile telephones, radio and the internet can make a significant difference in helping them overcome these barriers,” it added.
According to UNCTAD, very few private sector development (PSD) projects aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs are taking full advantage of ICTs.
“There appears also to be a gender gap in terms of access to some ICTs and the GSM Association and the Cherie Blair Foundation estimate that in developing countries, 300 million fewer women than men own a mobile phone,” the organisation revealed.”
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