Chennai: The United Nations (UN) is helping Indian women turn entrepreneurs and enabling them to tap international trade opportunities in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) space.
The UN says its project, "She Trades", has managed to connect one million women entrepreneurs in the last couple of years. The UN aims to empower three million women around the world before 2020, of whom three lakh women will be from India.
The UN officials say there's been an amazing response from Indian women. In June this year, a delegation of women entrepreneurs from India will explore international trade opportunities at a meet in Liverpool, UK, facilitated by the International Trade Centre.
Arancha Gonzalez, UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director, International Trade Centre, who is working with the Commerce Ministry and trade bodies says, "One billion women are disconnected from the markets. They can contribute to the domestic growth. If we get the one billion women to work they are going to create an economy that in size would be US and China put together. We will be able to eradicate extreme poverty."
The mission, experts say, is fraught with similar challenges in different countries. More than 120 countries, they say, discriminate participation of women in economy. In many countries there's no equal pay for women doing the same job as men. Nor do women have access to credits that would allow them to grow beyond micro sectors.
Indian entrepreneurs, the International Trade Centre says, have a great opportunity in e-commerce, digital economy and services sector. There's tremendous scope for export, investment and trade opportunities particularly in countries like East Africa with a rising middle class population.
"The SMEs enhancing the quality of their products, the government lowering costs of doing business and reduced red tape before and beyond borders will put Indian entrepreneurs in good stead to explore and capture new frontiers in international trade," Ms Gonzalez says.