In case you haven’t heard, poverty is sexist.
Estimates show that 70 percent of the global poor are women, and lack of empowerment seems to be a big part of the problem. Women face higher barriers in education and good nutrition when compared to men, and are also subject to pay inequality. And while we might be inclined to attribute these issues only to developing nations, it’s no secret that wage inequality in the United States is still a problem as well.
Because of this intersection of gender and poverty, entrepreneur Wendy Diamond decided to found Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) to discuss global challenges and solutions in women’s entrepreneurship. The event launched last year at the United Nations and was recognized by 144 countries at the time. This year, participants can also use the hashtag #womenwow to be involved virtually and make pledges. WED is one piece of a global movement to recognize and support female entrepreneurs to achieve higher success.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2014 Women’s Report, women are eager to close the gap between male and female entrepreneurship, with the divide between genders shrinking by 6 percent from 2012. Furthermore, philanthropists and other involved individuals like supporting women entrepreneurs, because women’s additional income tends to lift up their entire communities. Women’s income is more likely to go toward education and raising children when compared to men’s income. The report also found that women who know other female entrepreneurs are more likely to become entrepreneurs themselves, probably due to a catalyst effect.
So, if women’s entrepreneurship is such a key phenomenon for combating global poverty, what do women entrepreneurs need to succeed? Well, first of all, probably help with some of the issues mentioned earlier, such as education, access to healthy food, and childcare. However, writers on entrepreneurship warn that the obstacles and triumphs behind women’s self-built success vary widely by country. And we can’t shy away from the fact that politics has something to do with how easy or challenging it is for women to create their own jobs.
Like any quandary, this is probably one best approached from multiple angles at once. But entrepreneurship as a tool for social mobility definitely seems like it’s here to stay.
Stefani is a writer and urban planner based in Oakland, CA. She holds a master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University. In her free time she is often found reading diverse literature, writing stories, or enjoying the outdoors. Follow her on Twitter:@stefanicox