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Under the theme Overcoming Challenges Facing Women in Business in a Changing World the two organisations organized a side-event on the fringes of the 61st Session of UNCSW to discuss obstacles and challenges business women including immigrant and refugee women face in different parts of the world. The objective of the meeting was to provide an insight into the situation of business women and their possibilities for economic empowerment around the world in an ever- changing world of work.
Addressing the situation in Morocco, LI Human Rights Committee Member and INLW Vice-President Khadija El Morabit stressed that poverty, employment and illiteracy remain as major barriers to women's economic autonomy in the country. Referring to the lack for resources and means of production for female enterpreneurs in particular, El Morabit said:"Female entrepreneurship is often a fact entrepreneurship or a passive enterprenuership whereby women are made to depend on their respecitve fathers, brothers, or husbands for joint management and more often than not they cannot even inherit the family business they run."
Antia Wiersma, Deputy Director and Manager of the Research & Advice department of Atria, the Dutch Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History, spoke of the high part-time employment rate among women in the Netherlands which is a major contributor to the relatively low number of women in high-level positions. "The fact that Dutch women work predominantly part-time seems to also play a role in the gender pay gap, especially in the private sector, where the unadjusted gender pay gap amounts to 22% and the adjusted pay gap to 10%. Despite the fact that young women earn more than men, as they are often more highly educated, in the private sector, from the age of 30 onwards, they earn less than men. The root causes for this gender wage gap lie in the combination of paid work and care for children" she said.
INLW Vice-President Maysing Yang (DPP, LI full-member) highlighted the fact that even though the Taiwanese government encourages female enterpreneurship and employment more and more Taiwanese women choose not to work as a result of which only 50% of them participate in the economy. "Women need to become more vocal and speak up for themselves. Men ask for promotion, women wait for promotion" Yang added.
The debate was moderated by the President of INLW Margaret de Vos Van Steenwjick and it saw a wide variety of NGO representaitves and dleegates from UN permanent missions in attendace.