Initial situation / Problem
Traditionally, women in the MENA countries have little influence in the economy due to social and cultural barriers. Their employment rate is below 30%, and there are - as in Germany - too few examples of women who are successful entrepreneurs and managers in companies. Business women's associations in the MENA countries also find it difficult to hold their own against traditional, male-dominated chambers and associations and to offer their members good services. The project counteracts this situation in the MENA countries of Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon and Tunisia.
The project aims to strengthen the partner associations and their networks in the sustainable support of women entrepreneurs in the MENA countries. This is to be achieved in the following ways:
- Creation of a regional and international network of women entrepreneurs' associations
- Expansion of services tailored to the needs of women entrepreneurs, including women setting up new businesses
- Broadening the representation of women entrepreneurs' interests in policy dialogue with government agencies
- Improvement of the association management of the partners
Networking among the business women's associations involved represents a special added value of the partnership project. Several bilateral and multilateral joint efforts of the partners are supported in order to exchange know-how and experience in the fields of representation of interests, public relations, service offers for members and association organisations and to make the findings available to female entrepreneurs for their activities. The benefits of networking are greater than the individual advice given to individual associations could be.
Practical examples are two transnational working groups of the partner associations, which have set themselves the following tasks: (i) to increase the proportion of women in management bodies of companies ("Women on Board") and (ii) to motivate more young women to study mathematics, science, technology and IT and to become employed in these subjects. From this work, the SHE MADE IT initiative was developed in the project, in which professionally successful women, e.g. architects, engineers, programmers and chemists, are presented in roadshows in the participating MENA countries. Following the positive experiences of the VdU from Germany, the concept of the 'Girls Day' was also presented in Beirut in 2016, in which member companies open their doors to girls on one day so that they can inform themselves about typical "male occupations". The partner associations ABWA in Egypt and LLWB in Lebanon then organised 'Girls Days' themselves in 2017 and 2018.