International Women’s Day: Women entrepreneurs demand support from gov’t

Despite having an entrepreneurial edge to thrive in various sectors of the economy, only a few women have been able to build huge companies like their male counterparts.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, reporters take a look at some key challenges facing women entrepreneurs in business and what they say should be done to help them climb to the top.

This year’s theme for the International Women’s day celebration is Press for Progress. The original aim of International Women’s Day was to achieve gender equality for women but this has not yet been realized.

Some years ago, Ghana’s industries, including financial, hospitality and even political positions were all male dominated.

The situation, has however improved, Ghana currently has a woman, Elsie Awadzie, as the second deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana making her the second female to serve in that position in the history of the country.

But what are some of the challenges women still face in trying to match up to the men in key sectors of the economy?

Ayisha Awudu Ali is the Founder and creative Director of Shaaliwud and she laments to reporters some of the challenges she has faced in the past three years in running her business.

“I think that government shouldn’t just say it. They should really do it because there are more women out there who have very good business ideas that can really enhance the country’s economy, so they should pick up the ones with high potential and then invest in them”.

Esther Armah is the Director of EAA Media Productions, she describes as unacceptable the challenges women go through in accessing financing from banks to grow their businesses unlike the opposite sex.

“For any bank to question the commitment of a woman entrepreneur, they do not understand what it means to be a woman entrepreneur, you cannot continue to fail as banks and financial institutions. We are a nation of entrepreneurs, so why doesn’t every bank have SME departments that recognize the issues of gender”

Government has been taking some steps to promote women in business, some of which include the Ministry of Public Procurement proposing a policy which seeks to award thirty percent of all government contracts to women, youth and the disabled.

While the Ministry of Business Development will in a few months release an amount of ten million Ghana cedis for young women entrepreneurs in the country to help them propel their businesses and address their challenge of accessing funding.

But are these initiatives enough to empower the women?

Ayisha challenges government to do more, “I think that government shouldn’t just say it they should really do it because there are more women out there who have very good business ideas that can really enhance the country’s economy, so they should pick up the ones with high potential and then invest in them”.

Esther Armah also challenges government to do more, “Government might say that they are committed but if your commitment does not manifest in change I will question your commitment irrespective of your party and as women we must together stand up and demand more, we build nations so how can we just sit down and not ask for what we need.”

Credit: CitiBusiness