Over the past forty years, there has been a considerable increased participation of women in the business world. Following this trend in western economies, developing countries are now recognizing that the economic participation of women is key to sustainable economic growth. They are actively encouraged by international organizations, such as the OECD, to promote and support womenâ€™s entrepreneurship as they provide a drive not only to economic, but also to social development. It has been proven that working women significantly contribute to improved living conditions for their families.
Encouraging women in setting up and running businesses is now part of many governmentsâ€™ strategies for job creation and investment. The Malaysian government, for instance, has implemented a number of policies to help women participate in the labour force and become entrepreneurs. As a result, 45.7% or 3.93 million women of employable age were in the labour force in 2008. Meanwhile, the percentage of women employers showed an increase from 10.4% or 3.23 million in 2000, to about 16% or 3.57 million in 2005. The increase indicated that women-led businesses have shown a slight expansion in the business sector.
First lady H.E. Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, Wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, commented:
â€œWhat is certain is we need to support highly successful women, both home-grown as well as those around the world. They are an important economic resource, often under-utilized in our countries. The increasing number of women entrepreneurs will definitely change empowering women throughout their respective societies. This will in turn, shift the power structure of the societies, as women business leaders make their voices heard at high decision making levels.â€
Even if developing countries such as Malaysia have dramatically improved the participation of women in the business world, there is a considerable amount of progress that has yet to be achieved. Initiatives such as the Women In Leadership Forum, is one such opportunity where women leaders can enhance their skills, share experience and gain inspiration from the success stories of other women leaders in the world. The First Lady H.E. Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor will be sharing her views on the topic â€˜Where would the world be with more women in leadership?â€™ at the Women in Leadership Forum taking place in Dubai this year on 25th-27th October
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