Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba (Republica file photo)
KATHMANDU, Sept 11: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba today inaugurated the International Business Women's Summit organized by the South Asia Women Development Forum.
As many as 80 women entrepreneurs and policy makers from 18 countries including the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Maldives - are attending the business women's meet.
The Forum is a SAARC-recognized regional body working on the economic issues of women of South Asia. It is represented by the national women federations/chambers and organizations.
The two-day summit will provide a forum for sharing experiences and discussing the achievements, and successes of women entrepreneurs involved in tourism, agriculture and information and technology, as well as investment prospects and challenges in these sectors.
The goal of the first international summit is focused on promoting business partnership and export marketing opportunities through sharing and transfer of skills and technology.
As per the World Trade Organization (WTO) data, women's participation in the total trade in the region is merely 10 per cent.
With nearly 23.4 per cent of the world's population housed in South Asia, a barely 10 per cent of women in small and medium enterprises is a figure indicating the under-representation of women in the formal economy, it was shared on the occasion. It is stated that SMEs contribution in national economy is 80-88 per cent.
Addressing to the summit, Prime Minister Deuba said the government has given priority to creating a congenial environment for investment and drawing women towards the small and medium enterprises.
"A woman's becoming economically capable and self-dependent means her entire family is moving towards prosperity. The society and the country itself progress if a family is prosperous. So, it is necessary to invest in women entrepreneurship in this region," PM reiterated.
Prime Minister Deuba, stating that the constitution has guaranteed a remarkable participation of women at the local-level, in the State Assembly and the House of Representatives, said this has shaped a trail for the empowerment of women and guarantee of their rights.
To achieve the sustainable development goals has been given top priority in the government policies and programmes, as stated by the PM who further said the government was committed to improving the living standard of poor women.
Pramila Acharya Rijal, SAWDF President, said the objective of Summit was to encourage women to seek career in entrepreneurship and business, and share knowledge and technology of this sector among the participants.
SAARC Secretary-General, Amjad Hussain B. Sial spoke of the need of attracting women to pursue career in business so as to improve their socio-economic life.
Industrialist Binod Chaudhary said, "Nepali women are far ahead in political sphere but their participation in industry and business is comparatively less. So, they must be encouraged to join business."
Professor from Sri Lanka Maithree Wickramasinghe said challenges still remained for the South Asian women to seek career in business due to poverty, lack of education and backwardness .
Ms Chen Yan, Promoter and Chief Strategic Officer, Focus Media Group, China was of the view of encouraging women into IT-related business. RSS