Governments around the world can play a crucial role in helping to lift women and their families out of poverty by introducing more gender-sensitive policies that offer greater employment, taxation and investment opportunities for women, especially those who want to be entrepreneurs, the General Assembly President said today.
Speaking to a conference at UN Headquarters in New York on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the set of eight anti-poverty goals agreed to by world leaders in 2000, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa called on governments to incorporate gender perspectives into their fiscal and monetary policies. Promoting gender equality and empowering women is one of the eight MDGs.
“Gender-sensitive policies assist women entrepreneurs in accessing markets and obtaining reasonable interest rates for loans, as well as promote decent employment opportunities, fair taxation, and investments in infrastructure,” Sheikha Haya said.
Ms. Haya emphasized that experience from developing nations in Asia, Latin America and Africa showed that when women are given the chance to succeed through small business loans or increased educational opportunities, they take it, benefiting themselves, their families and their local communities.
She noted that 13 million entrepreneurs worldwide have advanced thanks to microfinance, using the small loans to increase their income and lift their families out of poverty. Yet an estimated 200 million families still do not have access to affordable credit.
Ms. Haya also noted that the Internet can also help by giving women a voice and allowing them to tap into information and communication technologies.
The conference was organized by Women Together, a non-governmental organization (NGO).