From UN Women

On World Youth Skills Day, 15 July, at a side event held at the UN Headquarters in New York UN Women launched the “Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs” to promote young women’s innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Encouraging entrepreneurship is one of the most impactful steps we can take in addressing some of the disparities we see today,” said UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, in her opening remarks. “Empowering young women to become not only wage-earners but also job-creators is imperative for achieving the 2030 Agenda and for eradicating poverty,” she added.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at the launch of the Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Despite the growing evidence that investing in young women’s economic empowerment spurs global growth, this year’s World Youth Report, focusing on youth civic engagement, noted that globally young women are still less likely than young men to become entrepreneurs, in part due to cultural and societal barriers. At the panel event, eminent young women entrepreneurs and leaders shared their experiences and recommendations for promoting young women’s entrepreneurship.

“Take the risk and not only invest your money, invest your time, invest your passion, in order to empower other people,” said Rosario del Pilar Díaz Garavito, founder of the Millennials Movement and UN Women’s Empower Women Champion. She urged the participants to use the knowledge that they have and be socially responsible, so that no one if left behind.

Professor Rao R. Bhavani from Amrita of the University in India at the launch of the Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Bhavani Rao from Amrita University, India, believes that there is strength in numbers. “Rethink empowerment to create groups of women so that we can move forward…we need to create a community,” she says. Ms. Bhavani promoted a project to engage women to build toilets for themselves in a village in India. One of the participants from the project has now become the Village Council on Water and Sanitation and she is making sure that ten more villages are getting toilets for women.

Promoting young women’s economic empowerment and skills development is a key pillar in UN Women’s Youth and Gender Equality Strategy. The Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs will enable action and innovation in this area through partnerships with young women leaders and entrepreneurs, the private sector, philanthropists, academia, UN agencies and others.