Cities can boost female entrepreneurship


By URBACT, on March 8th, 2012

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Cities and Municipalities have a role to play when it comes to achieving gender equality, especially in the economic area. With well thought out policies, they can encourage more women to set up businesses, and provide support for female entrepreneurs.

Today the International Women’s Day will be celebrated – statistics and numbers will once again be used to show that European women still keep on encountering more obstacles than men in the job market and as entrepreneurs.

The European Commission’s strategy  for equality between women and men (2010-2015) recommends “using the potential and the reservoir of women’s talents more intensively and more effectively in order to increase economic and commercial benefits”.

The Europe 2020 Strategy sets a goal of 75% employment rate among men and women between the age of 20 and 64!

weed-2 In the context of today’s economic crisis, cities can play a key role in helping achieve these goals and be a key factor of progress.

In the framework of the URBACT project WEED, nine European cities – from Sweden, Czech Republic, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, France and the UK – worked on identifying and developing integrated local actions to improve chances for women in employment, entrepreneurship and the knowledge economy.

Here are their recommendations:

1.    Municipalities have a role to play in supporting women and their entrepreneurial projects:

  • By setting up measures in schools for early intervention in fighting deep-seated attitudes concerning career choices for girls and boys and the roles of women and men;
  • By making micro-financing accessible to women;
  • By developing more integrated and more innovative support for business creation and growth.

2.    At a local level, it is possible to act on the quality of women’s employment:

  • If employers create working conditions that are more favourable to family life;
  • If flexible training activities open up new careers that are less gender-determined;
  • If social enterprises are encouraged to create new areas of growth.

3.    Gender inequality in the knowledge economy can be overcome:

  • Through interesting and better-targeted training, including local work based on knowledge centres;
  • By making the environment more favourable to women and the family;
  • By effective regional partnerships between municipalities and universities.

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