A decline in trade resulting from shrinking global markets may cost many women in developing countries their jobs, the head of the United Nations agency that promotes commerce to fight poverty warned today.
Deeply rooted discrimination against women in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres weakens society as a whole, the United Nations human rights chief said on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that the negative effects of discrimination are magnified by conflict, as well as natural or man-made disasters, such as the current economic crisis.
Empowering women economically boosts both gender equality and wealth of the nations. This entails enabling the women to have the capacity to control income and other key economic resources like land and animals. Accessing credit is the major constraint on women’s ability to earn income. The Microfinance sector is now taking the African women back to their role of being involved in the economy as they were in dire need of other income generating activities to supplement their small farms which barely fed them. It is estimated that women comprise 74% of the 19.3 million of the world’s poorest people now being served by microfinance institutions.