THE importance of empowering women in any society cannot be over emphasised.
A study done by the United Nations shows that when more women work economies grow.
Even though most of the women carry out their economic activities at a small scale, level, it is the totality of these activities that add value to economies especially in developing countries .
Evidence from different parts of the world also shows that increasing the share of household income controlled by women, either through their own earnings or cash transfers, changes spending in ways that benefit children.
It is against this background that we join the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) in welcoming First Lady Esther Lungu’s call for training of more female entrepreneurs to foster job creation in the country.
As the First Lady rightly pointed out, empowering more women with entrepreneurship skills can without doubt result in wealth creation for the country and help in building stronger families because it helps them supplement their husbands’ incomes.
Empowering women also allows them to fend for themselves even in situations where they lose a breadwinner through death or divorce and this also helps in averting problems such as early marriages which thrive on poverty in communities.
However, if the empowerment of women is to yield positive results there is need for a number of bottlenecks that seem to militate against such seemingly good intentions to be addressed.
For example, most women face hurdles like lack of finances to keep their business ventures running and this explains why most of their businesses fail or don’t grow.
Another problem that needs to be addressed is that of collateral demanded by most banking institutions, it is a well known fact that most women are disadvantaged when it comes to property ownership and cannot therefore cannot provide the collateral demanded by most financial institutions.
To address these challenges, we urge organisers of the training programmes being mooted by the First Lady to include the aspect of financial literacy so that women entrepreneurs can be equipped with the necessary skills to run their businesses.
We also call upon financial institutions to come on board through the provision of affordable loan facilities with flexible payment terms this will without doubt help women’s businesses to grow.