Women entrepreneurs, one of the main assets for economic recovery and social empowerment

Closing the gender gap in the startup and business world could add as much as $12 trillion to the global economy.

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March 11, 2021 4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The story of courage involving Amelia Earhart can be found in the book “Goodnight stories for rebellious girls: 100 stories of extraordinary women” by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo. She loved to fly and do things that no one had ever done. Amelia became the first person to attempt the first air travel around the world over the equator and has served as an inspiration to many women who follow in her footsteps.

In thousands of entrepreneurial women, we can see Amelia’s courage and perseverance reflected. They face — with zeal, determination and courage — multiple obstacles, not only those as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also face one of the largest economic contractions in the world, which, according to figures from the International Labor Organization, has exacerbated the problem of economic inequality and affected more women, who are 19% more likely to lose their jobs. The crippled economy has further deteriorated industries in where women prevail, such as service, food, retail and entertainment, and reveals the disproportionate increase in unpaid and domestic work.

Women entrepreneurs have shown their resilience and faced the current complex situation, while serving as an excellent source of inspiration for their peers. As Amelia once pointed out, “I am aware of the dangers. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women should try to do the same things as men. If we fail, our failure will challenge others.”

The ventures open an important opportunity for women to direct and be leaders of their company in the corporate space. They face the well-known “glass ceiling” that limits their growth and prevents them from accessing senior management positions.

According to the study “One ambition, two realities” carried out by McKinsey, women have lower income and opportunities for promotion within the private sector — a situation that is prevalent in management and executive committee positions, where only 10% of the positions are held by women. They have a lower salary, and the percentage drops to 8% when it comes to general directorates. The situation is so complex that the probability of promotion is 88 to 1.

However, women will play a crucial role in the future of the global economy. Boosting gender equality could add 12 trillion dollars to global growth in 2025 and more than a trillion dollars in Latin America, according to McKinsey Global Institute.

One of the central indicators of gender equality is participation in the workforce — a fundamental aspect to achieve social and economic empowerment. It provides greater opportunities for autonomy and resources to achieve compliance with the objectives and goals.

At Wayra Hispam, the investment, open innovation and entrepreneurship support arm of Telefónica Movistar, the visibility of women entrepreneurs and the development of startups led by them is promoted through the Scale Up Women initiative. Here, people can register to attend the March 11 trainings that women leaders of startups will give. It will also promote the role of women in the ecosystem, empower them and give them the opportunity to learn about issues companies are focusing on when it comes to entrepreneurship.

During the conference, Sandra Rubio (CEO and co-founder of Imix) will speak about the high impact business mindset, Juliana Villalba Torres (CEO and co-founder of Rebus Tech) will provide tips for pitch presentations, Julieta Beistegui (CMO and co-founder de Viaedu ) will talk about the role of the marketing and the business development team at Wayra Hispam in fostering a sucessful relationship between startups and corporations.

The digitization of society has accelerated in the last year. Technology is a key tool to achieve gender equality. We are facing an opportunity to create a more just, diverse and equal world. It is time for government institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector to come together to remove the many barriers women entrepreneurs face and boost their growth.

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