Families, economies, societies reach their fullest potential when women are empowered, said Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the United States President, on Tuesday. Ivanka, who is daughter of United States President Donald Trump, was speaking at the inaugural function of Global Entrepreneurship Summit here. “Only when women are empowered to thrive; our families, our economies, and our societies reach their fullest potential. Fuelling the growth of women-led businesses isn’t simply good for our society – it’s good for our economy. One study estimates that closing the gender entrepreneurship gap world-wide could grow our global GDP by as much as 2 percent,” Ivanka said.Ivanka lamented that “in some countries, women are not allowed to own property, travel freely, or work without the consent of their husbands. In even more countries, the cultural and family pressure is so great that women do not feel the freedom to work outside the home”. She said that the Trump administration is striving to promote greater opportunity for women around the world, both through its domestic reforms and international initiatives. “Further, as you can all attest, this Summit is yet another powerful example of a U.S. initiative that connects entrepreneurs around the world with investors who believe in your mission and will champion your success,” Ivanka said. Talking about the challenges being faced by women entrepreneurs, Ivanka said they are required to do a bit more than their male counterparts to prove themselves at work. “As a former entrepreneur, employer, and executive in a male-dominated industry; I have seen firsthand that all too often, women must do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves at work, while also disproportionately caring for their families at home,” Ivanka said.She added that in the last decade, women have made remarkable strides in starting new businesses. “Globally, between 2014 and 2016, entrepreneurship activity among women increased by 10 percent. Many women become entrepreneurs and job creators out of necessity – some weren’t given the flexibility they needed at work to care for their families. Others lacked professional sponsors, or they weren’t given a fair shot at a promotion. Instead, women, just like many of those here today, are charting their own courses and achieving incredible feats,” Ivanka said. She also highlighted the problems being faced by the women entrepreneurs in the developing world.“In developing countries, 70 percent of women-owned small and medium-sized businesses are denied access to capital. The result has been a nearly USD 300 billion dollar annual credit deficit for women entrepreneurs in the developing world,” said the daughter of the US President. She also explained the reason why women entrepreneurs receive less venture capital funding. “In the United States, a Harvard Business Review report found that investors ask men questions about their potential for gains whereas they ask women questions about their potential for loss. This could in part explain why women entrepreneurs received less than 3 percent of venture capital funding in 2016.”With the theme of “Women First, Prosperity for All,” a number of leading female voices will speak at various plenaries, breakout sessions, master classes, and workshops, including tennis champion Sania Mirza, Google’s Vice President of Next Billion Users Diana Louise Patricia Layfield and CEO of Afghan Citadel Software Company Roya Mahboob. The inaugural session was also addressed by Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Ivanka will also be part of a discussion on increasing women in the workforce through skills training, education, and mentorship on the second day. The closing session of GES will bring together key influencers that support, promote and fund women entrepreneurs. Panelists will share efforts to advance women in leadership positions and ensure that women have “seats at the table” while breaking down the barriers that disproportionately affect women’s ability to start and grow businesses. It will also feature a panel discussion themed “Women Win, We All Win: Promoting Inclusive Environments for Women Entrepreneurs”, which will be moderated by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu.
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