Need For More Women Entrepreneurs To Partake In Bhutan’s Economic Development

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The 2018 Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Bhutan 122nd out of 149 countries on a global index.

Pema Choden Tenzin is the owner and editor of Yeewong Magazine. (Source: Facebook/Yellow Bhutan)

  

By Sonam Pem BBS 

Despite a significant rise in the number of Bhutanese women entrepreneurs, they still lag behind compared to their male counterparts.

According to a study conducted on the growth of ‘Women Micro and Small Enterprises’ last year, the increase is largely in numbers but not in terms of business innovation and progression.

Results of the study

The study mentioned that women-owned and managed only 35.5 % of the registered micro, small and medium enterprises as per 2016 Department of Cottage and Small Industries (DCSI) report.

While the number is a considerable accomplishment, a huge number of women still operate their enterprises informally and at the micro level. And this remains a major concern as per the study.

“The majority of the people engaged in entrepreneurship are in the unorganised sectors which are often referred to as the informal sector. So when you are talking about the informal sector, there is no documented data,” said Damchoe Dem, the CEO of the Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE).

 

Source: Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs

 

“If you look at the engagement of women, mostly women are entrepreneurs but what are they doing? Had they succeeded? There’s no data. How will you go forward without data, how do you know you have succeeded?”

The study has found that the main motivation for women to participate in economic activities is not only to earn a livelihood, but also to enhance their social and economic status.

Hurdles which need to be overcome

According to the study, obstacles that need immediate attention are: poor access to finance, labour shortage, inadequate business skills, competitions among similar enterprises, lack of proper business premises, lack of formal education and lack of training opportunities.

“We need to create a formal platform, where women can come and drop in with their questions, where they can sit in the comfort of a friendly environment and discuss our issues and our problems. I think it will go a long way in solving problems because of networking,” said Damchoe Dem.

 

 

Photo: 2018 Global Gender Gap Report

 

The study suggests that there is need to close the gap between men and women, in terms of their economic participation and achievement.

It is also important to promote formal economic entrepreneurship among women and facilitate their advancement from micro-enterprises to small and then towards medium and large enterprises.

Insight from the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report

The 2018 Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Bhutan 122nd out of 149 countries on a global index.

The Global Gender Gap report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the global gender gap as well as the efforts and insights required to close it.

 

Photo: 2018 Global Gender Gap Report

 

In terms of economic participation, opportunity and political empowerment, Bhutan ranked 104th and 138th respectively.

This means that gender disparity still exists in terms of opportunities and participation in economic activities and political empowerment.

In a bid to attain a more gender-balanced world, this year’s International Women’s Day encourages a 'balance between men and women' in all aspects.

In Bhutan, it is economic participation and opportunity that calls for a balance.

This is largely because women’s economic participation holds huge potential in addressing a host of national development issues such as poverty, unemployment, inequitable distribution of wealth and imbalanced regional development.

 

This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


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