Women and Economy. Projects and Initiatives of Russia
Natalya Strigunova on international development of women’s entrepreneurship
Novokuznetsk held the ‘Role of Women in Developing Industrial Regions’ forum. One of its expert sessions was titled ‘BRICS: Economic Agenda for Inclusive Growth in the Digitalisation Era’. During the discussion, Natalya Strigunova shared about the projects to support women’s economic activity. The Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation assists those projects within international platforms.
Natalya Strigunova - Deputy Director of Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russian Federation
Digital economy is actively developing in Russia while the volumes of e-commerce are increasing rapidly. According to Ms. Strigunova, it is now important to assist and develop female entrepreneurship and involve women in digitalisation. After all, women contribute greatly to economic development. They form over a third of the world’s GDP, successfully do business, and, as a rule, support the development of small and medium enterprises.
A number of documents setting key priorities of supporting women in economy is approved. Among them are the National Strategy for Women, Strategy for Developing Small and Medium Business in the Russian Federation, and ‘Digital Economy of the Russian Federation’ National Programme. According to those documents, it is essential to eliminate several main barriers faced by women entrepreneurs. They are insufficient financial literacy, lack of financial sources and business contacts, lack of data on doing business, and subjective problems of self-doubt and glass ceiling.
Initiatives and projects of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development are aimed at eliminating current issues and involving more women in economy.
Many of such projects are actualised both in Russia and abroad in cooperation with large-scale international organisations.
The Second EWF in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development presented the initiative of establishing BRICS Women’s Business Alliance. Setting up such a platform will provide an opportunity of involving women in economic processes and contributing to the development of entrepreneurial potential in participating countries. On the one hand, female union will add value to the activity of BRICS Business Alliance. Its members would pay attention to educational programmes for women, creative industries, corporate social responsibility, and human capital development. On the other hand, the new department would become a platform for exchanging business contacts and best entrepreneurial practices among women.
Russia also initiated several projects to promote women’s economic opportunities within APEC Forum.
APEC Women and the Economy Forum annually holds the contest of best female enterprises called APEC Business Efficiency and Success Target Award (APEC BEST AWARD). Key goals of the initiative are supporting and promoting best practices of women’s business and replicating the most successful business models. The winners are defined in several nominations.
Following the results of the contest, a special catalogue is published annually. It contains information on the best projects and contacts to cooperate with the entrepreneurs.
APEC Forum has also brought other initiatives. One of them is ‘Opportunity Fair for Women-Led SMEs’. The idea of the project is to unite various organisations helping women to do business and female entrepreneurs within one platform. The seminar will be held in Tomsk in June 2019. Besides, the Second EWF held a seminar titled ‘Women and the Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in APEC Economies’.
In terms of supporting women’s entrepreneurship, The Ministry of Economic Development is actively cooperating with ASEAN.
The Ministry is now vibrantly working towards analysing and attracting best international practices to promote female participation in economy, foster women’s entrepreneurship, and female leadership, to Russia. It is important to analyse practices of partner countries helping women combine active entrepreneurship and household chores. Many of those measures would be interesting concerning their implementation in Russia.
Natalya Strigunova highlighted the Ministry of Economic Development is open to cooperation. Novokuznetsk’s forum provided an excellent opportunity to establish valuable contacts with women of Siberia and the Far East. She called for female entrepreneurs from all over Russia to share their ideas and initiatives and speak of the relevant problems.
Anna Repina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Boykov