Women entrepreneurs meet, discuss issues at 3-day forum
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
The Economy Minister Çağlayan and Family Minister Fatma Şahin pose with women. AA photo
The International Women Entrepreneurs Forum (IWEF), which brings women entrepreneurs from around the world together, started in Istanbul yesterday, and will be held until May 4. The panelists reflected on the role of women in the global economy and Turkish economy.
“One million new jobs have been added to the Turkish economy in Turkey, 500,000 of them are for women, which is great for Turkey to grow because the more women are employed the more productive our country becomes,” Mehmet Büyükekşi, President of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly said. Turkey should aim to increase the female employment rate to 40 percent in 2023 from 28 percent now, according to Büyükekşi.
“We say ‘women-first’ in many fields from education to health and employment. Infrastructure is needed to ensure entrepreneurship. There are two main elements concerning women: Education and health,” Fatma Şahin, Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policies. Şahin added that Turkey had made fairly considerable investments in these areas in the last decade. “We can offer equal opportunities to girls and boys now. The number of girls who go to university rose to 40 percent from 19 percent. Seventy percent of the women who have a university degree can find a job now. We needed to achieve a health evolution to be able to decrease the rates of mother and infant deaths. We did it and reached the EU standards.”
What about the entrepreneurship of women? “The women who own their own business constitute only 7 percent of the total workforce, which shows there is progress to be made in entrepreneurship, especially of women. Turkey’s entrepreneurship index is increasing but the number of female entrepreneurs is lower than the number of men,” Süleyman Aslan, Halkbank General Manager, said.
The rate of entrepreneurship in Turkey increased to 12.2 percent in 2012 from 6.1 percent in 2006, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Report. The panelists continued to discuss how the number of female entrepreneurs could be increased.