Over 80 female entrepreneurs from more than a dozen countries have gathered in Nepal to participate in the first Across Barriers-International Business Women’s Summit that kicked off on Monday.
The event, organised by the South Asia Women Development Forum, aims to promote business opportunities and partnership among women entrepreneurs from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, reports Xinhua news agency.
The two-day summit will also focus on exploring marketing opportunities through sharing and transfer of skills and technology, especially in trade and tourism, information technology along with agriculture and textile sectors.
Inaugurating the event, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said his government has prioritised investment for economic empowerment of women and has launched various policies, funds and legal interventions.
“Violence against women and girls continues to exist in different spheres and different forms. The challenge before us is to translate policies and programmes and commitment to equal rights into paper and practice. We can do this through joint efforts with seriousness and sincerity,” Deuba said in his inaugural speech.
He said financial power and economic empowerment can reduce women’s vulnerability either in Nepal or in South Asia as a whole.
The summit comes at a time when the representation of women in enterprises in South Asia is not very impressive owing to cultural norms and gender-specific challenges.
According to the South Asia Women Development Forum, only 10 per cent of South Asian women are engaged in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which indicates the under-representation of women in the formal economy.