Chair of the Arab Businesswomen Council (ABC) Sheikha Hessa Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah on Monday called for greater role by Arab women in economic development particularly in small and medium enterprises.
Sheikha Hessa, a leading Kuwaiti personality, active in promoting women affairs and enhancing their role at various levels, affirmed in an address to an international conference on women entrepreneurs, held here, that bolstering role of Arab and Tunisian women's contributions in economic development would certainly lead to social equality in the Arab world.
The ABC, which advocates enhancing Arab women's economic stature, will seek to execute joint venture with Tunisian businesswomen, capitalizing on Kuwait's long experience in investments, she said.
Stressing on the Arab women role in developing the Arab countries, Sheikha Hessa called for systemized training of the Arab female workers to attain such a purpose.
She also called for working out an Arab work program to push economic development forward, enhance competition, upgrade technological capacities, information technology and communication sectors, create a lucrative investment environment, intensify economic cooperation among Arab states and speeding up establishment of the common Arab market.
Small and medium enterprises are vital for enhancing economic competition, cementing social fabric; for they can be helpful in filling the gap among peoples of various income and enlarging the medium class which constitutes basis for social stability and protecting the economy in crises, said the chairperson of the Arab businesswomen board.
These enterprises contribute by some 20 percent to the gross domestic product in the Arab countries; which is insignificant when compared to such contribution in advanced nations or emerging economies, reaching up to 70 percent, she elaborated.
Private sector can play a vital role for lifting level of women's productivity and their contribution to development, she said, affirming that women's enhanced status has become a criterion for assessing economies and nations' advancement.
International organizations, namely the United Nations and the International Labor Organization, have launched a new slogan, "woman as a partner in development, however the Arab woman continues to be embroiled in a serious dilemma; belittling value of her work, while a large number of the females work in the private sector without attaining their rights and 80 percent belong to the low-income class."
Arab women's economic contributions are low as compared to other regions of the globe; for they contribute with only 20 percent of the work hours.
Two thirds of the women work in agriculture, where labor hours and payments are not officially registered.
However, Sheikha Hessa continued, some Arab women have succeeded in domains such as nursing and social services, 68 percent, and teaching, 40 percent. In industries or military sector, their role is almost nil.