Russian women's entrepreneurship
The future is female. We have all at least once heard this expression. It encourages some women to be brave, gives hope to others and nourishes most of the female leadership in different sectors and all around the world. The UN Women has prioritised innovation technology as one of the drivers of change, as notably gender equality and women’s empowerment require transformative shifts and new solutions.
"Женское предпринимательство – мировой тренд", news-r.ru
An increasing presence of female leaders can be observed by today, from the business world to politics, underlining not only that women can do, but also diminishing gender stereotypes. In this article, we will see how a country known for its Bears, Caviar and Winter has not only beautiful women, but also encourages beautiful, strong and intelligent female leaders. According to Unesco, 29% of people in scientific research worldwide are women, compared with 41% in Russia. There is a rising trend of women interested in self-realisation and technology. However, in order to understand where the female interest in technology and innovation comes from, we need to dive more into the country’s socio-historic background.
The Russian women’s foundation in science and technology can be partly traced back to the Soviet era, where the advancement in science was one of the national priorities. Russia is one of the premier country in the world when it is about getting girls interested in STEM, like a paper by Microsoft showed in 2017. Russia actively encourages young girls and women to develop their interest in tech, maths and engineering, in order to re- create the potential of women in the working world.
The involvement of more and more women in entrepreneurship can become another stimulus for the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Russia. Moreover, the involvement of women in entrepreneurship on an equal basis with men can give the global GDP an increase of about 3-6% and an additional $2.5 trillion to the world economy, analysts from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) concluded.
Russia is following a positive global trend regarding female leadership. According to Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of the Federal Council and Deputy Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Eurasian Women’s Forum, women’s entrepreneurship has become one of the important drivers of economic growth in the Russian Federation.
„In two years, the number of women entrepreneurs in Russia has increased by 20%“, she said.
However, as stated by Natalia Komarova, Chairperson of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Committee of Delovaya Rossiya: „In our country more than half of the working population are women, while their share in small businesses is less than 30%.“, underlining that the Russian women’s entrepreneurial community has still room to grow.
Gender stereotypes in Russian business still persist and according to the Ernst & Young (EY) study „Women in Business: Myths and Reality“ (2019), in Russia 56% of managers are men, whereas 33% are women. Moreover, only 7% of the survey participants would like to see a woman in the role of a leader. Yet, the rapid development of technology slowly eliminates the stereotypes of professions divided into male and female, as Galina Karelova notes. Women entrepreneurs are making progress, even in areas that were traditionally considered male: „The share of enterprises created by women in the manufacturing sphere is more than 30%“, she states. Furthermore, the digital economy opens more diverse opportunities for women to realise themselves in different spheres, including the participation in many international projects, e-commerce and more.
In 2017, the Russian government approved the National Strategy for Action for Women for 2017-2022, setting as a priority the „Creation of conditions for the full and equal participation of women in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of society“. The development of women’s economic initiatives in Russia is based on the interaction of the state, private and non-profit sectors. Together with Ministries and women’s public organisations, projects of the Council of the Eurasian Women’s Forum are being implemented, including the „Development of Women’s Entrepreneurship“, „Women for Sustainable Industrial Development“, „Women’s Cooperation in International Trade.
Export Development“, „Women’s Financial Literacy“. The goal of the project is to help women start their own business. Different trainings are provided in order to help women with the development of business plans and strategies and issue mentoring support.
Opora Rossii and Google have launched the „Women Digital Academy“ courses for women who are already running their own business, or still thinking about starting one. In addition to that, the Opora Rossii Committee for Development of Women’s Entrepreneurship, with the support of the Russian Foreign Ministry, takes part in major international forums and summits as part of the official delegation of the Russian Federation and develops cooperation with APEC, UNIDO, SCO and BRICS. In 2019, Russia won the main nomination of the competition for the best female projects in APEC.
Another aspect that shows that the role of women in business is changing, is the dynamics of the Women Business Index (WBI), calculated by the NAFI analytical center at the Initiative of the Opera Rossii Committee for the Development of Women’s Entrepreneurship. Since the beginning go the study in 2015, the indicator of female entrepreneurial activity has passed from 56 to 69.4% in 2018. The focus on women entrepreneurs on the national, such as international level helps not only to change the perception of women’s participation in business, but also reduce the gender gap and stereotypes.
The inclusion of women in different professional spheres remains a crucial topic in our society, yet the positive trend is encouraging and I want to say to all of the girls and women, who read this, that: You are so much more than you think.
"The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond
description." – Steve Maraboli
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Contributrice du JBC
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