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Anna May Yu Lamentillo, Undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), emphasized the importance of bridging the digital gender gap in empowering women micro-entrepreneurs.
At one of the side events of the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67), a session titled Empowering Female Micro-Entrepreneurs in the Digital Economy, Lamentillo argued that the use of digital technology offers opportunities for formalization and growth. said to provide. of enterprise. But we need to level the playing field so that these opportunities are equally accessible to all existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.
“Mobile phone access can be a barrier for female micro-entrepreneurs, but we see slow or no internet connectivity as a major challenge, especially in rural areas. Lack of awareness, technical know-how and skills.Lack of access to digital financial products such as e-wallets and other banking services,” she explained.
A study by International Finance Corp. (IFC) found that women entrepreneurs can be more competitive if they have the necessary digital selling skills and access to credit. However, her 61% of Filipino women were still unbanked and not part of the formal economy.
Various government agencies have existing programs to support women entrepreneurs in the digital economy.
DICT’s free Wi-Fi program aims to bring broadband connectivity to all regions of the country, especially in underserved or underserved areas. Its Tech4ED centers provide essential e-government and ICT-enabled services in communities with minimal or no access to information and government services.
On the other hand, Startup Grant Fund (SGF) provides financial grants to new and early stage startups related to startup development, capacity building and network building.
“We are also advancing e-governance. Streamlining government services is essential to ensuring that women small entrepreneurs have easy access to government services. This includes applying for the necessary permits to allow access to credit.”
Other government agencies are supporting women’s economic empowerment, such as the Department of Trade and Industry’s SheTrades PH Hub, which enables Philippine-led businesses to network, sell products and services, and access e-learning programs and marketplace tools. We have established respective programs for Strengthen participation in international trade.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Kabhayan Program provides grants for livelihood capacity building for working poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers in either individual or group livelihood projects/enterprise By helping women to take on the challenge of entrepreneurship.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) helps women entrepreneurs improve their products, services, and operations and adopt innovations to increase their productivity and competitiveness. The program provides technical assistance and consulting services on product packaging and label design to help MSMEs obtain product certification.
“These initiatives will help provide female micro-entrepreneurs with the boost they need to not only continue, upgrade or start their businesses, but also to take advantage of mobile services and other digital technologies.” says Lamentillo.
Lamentillo is part of the Philippine delegation to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.
The Commission on the Status of Women is the leading international intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The priority themes for CSW67, scheduled for 6-17 March 2023, are:
Panel members include Jamie Zimmerman, Deputy Director of Digital Connectivity for Women and Girls at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Zainab Hussein, Vice President and Head of Sustainability at Telenor Group. Julia Sandoval, her BBVA female entrepreneur from Panama.
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