The new Technologies and Communications Businesses are a prosperous platform for the empowerment of businesswomen

Two-hundred businesswomen from European and Northern African countries met last March 22nd in Murcia, Spain in the European Conference "Businesswomen and Labour Mobility in the Mediterranean Arc" organized by AFAEMME, OMEP and the Women Institute of the Region of Murcia.

The ICT sector (Information and Communication Technologies) seems to be an open door for women entrepreneurs. In this emerging market, both women and men encounter the same obstacles and solutions.

As Mrs. Ewa Ruminska-Zimny, Senior Social Affaires Officer of UNECE said in her presentation during this event, the service and the new technologies industries are a prosperous platform for the integration of women as their conception impact both women and men in similar ways. Women face fewer difficulties in this labour area than in others that are more traditional and where male presence has consolidated with time. Mrs. Marie Christine Oghly, President of the Women Entrepreneurs of France (FCE France) coincided with this position by noting that is easier for women to create a business in the ICT sector that in any of the traditional business sectors. FCE France has over 2000 members of which more than 600 work in the ICT sector.

As one of the moderators, Mrs. Ida Gram, Seconded National Expert from the DG of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission noted that women have filled in six of the eight million of new jobs created in the European Union since the year 2000, giving an encouraging view of the current situation of women the EU. She also said that this year had been proclaimed the “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All” and that the objective is to inform the public opinion about the benefits of a fair and integrated society.

On the other hand, in countries like Morocco, statistics are not so positive. Mrs. Imane Rtabi, Vice President of the Women Entrepreneurs of Morocco, spoke about the gender stereotypes that exist in her country and that complicate the access of women to some careers and job positions in areas such as engineering. Considering this, the ICT sector represents a solution for young women who wish to begin a business, for which reason many women study and get specializations in careers in the new technologies area.

Also taking part in the event, Mrs. Aino-Maija Hiltunen, Coordinator of the ATHENA gender & ICT networks and activities, described in her presentation the profile of the potentially successful woman in the ITC sector as of a young woman, with no children and with middle-age parents. She also assured that due to the existing stereotypes, it is necessary to continue working in projects that allow women not to be the only ones responsible for taking care of small children, the elderly and of domestic chores.

According to Mrs. Elizabeth Villagómez, Director of Studies of AFAEMME, the ICTs permit greater schedule flexibility by overcoming time and space obstacles, improving the quality of life.


This permits people to optimize time and work more effectively allowing the conciliation of work and family life both for women and for men.

The ICTs also favour networking, a necessary skill for optimizing operations and communication between associations and institutions that work with similar purposes. Mrs. Marina Griñón from the Science and Technology Indicators Department of Spain’s National Statistics Institute indicated that networks will be key actors in change processes because problems need solutions coming form different voices. Mrs. Oghly also spoke about the existence of virtual organizations that act as viaducts where information circulates between business people that permit the exchange of databases and services with commercial, touristic, investment and documentary purposes.

Mrs. Amany Asfour, President of the Egyptian Businesswomen Association, assured that there are few interconnected businesses and little information being exchanged. For these reasons it is very important to promote investments in the ICT sector in order to enlarge the existing nets through which information flows, as information is power. Mrs. Asfour noted that the principal partners needed to invest in ICTs are the government, the civil society and the private sector. For her, ICTs are important to increase electronic commerce between businesswomen from different countries, saving long distances between the main cities around the world. This, as Mrs. Asfour also stated, can be a practical way to women’s empowerment.

The event also counted with the presence of Mrs. Elizabeth Trallero Santamaría, Director of International Relations of AFAEMME and with Mrs. Esther Gómez Yelo and Mrs. Consuelo Rosauro renowned businesswomen from the Region of Murcia, who discussed about the management and leadership key issues for businesswomen.

The Director of the Women’s Institute of the Region of Murcia, Mrs. Paloma Recio Benández, who presented the results of the “Equal Adelántate Mujer” Initiative, also inaugurated the Conference with Mrs. Mª Helena de Felipe Lehtonen, President of AFAEMME and with Mrs. Ángeles Ruíz Martínez, President of the Organization of Businesswomen and Professional Women of Murcia - OMEP.

This event forms part of the project co-financed by the European Commission “Women and Job Mobility: obstacles and solutions for women in the ICT sector”, which is now being executed by AFAEMME in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union of Ireland (SIPTU) and the Italian Training Centre (IAL). The next meeting will take place in Dublin in the month of September.



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