Berlin became the venue of the Women20 Summit earlier this week where female leaders from around the world discussed economic empowerment of women. The event was organized by the German Women’s Council and the Association of Female Entrepreneurs and was attended by high-profile female leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, IMF boss Christine Lagarde and Bank of America Vice-President Anne Finucane.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, also joined the event in her role of a special advisor to the president, although when asked by the moderator in what capacity she was attending, she said “as an entrepreneur”. The audience booed when Mrs. Trump spoke of her father as a “tremendous champion of supporting families”.
A global network of female entrepreneurs and businesswomen called for social acceptance and political implementation for better access to education and jobs. According to German Startup Monitor, 2016 saw a steady increase in the number of female founders but the number is still only 13.9%. Germany is no exception to the rule – Queen Máxima added that only a third of Dutch firms are led by women, saying that job market and financial resources access are still a major obstacle for women.
“Financing today needs more financial security. That is one of the obstacles facing women,” Queen Máxima also said and stressed that “it is now a simple matter of fact that more and more women are being denied access to all-important financing.” IMF chief Christine Lagarde added that a diverse global economy free of inequality and discrimination could yield many macro- and micro-benefits. It is estimated that, for example, in the United States, closing the gender gap could lead to a growth increase of 5%. In Japan, this number could be 9%, while in India it could reach up to 23%.