Women's entrepreneurship world tour: Beirut (1/5)
What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur in Beirut? On International Women’s Rights Day, we asked the same questions to five of our overseas economic and trade attachés. A little overview and inspiration in Lebanon, USA, Germany, Uruguay and Vietnam!
Female entrepreneurship is developing at varying rates around the world, though it still faces obstacles from the way patriarchal societies are run. But the tide is slowly turning. Throughout the world, public and private initiatives are offering support and financial aid to female entrepreneurial networks.
What does it mean to be a female entrepreneur in Lebanon?
Lebanon is not an anti-female country. Lebanese women actually enjoy more rights and freedoms than women from other Middle Eastern countries.
“But the female share of the Lebanese workforce remains low, at just 26.3%. Working Lebanese women often find themselves trapped in paid employment or working for organisations and NGOs, and are still a long way from reaching their potential in the world of entrepreneurship!”
Obstacles: income inequality & societal norms
Lebanese female entrepreneurs face a number of obstacles, from societal norms, family responsibilities, transport issues and access to finance.
And women in Lebanon are paid 22% less than men for doing the same job.
Progress: the Lebanese League for Women in Business
Since the State does not have the means to remedy the situation, several private and/or public international initiatives have emerged to take up the mantle. Some of these include:
- the E-commerce and SME Project: launched in July 2019, lead by Lebanese women and funded by the World Bank, this project aims to help company directors gain more access to national and export markets via e-commerce platforms
- the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB): an organisation that brings together female professionals with the goal of encouraging business women to take the initiative and achieve success by offering them a platform to share their experiences and challenges, and develop their skills and abilities
- the American University of Beirut (AUB) received a $1.5 million grant from the US governmental programme for the Middle East (Middle East Partnership Initiative, MEPI) to develop an index estimating the economic contribution of women and the challenges they face in MENA zone countries
Want to learn more about the Lebanese market? Get in touch with Nada!
Nada Abdul Rahim (BRU)Attachée économique et commerciale | Liban - Jordanie
+961 1 97 60 08
AMBASSADE DE BELGIQUE
Immeuble Azarieh - block A
Rue Emir Béchir - 10ème étage
Riad El Solh 1107 2290 - Beyrouth