There is financial and social gain in building up women entrepreneurs in Kenya. Besides, it makes sense to “utilize half the talent in the country. ”
In 2013, Bill Gates was invited to address a forum in Saudi Arabia. He plainly told them that if they didn’t utilize half the talent in the country then there goals would not be met. This holds true to Kenya as well. We need women entrepreneurs. We need to empower women to start and operate businesses.
Women entrepreneurs face the typical challenges of running a business in Kenya. These include access to finance among others. They also face other challenges unique to them. Almost all of these are based off social norms.
Yet women can infact be conditioned to challenge these inhibiting norms and go against them. What should be noted is that the idea of women trailing men is unfounded in today’s world. In actuality, women could be at a greater advantage to succeed in the prevailing times. The sole advantage men had over women was physicality but its importance has been reduced primarily to sports.
The gains of women engaging in entrepreneurship cannot be understated. First and foremost they are able to gain financial independence. Why is this far more important for women? A Pan-African Study conducted, by two Canadian sociologists, in 2013 revealed that 6 out of 10 Kenyan women will be single mothers by age 45. This shows the importance of women being able to afford raising children in this context. This is an important element in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Women entrepreneurs are not only just empowered financially but also socially. A 2015 report by the International Labour Office (ILO) revealed that Women entrepreneurs in Kenya place high importance on the social impact of their businesses. This could be derived from the multiple responsibilities placed on women as they are tagged with a “motherhood” trait.
This is especially true in low-income areas where women rely on chamas for funding. This inadvertently creates a social bonding and strengthens the social fabric of society. The ILO report stated that these women-run businesses are not “very cutthroat” and are “supportive of what is important to society.”
Entrepreneurship creates jobs and subsequently improves the purchasing power in a country. This alone is enough reason to support giving start-ups prominence. Supporting women empowerment in this aspect is logical because it’s a necessity to have half the nation standing on its feet as well.