“Achieving gender equality is more than 50:50 representation”

…. “It is also about offering women equal opportunities to participate fully in the socio-economic and political development of their individual countries and communities at large,” said Dr Joyce Laboso, Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly in her opening speech at the 2nd EAC conference on the role of Women in Socio-Economic Development and in Business. The conference took place in Nairobi from 20 – 21 August 2015 and was supported by German development cooperation through GIZ, TMEA and ILO.
The theme of the Conference was ‘’Advancing and Expanding the Participation of Business Women in Intra-EAC Trade’’.
The conference provided an opportunity for East African Women in Business to come together to network, explore the opportunities offered by the EAC Single Customs Territory and the Common Market and exchange ideas on ways and means of increasing affordable financing for women-owned businesses.
More than 450 women entrepreneurs from many different sectors of all five EAC Partner States attended the event.
The speaker especially called for more investment in training to equip women, especially those in the informal sector, with skills to increase productivity and also manage their businesses in order to enhance the participation of women in economies of the East African Community Partner States.
The women participating in the conference developed a large number of recommendations, among them the identification of champions for women in business to nurture and mentor especially young women entrepreneurs, increased support to networking among women in business, improved training opportunities to impart better business skills to women and measures to identify highly talented women working in the formal sector to help them move on into the formal sector.