The opinion on female entrepreneurs drafted by Madi Sharma (Employers-GR I/United Kingdom) and adopted at the European Economic and Social Committee plenary session from 11 Jul 2012 to 12 Jul 2012 makes the following four key concrete proposals for policy interventions to promote and develop female entrepreneurship in order to support sustainable growth in Europe:
* Create an office of European Women’s Business Ownership within the European Commission and in competent ministries (preferably not gender ministries to provide a distinction between economic activities and gender equality responsibilities) at Member State level, without establishing whole new structures.
* Appoint a Women’s Enterprise Director/Envoy or High Level Representative within the European Commission and Member States’ enterprise ministries, with a cross-departmental role for raising awareness about the economic benefits of encouraging more women to start and grow businesses.
* Collect data and produce annual policy and research updates on women’s enterprise across Europe.
* Enforce current legislation in areas of gender equality. This should include a focus on ensuring that the allocation of resources and funds is analysed by gender.
Besides these specific proposals, the Committee recommends creating an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs based on the following measures:
* include men in debate and communication;
* remove gender stereotyping, particularly in education and career paths;
* promote academic studies which can lead to new business start-ups for women;
* ensure fair access to funding and resources on equal terms; and
* improve social protection for the self-employed.
© European Economic and Social Committee