Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region
The United States provides examples of how coalitions of women business owners have successfully lobbied for fundamental legislative reform. During the 1970s and 1980s, successful lobbying led by the National Association of Women Business Owners led to passage of • The 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act, which prohibited discrimination in hiring based on sex • The 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibited discrimination against loan applicants based on sex of applicant and enabled women to get loans and credit cards in their sole names • The 1988 Women’s Business Ownership Act, which eliminated state laws requiring male cosignatories on loans; required the U.S. Census Bureau to accurately count all women-owned businesses; established women’s business centers; and created the National Women’s Business Council to advise the president, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Congress on the status of women’s enterprise development In recent years, many other initiatives have been launched to partner with the public sector to ensure more women-friendly business policies. In 1994, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act included a target of 5 percent of all federal contracts for women-led business. In 1997, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council was established to help facilitate access to corporate markets for women-owned businesses. Approximately half of all Fortune 500 companies are now committed, as members of the council, to supplier diversity. Despite this progress, full equality for women in business remains elusive, even in the United States. “Several decades after these initiatives began to level the playing field for women in business, we must admit that women at the highest levels of major American corporations are still quite scarce—just 3 percent of Fortune 500 firms are led by a woman. . . . There is more work to be done,” says Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chair of the Carlson Group and 2002–05 chair of the National Women’s Business Council (World Bank 2010).
Opportunities to Learn and Reform: Creating an Enabling Environment for Women-Led Businesses As the discussion in this chapter makes clear, cumbersome start-up regulations can significantly impede and divert the scarce time of women entrepreneurs. If governments want to capitalize on the growth dividend
Published on May 10, 2010
Published on May 10, 2010
The East Asia and Pacific region has made great progress, relative to other regions, with regard to both economic development and, specifica...