One Woman = One Business: Why Business and Management Education for Women Is Essential to Economic Development

Published: January 2008

This document presents information about how accessible, quality business and management training is essential for women entrepreneurs to develop and lead their businesses beyond MSE levels, and for women to take on managerial responsibilities in larger enterprises. Many women need this support to gain the confidence, freedom and opportunities to try new ways of doing business - and targeted business and management training programs may be the most effective way for women in developing countries to build these skills.

Key Findings

  • Women are essential agents of economic development. In a globalizing economy, women entrepreneurs and business managers can thrive only if they have access to information, training and business development services that will enable them to succeed in competitive labor markets and fluctuating economic conditions.
  • Women who obtain secondary and higher education are more likely to advance economically and to be effective agents of change within their communities and countries.
  • To fulfill this potential, women entrepreneurs and managers need specific investments in developing their business skills. They need these skills to transform from owners of struggling micro and small enterprises to owners and managers of growing and dynamic ones responsive to expanding opportunities in the global marketplace.
  • Governments and other development actors are providing such training, but much more needs to be done both to expand access and to improve quality.
  • Higher education business and managerial training programs for women are often under-resourced and of inconsistent quality, relevance and accessibility as they compete with many other deserving priorities in low-income countries.
  • Private sector donors have a huge opportunity to fill this gap and enable women to capture the many individual, social and developmental benefits that come with business and management training.

Populations Women

Publishers International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)