App Happiness for Womenablers

Are you a womenabling data junkie like we are? Well, get ready to enter womenabling data nirvana – there are now some wonderful women’s entrepreneurship reports available for smartphone and iPad, as well as (bestill my beating heart) data-finding apps for the smartphone. Here’s a roundup:

  • The US Census Bureau has just launched America’s Economy, a smartphone app that will allow quick (well, not so quick – it loads slowly) access to the latest business stats. No women-specific stats yet, but the recently improved American FactFinder provides very ready access to the 2007 economic census data,
  • The World Bank recently launched a new Data Finder smartphone app, containing a wealth of development statistics by country and by topic – including gender,
  • The World Bank’s seminal 2012 World Development Report, Gender Equality and Development, is available as an e-publication for iPad, and
  • a lush, photo-rich e-publication app, Women of the World – from Olivier Martel, Fotopedia and the World Bank – is also available and well worth downloading from the iTunes store.

Click on and get app happy!

Empowering Women by Empowering Trade

Accessing new markets is an important avenue to greater growth for businesses, and a more laser-like focus on issues of spurring growth among women-owned enterprises is the next stage of the women’s enterprise movement. So says Womenable President & CEO Julie Weeks in an article in the most recent issue of the International Trade Centre’s International Trade Forum. Download and read the entire issue, Empowering Women, Empowering Trade at this link.

The ITC is helping fuel this next stage for women’s enterprise development in two exciting ways:

  1. By spearheading a Women Vendors Exposition and Forum, which provides an opportunity for trade-focused women business owners to meet potential international buyers. The second annual Expo is coming up on November 6-7 in Mexico City. Find out more at this link; and
  2. By launching a new program in Africa to help improve access to international markets for women business owners there. The ACCESS! Export Development Programme aims at assisting over 2,500 women entrepreneurs. Click here to read a fact sheet about the program.

Is Separate Ever Equal?

I’ve found myself pondering this question, as school sessions get underway. Earlier this year, I visited Kosovo and Macedonia, speaking on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship (naturally) to a number of audiences – including a high school class in Tetovo, a town not too far from Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje. It was a fantastic experience, and I was delighted to engage in a lively dialogue with the students, male and female alike.

While there, though, I learned that the school classes are segregated within the same building, with the classes being taught in Macedonian (with a largely Eastern Orthodox Christian population) held at different times of the day or on different days than those taught in Albanian (for a largely Muslim population). It reminded me of another trip not too long ago to Belfast in Northern Ireland, where – although “the troubles” have largely quieted down – Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods are still separated by cement block walls and students still go to separate primary and secondary schools. This was actually even the case for me in my Arlington, Virginia elementary school neighborhood in the early 1960’s, where a wall separated white and black neighborhoods and schools were not integrated until my third grade class, after the implementation of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision abolished the “separate but equal” segregation practices of the past.

While language and cultural preservation is an important concern, if children are taught separately in that manner from a young age, how are we ever going to get along? Further, while some tout the value of separate classes or even schools for girls (where some studies show that they may learn better and be better prepared to take on leadership positions after graduation), others decry that position and say that separate education, even by gender, perpetuates existing societal divisions (see an excellent article from a few years ago by Wendy Kaminer in The Atlantic on this point).

We do all have to get along in a multi-cultural world, with different points of view and varied life experiences. The more we understand each others’ points of view, the better off we will all be, and that education and exposure to diversity should start in primary school. What do you think – is separate ever equal?