Women must play a great role in the economy

6 April 2016
ITC News
ITC head calls on Australia and Pacific countries to do more to include women in the economy at the Lowy Institute

Leaving half the team off the pitch won’t make for a winning team. That was the message at a lecture by ITC Executive Director Arancha González at a lecture on women’s economic empowerment at the Lowy Institute, Australia’s leading economics think-tank.

‘Women’s full participation in the economy is held back in far too many places by discriminatory laws. In 18 countries the law gives husbands the right to prohibit their wives from working outside the home,’ Ms González told the packed auditorium. She said that preventing women from fully participating in the economy was like playing a football match with only half your team.

‘Women entrepreneurs in emerging markets are stifled by inadequate and unequal access to banking services and capital – a gap estimated to total between US$ 260 billion and US$ 320 billion per year. Some budding entrepreneurs here in Sydney might feel the same way: in the global tech sector, only a small fraction of venture capital goes to start-ups led by women.’

During her speech, Ms. González pointed to a shifting global trade landscape, but stressed that more most be done to include women in the economy.

She said: ‘Over the past three decades we have seen the world economy transformed by the emergence of billion-strong China and India as full economic actors. The large number of women currently on the margins of the global economy are like a third billion, poised to transform their own prospects – and ours, too.’

Ms González called on the audience, many of whom belonged to Sydney’s financial and business community, to join the ITC SheTrades initiative that aims to connect one million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020.

‘Last year, IT launched a web and mobile app for women entrepreneurs. The app, called SheTrades, lets women-owned businesses showcase their goods and services to prospective buyers,’ she said.

‘Not entirely in jest, the head of our women and trade programme calls it tinder for businesses. You can download the app from the Google Play store, or check it out at’

Read Arancha González’s speech in full here.

Learn more about SheTrades and register on the SheTrades app.