OBJECTIVE: Empower women to actively participate in and benefit from the digital economy.
PARTICIPATING MEMBER STATES: (Northern Triangle) El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. (Eastern Caribbean) Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines.
Pressing challenges for women in the region
78% of working women in the region are employed in the most affected sectors of the economy, particularly in the service, tourism, and hospitality sectors, putting them at greater risk of job loss.
Women represent 59% of the informal sector and the majority of low-wage workers in LAC, facing a 19% higher risk than men of losing their jobs due to COVID-19.
The high concentration of women in the informal sector limits their protection by labor laws, access to social bene- fits such as pension, health insurance or paid sick leave, and they are at risk of exclusion from recovery efforts.
In LAC, only 49% of women have a bank account, 11% have a savings account and 10% have access to credit.
Women are 20% less likely than men to have an account at a formal financial institution and 17% less likely to have formally borrowed in the past year.
The unmet financial needs of women’s businesses are estimated to represent the most significant obstacle to their growth and development.
The persistence of the digital gender divide significantly reduces the number of women who can participate in telework and obtain jobs in the new economy.
Key opportunities in the digital economy
The expansion of connectivity, infrastructure, network effects, falling computing and sensor costs, open software architecture, and the deregulation of digital markets are accelerating the adoption and use of digital technologies and enabling the emergence of a whole new generation of investment and business models.
Declining information and communication technology (ICT) prices encourage investment and adoption of digital technologies in emerging economies, providing their firms with cutting- edge services at competitive prices. All of this enable firms to participate in global value chains and directly access customers in foreign markets in ways previously only feasible for large and established companies from advanced economies.
Local capacity to support women-led MSMEs and entrepreneurs in their efforts to digitize, build their online presence, access financial services, benefit from the digital economy, and access international markets built.
International online clearinghouse for women in the digital economy created.
“How to” formalization toolkits developed, published, and disseminated including online within the MSME Clearing- house.
Good practices for increasing business formalization and women’s participation in the economy shared.
HUB for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Productive Transformation for the Northern Triangle & the Eastern Caribbean (OECS) established.
Capacity building initiatives focused on women decision-makers in business and diaspora resources to support productive investments and entrepreneurship shared.
Access to financial products, knowledge, tools and techniques for women and women-led MSMEs promoted.
The internationalisation of women- led MSMES by creating connections to the diaspora market.