Bangladesh has been experiencing tremendous evolution in the overall business and entrepreneurial ecosystem. But even today, the participation of women in international trade as exporters is significantly lower compared to men. This situation is evident in many of the developing and least developing countries.
To combat this issue, Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) Canada launched a 5-year project named ‘Women In Trade for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth (WITISG)’ in 24 developing and least developed countries, Bangladesh is one of these countries. SME Foundation is the lead implementing partner and LightCastle Partners is the local coordinator for ensuring the successful execution of this project in Bangladesh.
The project will focus on the following areas to reduce the barriers women face in international trade-increase market knowledge, skills, network and resources to access global trade. The aim of this project is to address the challenges that women entrepreneurs owning SMEs face in international trade due to under-representation by Trade Support Institutions (TSIs) by taking a holistic approach.
To help equip women entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed for the successful administration of international trade, TFO Canada has designed various activities that are to be executed over the course of 5 years.
The project started with local market research to study selected sectors in Bangladesh to identify gender, environment, climate change and human rights issues in those sectors.
A Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) training was conducted for Senior management of and Board Members of SME Foundation, Banglacraft, WEND WEO,CWCCI, WEA, City Bank, and FHL Corporation. The training session discussed various gender stereotypes that women face in the workplace and while conducting businesses. After attending the training, the representatives of the participating organizations were asked to formulate a Gender Action Plan for their respective organizations to ensure equity for women.
The project is ongoing and TFO Canada, SME Foundation and LightCastle Partners will carry them on according to the project timeline. The objective of the project is to ensure the economic well-being of the country by enabling women entrepreneurs to participate in the business field. The project is planned to end by June, 2024.