WOMEN FOR THE SOUTH: SUPPORTING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SOUTH ITALY

Introduction

Following the European Commission’s strategy which promotes women’s economic empowerment and women entrepreneurship; the project entitled          Women for the South” aims to contribute to the social and economic developments of South Italy through the promotion and strengthening of women entrepreneurship. Empowering women becomes the key element in the development of southern economy. With women moving forward, the family moves, the village moves and the nation itself moves. Improving women’s status by way of their economic empowerment; creating innovative, productive and effective synergies could be the keystone for fighting the unemployment’s scourge and for boosting the economy of Southern Italian regions.  

Background 

Women entrepreneurship development is an important requirement for initiating the process of economic growth of both developed and developing countries as it is the back bone of any country’s wealth. The impact of the global financial and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation requires new economic and social development policies which give to entrepreneurship and self-employment a central role. Entrepreneurial activities transform the ideas and creativity of aspiring women into business ventures with high potential and growth; moreover women entrepreneurs are used to inspire other women to start new and innovative businesses. Encouraging this type of networking and exchanges, as well as initiatives that help women build confidence in their remarkable abilities lead to more job creation for female counterpart which ultimately helps in reducing the gender gap in the workforce and in pointing out the Gender Equality issue which is at the core of values of the European Union and a matter of human rights which lies at the heart of the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030. 

Current problems

The unemployment issue is one of the principal economic and social challenges for many EU Member States, including Italy. The current situation became even more complicated with the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, especially in South Italy. The southern Italian area figures among the five worst regions in the European Union in 2020 according to Eurostat data. In the year of the pandemic the female employment rate in Europe was 62.4% for women between the ages of 15 and 64 compared to 32.2% in South Italy: Campania dropped to below 28.7%, Calabria 29%, Sicily 29.3% and Puglia 32.8% . Women which were mainly engaged in the trade and services fields with more precarious contracts, have suffered more than men because of the economic crisis.

Proposed solution (and key benefits) 

This project aims to promote women entrepreneurship and to support the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and skills through targeted training courses and mentorship. It is addressed to a target group of women between the ages of 20 and 40 who intend to invest in the southern area of the country and thought also for women with children, who are seeking their own professional fulfillment and who are facing a double difficulty: finding a job and reconciling work and family.

The main objectives of this project are: 

  • To develop the personal qualities and skills which are the basis of an entrepreneurial mindset and behavior;
  • To sensitize participants on the topic of self-employment and entrepreneurship as possible career choices;
  • To create a viable strategy to increase skills for the target group “women-mothers” who wants to combine work and family life by finding appropriate solutions as Home Based Business;
  • To promote linguistic diversity and intercultural awareness of the EU;
  • To provide assistance to participants for the Europe-wide online platforms services as: Wegate, EEN for women and Business angels.

The key benefits of this project are: 

  1. To spur the growth of locally controlled business and create new jobs; 
  2. To promote entrepreneurship by emphasizing the importance of small business as the creator of jobs, leading to prosperity;
  3. To help women gain strong business and life management skills that will enable them to become leaders in their work and personal lives, and become strong role models;
  4. To develop new markets and help mobilize the capital resources needed; 
  5. To enable to potential entrepreneurs to emerge by assisting them in evaluating their training program;

Conclusion

Women entrepreneurship is able to improve the wealth of both an entire nation and a household. Nowadays women are more willing to take up activities that were once considered the preserve of men, and have proved that they are second to no one with respect to contribution to the growth of the economy. This project could help not only to step forward to the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, but it could also provide education to women who belongs to disadvantaged areas in order to enable them to think critically, identify their strengths and take conscious, informed decisions, empower them to play a positive role on their own in the development of the nation.  Women for the South becomes an opportunity for the whole Italian country as economic growth is highly indispensable for any state, it could be substantiated by ensuring participation of women. Female entrepreneurship strategy could be not only the focal point of economic development, but could also play an instrumental and decisive role in building a new way of doing business.

Write by Tiziana Lentini, Phd student in Global Studies and JUMP trainer since 2019. 

 Tiziana Lentini worked as English Language and Literature teacher at the Linguistic High School of Soverato (2019 – 2021). In 2015 she graduated in Languages and Modern Cultures at University of Calabria with a dissertation in English Literature about J.R.R. Tolkien and his monstrous creatures (The Silmarillion, The Lords of the rings and the Hobbit). In 2015 after her Erasmus Exchange (London) she attended the University of Bologna where she graduated in Modern, Comparative and Postcolonial Literatures in 2017 with a dissertation on William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation. In March 2021 she became Phd student in Global Studies at University for foreigners “Dante Alighieri” of Reggio Calabria. She works as English Trainer for JUMP since 2020.

Short profile published on JUMP website https://www.associazionejump.it/tiziana-lentini-jump-team

Photos by:
https://orvietosi.it/2021/03/donne-e-lavoro-landamento-dellimpresa-femminile-in-umbria/

Written by JUMP Team

10 September 2021

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