Women, Work, And The Arab World

739 words - 3 pages

Financial barriers

Since 2011, the MENA region has undergone extreme political turmoil, which has translated into weak and stagnant economic development. At a time when the region’s economy is struggling to stay afloat, women’s entrance into the workforce is crucial. Unfortunately, by nature of the economy, businesswomen face major obstacles that prevent them from starting businesses or expanding businesses they already own. Unfortunately, in the Middle East and North Africa, many businesses, particularly female owned SMEs, lack access to investment and financial resources they require to operate and expand.
The most pressing challenge is women’s access to finance as well as the cost of ...view middle of the document...

10 Therefore, although women have access to these micro loans, they continue to have limited access to small and medium size loans. A common challenge for female business owners as well is the short period given to repay loans, especially due to the high interest rate. This challenge deters women from requesting credit in addition to other valuable products and services that could significantly help their business. Approximately 44% of female business owners meet their financial needs through their own personal savings or financial sources of friends and family. Of the surveyed businesswomen considered to be utilizing bank resources, 80% were accessing capital needs with personal savings and 69% with business checking accounts.11These circumstances illustrate that women business owners have little incentive to turn to financial institutions for their capital needs. As a result, they financially provide for their business privately. Lending institutions could significantly gain by prioritizing women business owners and granting them further access to formal finance.
For female business owners working in remote locations, distance and expensive operational costs for banks running in remote areas significantly increases financial costs and in turn hinders potential growth for these women-owned SMEs. Since most banks operate in urban areas throughout the MENA...

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