"Women create a more inclusive society"

"Women create a more inclusive society"
By Isabel Marques da Silva
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Conference in Portugal fosters female entrepreneurship


According to a recent study of the World Bank countries are losing 160 trillion dollars in wealth due to earnings gaps between women and men.

Fostering feminine entrepreneurship can help counteract that.

The coworking and cultural center Village Underground Lisbon opened its doors in 2014, just when Portugal was finishing an international bailout.

Euronews went to meet the challenges faced by its manager, Mariana Duarte Silva, during the 4th Women4Mediterranean Conference, in Lisbon.

"I never quitted and the Portuguese economy started recovering litle by little. There was a turning point, which was a political decision by the Lisbon Municipality to create a department to encourage a new economy, new types of businesses. I think that the most important is to be focused and to try not to pay attention to the voices in the masculine environment around us. Nevertheless; in that masculine environment, many men were important to develop my career."

The conference was organized by the Union for the Mediterranean: 43 member states from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, cooperating for sustainable development.

One year after the Cairo Declaration to fight gender inequality, the Union for the Mediterranean took stock of the situation and invited inspiring voices. One of the many priorities is to fight violence against women. A topic that got more spotlight after the MeToo movement and this year's winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

We meet Jordanian Lina Khalifeh, professional sportswoman in martial arts.

In 2012, she founded "SheFighter", a self-defence studio that has already trained more than 15 thousand women from all over the world.

She wants to keep expanding.

"It is all about the connection between mind, body and soul and how to get that balance and how to know that you can satisfy yourself internally without having to apply that training on others - because you know that you are powerful enough, you do not need someone else from outside to tell you that you are weak or that you have a problem with self-confidence."

The Conference decided to create a follow-up mechanism of the measures that were being adopted in the Union for the Mediterranean, with common indicators in order to have precise data about the progress in the region.

Here is the head of the UFM social affairs unit, Laurence Païs:

"If the women's share in the labour market was equal to that of the men, there would be a rise of 25 percent of internet start-ups in the Mediterranean region. This is not only a lot of money, but it is also important for creating a fairer, more inclusive and open society."

Journalist • Stefan Grobe

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