Women and Micro Enterprises in the Americas
By Angela Ventura
CanElsa International Group
Tel. (519) 971-7777 .  Fax (519) 971-0567
Email:  canelsa@sympatico.ca
Web site: www.wonline.com/canelsa

Women represent more than half of the Hemisphere's population, but indeed they are the most vulnerable ones.  The ones who suffer the most!

But, it is increasingly accepted today that in many respects women are the most important factors in improving the health and nutrition of their children, and thus, that investments in education, health and nutrition for women have a strong multiplier effect.  Essentially, all programs directed to women work effectively and women are central players in reducing hunger and poverty line.  In the rural areas in the South, for example, an estimated of 45% of the rural population are living below of the property line and, of those 70% are women.  For this reason, in the Western Hemisphere, there is a need to allocate funds to empower women in different activities such as: Micro enterprises.

There must be programs in place that will focus on credit and micro enterprises schemes aiming to provide credit to women.  High repayment rates, successfully development of micro enterprises, increases in income and savings, and not least characterize those programs, the social empower of women.

A major objective of all countries assisting the hungry, must be to promote sustainable improvements in income earnings capacity, so that poor communities can become self-supporting.  In many communities the key to this is the provision of small loans for the purchase productive assets and the support of micro enterprises. Further, programs can be low-cost and sustainable, if they build pragmatically on existing community structures.

There are existing programs and others underway to finance some of the smallest business ever created: women who sell tortillas, tamales, beverages, vegetables, paper bags, flowers, and thousands more! But the most important, is to recognizes that women are the ones who make a great difference in their lives and their families.

Therefore, women and micro enterprises are two issues that must be considered in the Summit of the Americas, due to the importance of poverty elimination in the Hemisphere.


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