When it comes to supporting female entrepreneurs, there remains a glass ceiling
It is extremely unfortunate that, when it comes to stepping into the export business, our women entrepreneurs face far more obstacles and barriers for doing so.
According to a recent survey conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group and the Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), women spend over three times higher than men to obtain the necessary licenses and certificates for conducting business.
This is an astonishing disparity.
Additionally, women-owned enterprises also face difficulties accessing digitalized services and export related offices in general.
For a country such as Bangladesh, which has made impressive strides in gender parity in the workplace, it is nothing but shameful that when it comes to supporting women-owned enterprises and female entrepreneurs in general, there remains a glass ceiling.
What is particularly disheartening is that the same survey showed women entrepreneurs to use less of the unofficial intermediaries used by their male counterparts and instead opt for the more professional services -- showing that our women look to do business through the correct channels.
However, rather than being rewarded for their approach, they instead face further challenges and barriers to entry, thereby creating an atmosphere where women will be discouraged to further pursue entrepreneurship.
It does not bode well for Bangladesh, a country on the cusp of historical economic achievements, to not create a favourable climate for its female entrepreneurs.
As more and more women decide to take up entrepreneurship, and as women-owned enterprises increase in numbers, it will be up to the authorities concerned to ensure that they are empowered to break through this existing glass ceiling instead of being held back and not realizing their full potential.