Experts Column

The world has been fast-changing, but not always in an equal or inclusive way. The development paradigm is continually changing, but major issues remain. Women's empowerment is the most serious problem confronting the world today. Educating and empowering women has often been shown to be a catalyst for rapid socioeconomic improvement across the world. Women in the Middle East, on the other hand, have the world's lowest rates of labour force participation owing to their varied duties as daughters, mothers, wives, and caregivers to family members young and old.

According to a survey, the Middle East has the highest number of female business owners in the world. Women in the Middle East are more likely than men to pursue entrepreneurship due to a lack of alternative opportunities, rather than a burning desire or the requisite skills. Wage employment is scarce in the Middle East, especially for women, who often have less formal education and may face gender discrimination throughout the recruitment process.

Women in the Middle East have long been marginalised and relegated to lower-level positions in the professional sector as compared to men. They had very limited access to essential resources. Women, on the other hand, play a significant part in rebuilding and revitalising the Middle East's economy. The high cost of living and terrible economic position in various Middle Eastern nations has motivated women to venture outside of their comfort zones and create their enterprises, therefore contributing to the overall economic situation. Many areas require the experience and viewpoints of women. Education, health and wellness, beauty, and fashion are just a few of the global areas that have been transformed and occupied by capable women.

Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East

Despite the fact that the Middle East has the world's highest growth rate of women leadership, women continue to face significant challenges. Women in business confront various challenges on their path to success, ranging from societal to financial. The challenges are as follows:

Scarcity of funding

Many start-up owners are aware of the work required to get funding for their companies, but female entrepreneurs confront a particular set of challenges. One of the most important challenges for women to start a business in the Middle East is a lack of financial backing.

Despite the fact that data demonstrate that women manage their credit better than men, the former have a more difficult time acquiring financing.

Since they are women, they have a tough time raising funds for their initiatives. They are supported, like other marginalised groups, based on prior performance rather than their potential. Entrepreneurs must frequently defend their ideas beyond a reasonable doubt to gain the attention of investors. They also face challenges in breaking through the “old boys network” and convincing investors that "women's ideas" are valuable.

Lack of a supporting network

As an entrepreneur, the importance of having a mentor or adviser cannot be overstated. Growing a business involves continual decision-making, and a mentor can give the experienced advice needed to make wise decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

Finding the required support is yet another challenge for Middle Eastern women entrepreneurs. Because men have dominated most fields, it is significantly easier for aspiring male entrepreneurs to find a male corporate leader in almost any industry. It is tough for a woman to enter into such partnerships.

Male Supremacy

It is difficult to get respect as a woman in a male-dominated sector. As a result of sexism and gender inequality in the corporate sector, women frequently have to battle for equal opportunity in the face of gender discrimination.

Limitation in Self's Potential to Succeed

The vast majority of female entrepreneurs are still ignorant of their own capabilities. Women are frequently more afraid of failure than men, making it difficult for women to start or run their own businesses.

Because it is recognised that some of the perceptions women have about their own potential are founded on cultural, historical, and cultural taboos, a force of Middle Eastern female entrepreneurs who lead with great understanding and self-awareness has evolved.

Social Customs

Due to society's patriarchal tendencies, men are still regarded as the typical profile of a successful entrepreneur. Despite a slew of women's rights in various Middle Eastern countries, as well as a campaign to support women in business, women continue to face cultural hurdles that restrict their entrepreneurial potential.

Women in the Middle East Crowning the Success

In the Middle East, the relevance of women's entrepreneurship for economic progress is becoming more widely recognised. Entrepreneurship has shown to be a critical path to career opportunities and income generation in the majority of developing countries today, eradicating gender disparities. The growing awareness of women in the Middle East over the last two decades has resulted in a higher contribution of women to the region's economic progress. Women are increasingly seen as an essential and crucial component of the labour force in the Middle Eastern economy.

In terms of female entrepreneurs, the Middle East has surpassed the rest of the world and realising their full potential might contribute greatly to the continent's growth and wealth. If the playing field for women's businesses is leveled and they thrive, the Middle Eastern economy will prosper as well. It's just good business to support female businesses.

Every sale, every triumph, every pleasant contact should be celebrated by women. These are the elements that keep women from being disheartened.