Jakarta (ANTARA) – Studies have shown that empowering women can increase the capacity of the economy by around 20-25 percent, said Bank Indonesia (BI) Deputy Governor Juda Agung.
Thus, empowering women can accelerate a country’s economic growth.
“Not only in economic growth, but the empowerment of women is also a multiplier in reducing poverty, increasing food security, improving nutrition and improving the governance of a country,” he said at the 1st International Conference on Women’s Empowerment and Sharia, which was watched online from here on Thursday.
Women have a dominant role in the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector, he noted. Of the 65.5 million MSMEs in Indonesia, around 65% are owned by women. The majority of women-owned MSMEs run food and clothing businesses.
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Various surveys have also indicated that female-owned MSMEs have shown more resilience than male-owned MSMEs during the pandemic. For example, the number of female-owned MSMEs that closed their businesses during the pandemic has been lower than that of male-owned MSMEs.
Nevertheless, he said that women-owned MSMEs still face many challenges and barriers in terms of capacity, production, institutions, support ecosystem, as well as finance or capital.
For example, in the area of production, MSMEs still face obstacles in terms of quality standardization and continuity of production. Meanwhile, to encourage MSMEs to grow, aspects of quality and continuity must be taken into account. Then, in the financing aspect, only 22% of MSMEs have access to sources of financing, including banks.
“Therefore, this is one of the factors where policy intervention, both from BI and various relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs as well as the Ministry of Finance, is very crucial,” he remarked.
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