Thirty scholars, experts, and practitioners travelled from across Europe to attend the first European Roundtable of the Persian-speaking and Persianate-societies Gender Network (PGN), held at Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen, the Netherlands. Jointly hosted by the Tunis-based Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR), The World Bank, and International Department of Nyenrode Business University, the Roundtable explored the power and potential of female entrepreneurship and leadership.
PGN focuses on women’s economic empowerment in the three Persian-speaking countries—Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Its mission is to establish a link and be a focal point among practitioners, researchers, academicians, civil society, policy makers, and advocates in these fields, so that they can capitalize on their collective knowledge and synergize each other’s work and efforts. The Network was established with funding from the World Bank in 2004 and is administered by CAWTAR.
The purpose of the June Roundtable at Nyenrode was to develop the Network in Europe. PGN previously held two similar events at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (Cambridge, USA), which identified issues related to women’s employment, self-employment, and entrepreneurship as priority areas for PGN’s work program.
The Nyenrode Roundtable addressed the economic potential and challenges of women in the three PGN countries and drew on the research and experience of representatives from the expatriate communities and their European counterparts. Participants acknowledged the diversity of the three countries but also highlighted their common features that are relevant to women’s status and opportunities. They pointed to the impact of education and skill-building on women’s economic empowerment, particularly through employment and entrepreneurship. They discussed the possible economic vulnerabilities of women in PGN countries and identified emerging sectors that provide women with new economic opportunities. Additionally, they highlighted the critical role of the media and communications tools in expanding women’s economic knowledge and awareness, access to networks, and showcasing of successful role models. Lastly, the event emphasized the importance of across borders collaboration.
Conference Agenda - The Sky is NOT the Limit-Agenda
Conference Report - PGN Report June 2010
Conference Participant - PGN Roundtable Participants
Progress and Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa Region - Nyenrode gender overview september 2009