Jakarta. Gender equality in government policy plays an important role to ensure sustainability for women-owned enterprises amid constraints in starting and growing businesses for women entrepreneurs, according to speakers at Women's Business Forum 2017.
"To us, equality means business," Josephine Satyono, the executive director of Indonesia Global Company Network, a United Nation initiative, said in a statement on Wednesday (22/03).
Josephine made the comment on the sidelines of the Women's Business Forum 2017, an event to raise awareness of women who own or lead businesses.
Suryani S.F. Motik, Indonesian Entrepreneur Organization (HIPPI) chairman, said only one percent of women-owned or women-led companies in Indonesia can become suppliers of basic goods and services due to lack of access into the supply chain market.
"We encourage the development of gender-sensitive policies in companies and in the government, particularly in procurement of good and services," Suryani added.
According to a market research study by International Finance Corporation published last year, women are more affected by constraints related to regulations, access and financing compared to men.
Taxes, according to the report, were a major constraint as there are too many categories and the rules are too complicated.
The report also pointed out that about 43 percent of legitimate small and medium enterprises in Indonesia in 2013 were owned by women. The figure was an estimate based on another survey by the World Bank in 2009.
The survey found that the formal employment rate of women is correlated to the share of women-owned businesses in the sector. In 2009, 42.8 percent of formal small and medium enterprises were owned by women and the formal employment rate of women stood at 46.7 percent.
By 2013, women's formal employment rate had basically stayed the same at 47 percent.
"According to our study, women run half of small enterprises and a third of medium-sized enterprises in Indonesia," Rachel Freeman, IFC Asia advisory manager for financial institution group, said.
"We believe that inclusive sourcing and supplier diversity policies, such as gender-sensitive procurement, will increase opportunities for women-led enterprises to participate in the nations’ economy as well as sustain their businesses," she said.
SheTrades, a global initiative that provides women entrepreneurs with a network to connect to markets through a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations called International Trade Center, is expected to step up to provide more access for women as more of them are being forced to work in less productive sectors due to gender inequalities.
SheTrades will be officially launched in August this year.