Women to drive post-pandemic change

Women to drive post-pandemic change

Special interview: Global summit says more females will lead in business, politics, writes Apinya Wipatayotin

"Without us (women), there is no recovery," said Irene Natividad, president of the Global Summit of Women.

Women are expected to play a key role in the recovery of the world's coronavirus-hit economy, and they can start doing so at home in Thailand.

This is because women have the power to drive economic growth, according to Irene Natividad, president of the Global Summit of Women, especially in the world of business.

Speaking with the Bangkok Post, Ms Natividad said the pandemic has severely impacted women's lives when 45 million jobs held by women disappeared due to the economic impacts of the lockdowns imposed by governments.

A Facebook survey found that 20% of small businesses owned by women disappeared amid the pandemic, she said, noting that it was a stunning revelation because those small businesses contributed to the global economy. But now women have the chance to contribute to the recovery of the global economy, she said.

Ms Natividad said they have a key role in economic development, adding that according to statistics, women represent about half of the global workforce, 30% of small business owners and 80% of consumers.

"The pandemic has massively impacted women's economic life," she said. "We can't go back to what had happened in the past. The world has changed dramatically."

"We are creating a new reality that echoes our belief that women, as components of the economy, will emerge after the pandemic," she added. "Without us, there is no recovery."

However, she said women's economic influence is not enough amid conflicts and war in the world and the catastrophe of climate change, stressing that women should be at the decision-making table covering the government, economic and political sectors.

During current conflicts, one man could destroy an entire nation in a power grab, she said.

So, women should have a chance to lead because the world needs more women for peace negotiations and other important events, she said.

Ms Natividad said that women in Thailand play leading roles in economics, adding that women are executives of leading hotels, luxury malls and banks.

All of them are part of the country's display of women in power, she said.

However, it is not enough, she said, adding that women should expand their power to the political level because making laws involves people from all walks of life.

It is important to have women leaders in the government, she said.

"I have faith in women -- they are so amazing as I have worked with them for over 30 years," Ms Natividad said. "They make strong efforts and actions in tackling barriers, and they have done a great job."

"Unfortunately, only 5% of CEOs today are women, but there is still lots of room for us [to grow]," she said.

For more equality, she said women should be equipped with knowledge in technology, including blockchain-based financial instruments, virtual reality platforms, and digitalisation and automation.

The power of women will be highlighted during the upcoming Global Summit of Women from June 23–25 at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, the first onsite meeting since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thailand was previously scheduled to host the event in 2020, but it was postponed to this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theme of the event is "Woman: Creating Opportunities in the New Realities".

Thousands of participants from the private and public sectors from around the world are expected to attend, including officials from South Africa, Vietnam, France and Mexico, who are expected to share their experiences and empower women's roles amid an increase in the use of new financial platforms.

Successful, young entrepreneurs are also expected to attend the three-day event, sharing their experiences. Over 200 students are invited to observe the meeting to inspire the younger generation to do business in the future.

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