Nicosia forum stresses financial literacy and digital inclusion for women

Nicosia forum stresses financial literacy and digital inclusion for women

Experts gathered in Nicosia this week to discuss strategies for enhancing the economic and digital inclusion of women, in a significant event jointly organised by the Union for the Mediterranean and the Office of the Gender Equality Commissioner of Cyprus.

This session, which took place on Thursday, served as a crucial forum for addressing the multi-faceted challenges and opportunities in women’s economic empowerment.

The panel illuminated the persistent stereotypes that thwart young girls and women’s access to education in STEM fields.

Discussions emphasised the gendered segregation in professional sectors and underscored the systemic barriers that women face, which often limit their career advancements and economic opportunities.

There was a strong consensus among the experts on the necessity of expanding employment opportunities for women.

To this end, they proposed the implementation of diverse training programs, both in-person and online.

These programmes are seen as particularly vital for women residing in rural and remote areas, where traditional educational and employment opportunities may be scarce or non-existent.

Micheline Massaad, Executive Director of the National Committee for Women of Lebanon, provided a poignant overview of the dire economic and political situation in her country and its profound impact on women. She highlighted several active initiatives aimed at promoting women’s integration into the workforce and safeguarding their rights amidst these crises.

The panel also tackled the pervasive issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, recognising the urgent need for robust legal frameworks and comprehensive measures to combat and prevent violence and discrimination against women.

In a notable presentation, Amr Soliman of Egypt detailed an innovative financial inclusion initiative, the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs).

This initiative fosters a communal financial support system among women, facilitating savings and loans within a trusted community framework.

He also discussed the Tahwisha app, which empowers women to engage with financial technology to manage their financial activities securely and efficiently.

The importance of financial literacy and the broader theme of digital inclusion were repeatedly stressed, with calls for creating supportive and inclusive ecosystems that foster the economic independence and empowerment of women.

Moreover, the panellists affirmed that the path to women’s economic empowerment is a long-term endeavour that requires sustained support, meticulous planning, and unwavering cooperation from various stakeholders.

The conference also explored these themes further, with additional sessions focusing on entrepreneurship among women, addressing violence against women and girls, and discussing the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on women.

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