H.E. Ms. Catherine Fautrier, Ambassador of Monaco to Spain and Representative of Monaco to the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), took part in the "Women Business Forum" held by the UfM.
This meeting took place on 6 and 7 July via videoconferencing and focused on digitisation as a major tool for empowering women and for their access to the labour market, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The session was opened by H.E. Ms. Marisa Farrugia, Deputy Secretary General of the Social and Civil Affairs Division of the UfM. It brought together female entrepreneurs, policy makers, investment companies and chambers of commerce.
Various organisations such as UN Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) were also present.
The round tables addressed the root causes of the digital gender divide in the North Africa and Middle East region. These causes are linked to the cost of equipment; access to the Internet; conditional access to the Internet for women (permission from a patriarchal authority is often required); and fear of harassment on social networks.
Today, only 20% of women in the region use new technologies and the Internet. To remedy this, education and digital literacy programmes must be developed and should be specifically targeted at businesses managed by women.
UNIDO stressed the importance of the partnership with the UfM in this key area.
In this respect, the commitment of the Prince's Government to developing women's entrepreneurship via new technologies in the North African region was recalled.
As such, in 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation signed an agreement with UNIDO and the UfM to promote the empowerment of women through inclusive, sustainable industrial development in Tunisia. The aim of this four-year agreement is to encourage the development of women's micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, in order to create more business and employment opportunities for women.
To better illustrate this partnership, UNIDO showed a film featuring three beneficiaries of the joint MONACO/UfM/UNIDO project.