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Women Leaders

Social entrepreneurship and a stronger economic position of women

A pushback against gender equality is a fact in many countries globally. To combat this – creating a “pushback against the pushback” – the think tank Global Challenge (“Global Utmaning”, in Swedish) and Reach for Change, with support from the Swedish Institute, run the capacity development project Women Leaders. By uncovering structural barriers, giving recommendations, and promoting role models, we support female social entrepreneurs and aim to strengthen the economic position of women.

Economic impact and access to capital

Continuing with status quo practices, it will take over 200 years to close the economic gap between men and women. This applies to participation as well as financial opportunity. Gender equality is not only a matter of women’s rights and freedoms but has a direct macroeconomic impact. With economic and social efforts for gender equality, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) estimates that GDP can increase by up to 10 percent in EU member states.

A major and fundamental problem for women entrepreneurs is the lack of access to capital from investors. In an economy dependent on innovation, it is a great loss not to look at the entire knowledge reserve of both women and men. Functional systems for equal capital allocation create a good environment for new thinking and innovation that is needed to solve the social and climatic challenges the world faces.


Percentage of venture capital allocated to female-founded businesses in Sweden
Panel discussion on social entrepreneurship for a just transition during the 59th UN Commission on Social Development (February 2021).


Social enterprise for gender equality

Social entrepreneurs act as a catalyst for social change. Unlike traditional companies or the public sector, social entrepreneurs by nature have the opportunity to act quickly and in an innovative fashion to meet market needs with social impact. This opportunity for innovation also provides the ability to pay attention to inhibiting power structures and deficient systems, creating a unique role in the construction of equitable and climate-smart economies and societies.

Efforts to ensure that the next generation of women is financially involved and active can in the long-term guarantee gender equality in Sweden and globally. For this reason, we have looked at the structural obstacles female entrepreneurs and potential ways forward.
Announcement of Women Leaders (Reach for Change, October 2020)


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