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BRICS urged to help empower women economically

Updated: 2013-08-22 20:56
( Xinhua)

JOHANNESBURG - As BRICS is creating more business opportunities among member states and in Africa, the grouping should do more to empower women economically, a prominent South African businesswoman said on Thursday.

In an interview with Xinhua, Businesswomen's Association of South Africa (BWASA) chairperson Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw said it is essential for BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- to involve more women in its wings like the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Think Tanks Council.

"If you look at the whole set-up, the majority is male," Kula- Ameyaw said in reference to the just concluded BRICS Business Council meeting, whose chairpersons from all member states were male. "We need more women to participate in BRICS forums," she said.

The council held its first meeting in Johannesburg from August 19 to 20, bringing together more than 200 business leaders from BRICS countries and 19 African countries to discuss investment opportunities, value-added trade, infrastructure, African industrialization and the BRICS Development Bank.

"BRICS must be open up (to gender). When they are in a boardroom and they are all men, they need to ask themselves where the women are," Kula-Ameyaw said.

"They must have that mind that what it is that can be outsourced from women and women owned businesses," she said, adding "they need to have a culture that accepts that women are part of business too."

Kula-Ameyaw stressed the importance for BRICS to put in place mechanisms to promote women in business, saying support for women in business is an inevitable requirement from grassroots level.

"Women need economic empowerment. We are looking to this empowerment through this BRICS relationship. We can't remain small forever," Kula-Ameyaw said.

Kula-Ameyaw said it should be always remembered that "if we economically empower women we have empowered a nation."

BRICS can help grow women business into vibrant entities that can play a significant role in job creation and poverty alleviation in Africa and BRICS member states, she noted.

Women, who should position themselves for leading roles, can be good partners in doing business, she noted.

As the voice of women in business, BWASA is the largest association of business and professional women in South Africa. Its mission is to provide a platform for the inspiration and empowerment of women.

BWASA plays a key role in highlighting the current status of women in leadership and acts as a lobby group that advocates on women's business issues in an effort to transform the economy.

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