Women are instrumental in effecting social change and bringing about improvements to political and social landscapes. Research has shown that educating women empowers them to make meaningful, positive changes to communities, societies and political institutions.
Women in politics
In many areas around the world, women continue to be underrepresented as voters and do not participate equally in democratic governance. There is a close, well-documented association between educational attainment and political participation. Increasing the levels of educational attainment for women increases their participation as voters and encourages their participation as political candidates.
A cross-country study of the influence of women in politics on decision making found that increasing the share of female legislators by one percentage point increases the ratio of educational expenditures to GDP by 0.028 percentage points. A study of women in leadership in India found that increasing the amount of women in leadership positions decreased the levels of corruption.
A democracy cannot truly deliver for all of its citizens if half its population is underrepresented in the political arena. Educating women ensures a democracy that better represents its entire people.
Whilst the gender gap in commercial entrepreneurship is significant, this gap diminishes when it comes to social entrepreneurship. To date, successful female-led social entrepreneurship has appreciably impacted areas such as health, education, access to finance and capital in different areas around the world. Significant research has shown that women who do pursue entrepreneurial ventures are more likely than men to pursue a social mission, and to use social enterprise to meet local community needs.
Research in the UK has shown that whilst women lead 38% of social enterprises, women only run 19% of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). In Mexico, women represent the largest number of entrepreneurs but very few of the ventures grow beyond the micro-enterprise stage.
Investing in women’s education, and specifically entrepreneurial education, empowers women and is an essential tool in achieving fairer, more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.