Women Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan Take Lead in Business

Women Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan Take Lead in Business

Azerbaijan, Baku, 17 July / Trend / Azerbaijan's transition to the new development stage of economy and progress in many regions of social life led to more intensified activity of women in the business- sphere, increased the number of enterprises, owners of which are the representatives of weak sex.

Since 1996 in Azerbaijan the number of registered enterprises, leaders of which are women, grew from seven to 15 percent. According to the data provided by the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan, the number of women in the country exceeds the number of men almost by one-and-a-half percent, reaching 4.3mln people.

However, despite iridescent statistics, condition of "business woman" in Azerbaijan is far from the world level. In the countries of the West the woman in the business has long ago been received as sufficiently traditional figure. In a number of developed countries, the enterprises, headed by women, ensure nearly 60% of the GDP. For example, in Germany and the USA this level reaches 52%, in Japan - 55% and in Italy - 60%.

Being more democratic in management of enterprise, the women, who prefer consensus approach to the work, spend more time on search and study of various variants to the commitment than man. These qualities have a value in the development of new model of business, which less depends on personality and need joint group work. But, despite attainable successes, there are obstacles for the entrepreneurship activity of women. Weak sex experiences difficulties in obtaining access to the financial resources, systems of business relations and markets both at the stage of formation and expansion of business.

"Undoubtedly, woman in business is more difficult than man," said Tatiana Mikailova, who has been heading Azerbaijani representation of PRP Group since December 2006. Mikailova is one of the founders of Azerbaijan Association on Public Relations (APREA).

First of all, this is caused by the fact that the role of mother and wife was not abolished by anybody even for the leader-woman. "Woman stands before change - professional growth or complete return to family. Any business requires devotion and takes away much time, there are raised such questions as care of child," said Mikailova. In her opinion, this is one of the factors, which stops woman in professional growth not only in Azerbaijan.

Business is a game cruel enough. Women often try even harder to achieve a business target as men. But there are doubts from the history whether women can stand on the same professional level with men.

"Everyone is well aware of the jokes about the women's logic. Sometimes you have to prove your vast intelligence to the management, partners, and clients and even to subordinates. I have happened to meet with men refusing to work under woman's supervision just because that woman should not be superior to a man," director general of PRP Group said.

According to Mikhailova, of course, many depend directly on woman and her ability to show its skills and expertise. "The women can not afford to relax for a second, which often accounts for a success in business and being in the center of attention they do not ignore any detail," she said.

The situation of the women entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan is better as compared to Near East and North Africa. However, the principles of shariat say that the women are vested large economic rights, other laws fix their gender role, for instance, precepting them to consider men their key bread-winners. It results in the extremely restrictive laws and interpretation of these laws from the viewpoint of gender differences.

For instance, the Labor Code prohibits women to work in certain hours a day or it says that women can work only at the permission of their husband. The Labor Codes in Yemen, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon and Iran prohibit women to work at evenings and at nights. The women are required to get special legal permission from their husband to go on holiday abroad or to get passport in many countries. 

Today it is high time to demand governments to support woman entrepreneurs more actively in many spheres. It first of all includes the access of women entrepreneurs to financial resources, government orders, intermediate and raw materials, market information and at last, advanced technologies. This support is necessary not only for gender balance which has become asymmetric for the last decade, but also for rise in the technical level and competitive capacity of the companies led by the women.

Leyla Abdullayeva, expert of Analytical Center of Trend

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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