Government intends to promote female entrepreneurship

The announcement that the government intends to promote female entrepreneurship by establishing women's business centres comes as welcome news to some, but others remain sceptical.

Inequality between men and women in the workplace is rife. While it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because of their gender, women who work full-time earn, on average, 17 per cent less than men, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Moreover, there are still employers out there who cling to antiquated attitudes, which mean that women are simply not being hired for certain positions and the number or male entrepreneurs vastly outstrips the number of women in business.

Take Sir Alan Sugar’s comments for example. He recently questioned legislation that says it’s unlawful to ask a prospective employee if they have plans to have children. He believes that such a law is detrimental to women and is quoted as saying: ‘Employers would like to ask, “Are you planning to get married and have any children?”…you’re not allowed to ask, so it’s easy; just don’t employ them.’

It is this kind of attitude that must be changed if equality is really to be achieved. Many are doubtful about how much a government fund can do to help. Tanya Hine, president of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs, recently said that the fund simply serves as a political move on the part of government to reduce the number of women on the unemployment register.

Gayna Hart, managing director of Quicksilva agrees, saying: ‘The £12.5 million fund to encourage women to go into business makes me cringe. It sounds like positive discrimination again. I just want to say: ‘Come on girls, get your act together, you shouldn’t need this.’ I’d rather there was a fund to get young people into entrepreneurship rather than for this “underprivileged and disadvantaged” bunch called women – and £12.5 million isn’t a lot either.’

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Female Entrepreneurs

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