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Women Seek Mentors to Help Achieve Economic Goals

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 26 2014 (IPS) - In an effort to leverage the power of partnerships and assist in the creation of an equitable world for women and girls in developing countries, non-profit organizations and UN agencies are turning to mentoring in business. UN Women’s Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment and the Cherie Blair Foundation’s Mentoring Women in Business Programme have agreed on a 12-month initiative that will provide opportunities for women through a range of projects.

The two organisations believe that women need a bit more than just a written check to get ahead.

“The collaboration between UN Women and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is a concrete example of how two partners can bring together complementary expertise and resources to positively impact women in business and employment, especially in developing countries,” Anna Falth, manager of Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment, told IPS.

Announced during the 58th session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the relationship allows women from the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment to build connections with established entrepreneurs at the Mentoring Women in Business Programme.

The partnership will allow women to build their digital literacy and business skills, receive feedback on innovative ideas and connect with experts and peers in various fields of interest.

“Mentorship is critical for women setting up and growing their businesses as well as in their early years of employment. Mentors provide women with the inspiration, confidence, resources, skills and support required to succeed, in particular in male-dominated work cultures,” added Falth.

Falth also believes that when women have mentors, their ability to sustain hardships and persevere through challenges is much higher than women without mentors.

Offering cross-border support to women entrepreneurs, the Mentoring Women in Business Programme combines mentoring with technology matching women entrepreneurs in developing countries and emerging markets with male and female mentors around the globe—a relationship that goes beyond money making skills.

“Mentorship can also provide insights on how to promote equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, and achieve a quality life-work balance, whilst progressing towards leadership positions in their careers,” Falth told IPS.

Launched in September of 2013, the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Empowerment attracted of 40,000 individuals in the first six months from over 180 countries.

What one lacks, the other makes up for; this is the mentality behind the partnerships between UN Women and the Cherie Blair Foundation. UN Women’s large database of women ready to move their lives forward economically can only be enriched by the support and practical tools that the mentors from the Cherie Blair Foundation’s programme offer in a one-on-one session that will hopefully birth both economic and social results.

“This kind of collaboration is vital, and is a testimony to the engagement of all sectors of society to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment,” said Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women.

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