Many girls and young women are already involved in the development and production of many consumer products and services, stemming from their traditional household roles. However, much of this economic activity occurs in the informal market through very small enterprises, providing benefits only for the immediate household.
According to the International Center for Research on Women 2008, One Woman = One Business, “In many of the least developed and developing countries, 90 percent of all enterprises, including those in the informal sector, are micro and small enterprises (MSEs). Women’s share of these businesses is large, but primarily among micro – rather than small – enterprises and concentrated in activities traditionally dominated by women such as food vending, informal processing and catering, handicrafts, and tailoring. Micro finance loans are too small and group methods of lending do not meet their needs as private entrepreneurs, meaning that improved financing services are essential. Equally important, women need non-financial services – such as market information and access, management and financial training, peer networks and leadership skills – to access greater economic opportunities. Vocational education programmes targeting women often have focused on low-return gender stereotyped crafts and services, frequently saturating local markets, without providing market-responsive entrepreneurship and business management skills training. In a globalising economy, women entrepreneurs and business managers can thrive only if they have access to information, training and business development services that will enable them to succeed in competitive labor markets and fluctuating economic conditions.”
Women's participation in ICT-related employment is stalled at entry-level positions. According to The World Bank publication, Social Development Publication – ICT Applications for Women and Men, “…participation of women in higher-skilled, higher-ranking, and higher-paid positions [computer science and engineering] remains very low, with a progressive decline of the number of women in ICT-related employment at increasing levels of complexity. Many women operate computers, largely for word processing and related office programmes and for data entry. Many fewer are programmers and systems analysts and the participation of women in ICT design and development is generally low. Concentrated in the low or unskilled end of employment, women are not getting the training that the new jobs require.”
Women Win programme partners encourage young women and girls to produce goods and services of higher market value by transforming commodities into value added goods, increasing participants’ knowledge of markets and market access to high value industry sectors.