Ulaanbaatar, May 15, 2014 — On Wednesday, May 14, over 60 women representatives from parliament, ministries, the business sector, and civil society convened in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, for a consultative forum on women in business organized by the National Committee on Gender Equality (NCGE) of Mongolia and The Asia Foundation. NCGE Secretary M. Bolormaa opened the meeting and two women MPs, MP Erdenechimeg, head of the Women Caucus in Parliament, and MP Odontuya, spoke about the current challenges women face in Mongolia and about the actions needed to encourage and attract more women to pursue business entrepreneurship. Meloney Lindberg, the Foundation’s country representative in Mongolia, shared findings from a study conducted by The Foundation, the Department of State, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), “Access to Trade and Growth of Women’s SMEs in APEC Developing Economies- Evaluating Business Environments in Malaysia – Philippines – Thailand“, as well as lessons learned from the Foundation’s women’s entrepreneurship projects in Bangladesh and China.
Through a series of panel discussions based on business case studies, young and established women entrepreneurs from different sectors shared their experiences and provided advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs on how to capitalize on their strengths and seize business opportunities to advance their careers. Panelists, consisting of representatives from government and city agencies, commercial banks, and civil society, provided comments on the case studies and also presented their policies and programs in support of women’s economic participation. In the afternoon, participants were divided into three thematic working groups to discuss strategies and identify potential solutions to overcome challenges women face in terms of the legal and regulatory framework, social and cultural norms, and access to finance. During the plenary discussion, participants highlighted the need to network and collaborate to overcome challenges and, as one of the immediate actions, agreed to establish a Facebook group as a platform for further discussion and experience sharing.
The Asia Foundation in Mongolia is committed to its work to improve lives, expand opportunities, and help societies flourish within a dynamic and developing Mongolia and across the region.