Women Exporters Make the Case: Through Exports, Businesswomen in Developing Countries Are Creating a Better Future for Themselves, Their Employees and Their Communities

Article excerpt

Who are the women in international business today, what challenges do businesswomen face in many of the world's lesser developed nations, and how do they rise to those challenges? The business cases in the pages that follow provide snapshots ... and hopefully will spark ideas on how to foster women leaders in export development.

Though they come from different countries--Cameroon, India, Nepal and South Africa--and represent a variety of sectors, these cases have much in common.

First, they show what strong women business leaders can do, in creating a better future for themselves, their employees and their communities through exports. Their experiences as women have shaped their approach to the organizations they founded and manage, and their goals are different. As role models, they illustrate the advantages of women becoming engaged in trade.

Second, in all four cases, export growth goes hand-in-hand with social commitment. For example, Sulo Shrestha-Shah, the head of a Nepalese investment company, underlines that her business is based on principles of corporate social responsibility. Tembeka Nkamba Van Wyk, a handicrafts exporter employing thousands of South African women, says: "If yon work with people from deprived backgrounds, you really need to see yourself not only as a businesswoman, but also as a social entrepreneur."

Third, concerns and approaches are similar. …