In French Polynesia, women now account for 43% of new business start-ups. “And more and more women are winning awards in the various innovation competitions”, points out Agnès Joubert, co-founder and organizer of Tahiti Women's Forum, on the microphone of the TV channel Polynésie La Première. This initiative, which is supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to promote the commitment of these women entrepreneurs to the economic and societal issues facing the Pacific island region.
For this second edition organized in mid-October, the issue of responsible entrepreneurship mobilized discussions under the banner “Responsible Entrepreneurship: Women Commit”. It is a way to send out a reminder that the community of local women business leaders is particularly sensitive to the issue of environmental responsibility in the face of climate change, but also to the question of the circular economy which needs to integrate social and solidarity ambitions.
In addition to the conferences, panel discussions and workshops, coaching sessions were organized for women who are ready to take the plunge and set up a business in this immense region at the crossroads of diverse countries and cultures.
The comparison of views from New Zealand, Australia, New Caledonia and French Polynesia during the two days of the forum, combined with the reality of the Pacific, contributes to highlighting a more refined analysis of women’s leadership.
Speaking “gender” in the Pacific
For all the actors present – women entrepreneurs, associations, local authorities and partners – the Tahiti Women's Forum has, since its first edition in 2017, provided the opportunity for meetings between institutions and local companies involved in the issue of gender equality and responsible entrepreneurship.
Indeed, gaining a better understanding and raising awareness of the commitment of women in the Pacific islands to the economic and societal issues of the region also means changing the mindset of an economic world that is still too often governed by the suit and tie. In the Pacific like elsewhere.
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