Unleashing the Potential of Women: An Economic Action Plan is Now Available

The Drivers of Growth Action Plan was created to find ways to increase the impact of women on Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy. As the province faces serious fiscal challenges, there is an urgent need to tap into the entrepreneurial drive and leadership talent of women, who make up 51 percent of the population.1 Most of the province’s wealth comes from the natural resources sector, yet it is estimated that women-owned businesses make up less than 1 percent of the natural resources industry supply chains. The Canadian Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth found that “a 20 percent increase in total revenues among majority female-owned enterprises will contribute an additional $2 billion per year to the Canadian economy.” Applying that 20 percent effect to the province’s women-owned businesses can inject millions of dollars into the economy and create jobs. Women are also under-represented in senior management positions and on boards of directors, which can affect the competitiveness of the province’s key sectors. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that having at least 30 percent women in higher-level leadership positions significantly improves the financial performance of organizations.2 However, at the current rate of change, it is expected to take 151 years before men and women are equally represented in management.3 To generate ideas about how to unlock the full potential of women, the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) organized five economic forums across the province in November 2016. Over 250 stakeholders participated in in-depth discussions to identify barriers and discuss ways women can grow the economy. Specifically, participants were asked to table their ideas in two areas: This Action Plan was developed from ideas discussed at the forums; it provides recommendations on what organizations, government, and individuals can do to break down the barriers for women in business and leadership roles. The recommendations contained in the Action Plan are summarized on the next page.

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