Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization believes that women in the Middle East are a source of great and often un-tapped potential levers for the individual and collective change that the region sorely needs to overcome current economic and social challenges. In recent decades, Middle Eastern women have made great progress at gaining more equal access to education, but that has not yet translated into more access to employment outside the home. Saeda

According to Bettina Bastian’s March 2015 Middle East Business article Against All Odds: Women Entrepreneurs in the Region, “Middle Eastern and North African countries (MENA) have made some progress in reducing inequalities between men and women during the past decades, especially in the areas of health and education. Another area is entrepreneurship, where the active role of women has been widely recognized in terms of economic growth and development by organization such as OECD, the World Bank, and EU. Also in MENA, women business starters have received increasing attention by policy makers and the larger public. In fact, women entrepreneurship has increased in many countries over the past years. However, women entrepreneurship is still quite a challenge in a region that displays one of the lowest rates of general entrepreneurial activities worldwide. In some counties, like Egypt and Palestine, less than one-fifth of all business founders are females. Women’s businesses in the region are also 60% more likely to remain a single person firm without any employees and women’s expectations regarding future growth of their businesses are consistently lower than those of men too.”

TYO seeks to address this disparity by focusing on identifying, developing, and incubating entrepreneurs throughout Palestine. Since 2011, TYO has prioritized entrepreneurship programs specifically tailored to address the needs of women in the North of Palestine. With the support of the Cherie Blaire Foundation and PalTel Group Foundation, TYO’s women’s economic development programs have provided intensive business development training, coaching, and confidence-building activities for women to develop their own business plans, craft their branding and marketing strategies and materials, and eventually gain access to capitol through small business loans.

TYO’s budding entrepreneurs enter our programs with merely a business idea and leave with increased confidence and self-awareness, an extended network of colleagues and customers throughout the country, and the critical thinking skills required of any small business owner.

We are thrilled to launch our newest program, Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs (APWE), as we continue to support women in Northern Palestine. We are thrilled to train up the next generation of Palestine’s entrepreneurs to help support individual women, their families, and the Palestinian economy.

- Vanessa, TYO Women's Empowerment Program Manager