Can women entrepreneurs become the norm?

Leading the way for inclusive trade through innovation in fashion and textiles: can women entrepreneurs become the norm rather than an exception?

entrepreneurs talking at the WTO conference WTO Public Forum 2016, Session : 67, Time : 9:00-10:30, 

Date : 29 September 2016

The fashion and textiles industry is a global business staffed predominantly by a female labour force, but only a minority of these women have decision-making or managerial power to effect change in the ways that international trade can positively impact lives.

The session aims to bring together multi party stakeholders from the fashion and textiles industry, government and academia and representative case studies from female entrepreneurs working in diverse contexts from Guatemala to Myanmar.  The panel will discuss the current situation and the visibility or lack of women leaders in international trade in fashion and textiles sector, suggest ways and examples of how this could be changed, share insights into new and upcoming research trends and best practises that could change the way business runs today, making way for more inclusive global trade and share perspectives on how to encourage, discuss key policy initiatives that could be tangibly adopted and technology solutions that could enable and empower women to grow their businesses into truly global power houses.


  • Win Ei Khine (Winnie), Executive Director, Maple Trading Co. Ltd, Yangon, Myanmar, also on the executive committee of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA)
  • Dilobar Sanginova, Founder, PO “Women Development Agency”, (WDA) Khujand city, Republic of Tajikistan
  • Rupa Ganguli, Founder and Director, SPINNA Circle, London, UK
  • Dr. Rajesh Bheda, Principal and CEO, RBC ltd. New Delhi, India 
  • Elsbeth Akkerman, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the WTO, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Mirvette Russo, Senior industry sourcing and investment specialist, ex Dewhirst, London, UK
  • Sarah Samuels, Business Operations Manager, Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, Washington DC, USA    
  • Belinda Edmonds Offord, Executive Director, African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), Cape Town, South Africa (Pan Africa) 
  • Arianne Engelberg, Marketing Director, The New Denim Project, Iris Textiles, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Images by WTO

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