Why do women struggle to find success in business?

The topic of women entrepreneurs was discussed at The Jerusalem Post's Global Investment Forum 2022 in Morocco.

 The participants in the Three Powerful Women Entrepreneurs panel at The Jerusalem Post's Global Investment Forum 2022 in Morocco. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The participants in the Three Powerful Women Entrepreneurs panel at The Jerusalem Post's Global Investment Forum 2022 in Morocco.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Despite having disproportionally high representation in academia, women in Israel still struggle with advancing their careers in business and science, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor and UAE-Israel Business Council founder Fleur Hassan-Nahoum explained.

This was said at a panel at the Global Investment Forum 2022, hosted by The Jerusalem Post in Morocco. The panel, titled "Three Powerful Women Entrepreneurs," was moderated by Maayan Hoffman and featured Hassan-Nahoum as well as Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Morocco president Leila Doukkali and Business Gate founder and president and Royal House of Sheba Crown Senator Laila Rahhal El Atfani.

The situation for women CEOs and start-up leaders in Israel is poor, Hassan-Nahoum explained. 

Hassan-Nahoum addressed the issue women in Israel have with finding business success.

 FLEUR HASSAN-NAHOUM: She came to Israel as a young adult, with no Hebrew. (credit: FLEUR HASSAN-NAHOUM) FLEUR HASSAN-NAHOUM: She came to Israel as a young adult, with no Hebrew. (credit: FLEUR HASSAN-NAHOUM)

Why do women entrepreneurs have trouble finding business success?

"Women entrepreneurs in Israel start off at the same level as men, and then there's a dip," Hassan-Nahoum explained. "The government of Israel is not invested in trying to close this gap." Rather, she said, "civil society is invested... to try and see what skills, what connections what networks women need to close those gaps."

In Morocco, the situation is even worse.

"The Moroccan government is working with civil society to try and find solutions" for low rates of women entrepreneurs in the country, Doukkali said. "Otherwise our country won't achieve its economic goals without the [role] of women in the economy."

One other issue for women is that many of them attempt to start careers in business and study at universities, but they end up having to quit after they get married and start raising a family.

Doukkali pointed to this as being part of the gender inequality in the distribution of responsibilities for families.

A woman "has no help from her husband or her family, she has to manage everything," she explained, adding that a woman entrepreneur "has two businesses, the family and work."

This is not the case in Israel, where women have always worked, Hassan-Nahoum pointed out, adding that the Jewish state boasts an efficient and effective government-subsidized early childcare system.

Workforce participation isn't a problem in Israel for women, she explained, but quality of work is.

Hassan-Nahoum said that more women than men are going to university, and certain sciences have women being more prominent. Despite this, they are limited by the lack of workforce opportunities or ladders.

"It's a really ridiculous situation where we're overrepresented in academia and underrepresented in senior management."

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum

"It's a really ridiculous situation where we're overrepresented in academia and underrepresented in senior management," Hassan-Nahoum said.

But while there is still considerable work that needs to be done to advance gender equality in the business sector, there are still many achievements to be proud of.

Atfani works with several international business diplomacy collaboration efforts and spoke of how amazed she was by women entrepreneurs in the UAE, Morocco and Jerusalem. For her, business can be used to build bridges, and women entrepreneurs can play a role.

"These women are the future," she said, jokingly adding: "Congratulations, we've empowered women enough, we have to empower men today."