The Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Policy (Global WEP) network is a group of international research scholars committed to enhancing women’s economic empowerment by informing the development of more inclusive entrepreneurship policies.
Established in Stockholm in 2014 by Colette Henry following a call for expressions of interest at the DIANA international Research Conference, the network aims to:
From an initial membership of 13 countries, Global WEP has grown to include over 40 research scholars from 35 countries across Europe, North and South America, Australasia, the Middle East and Africa.
Global WEP researchers critique entrepreneurship policy by applying a gender lens, highlighting embedded inequalities and offering recommendations to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in their respective countries.
The group also maps and critically compares entrepreneurship policies from around the globe, identifying good practice examples of effective policy supports. Network members use their data to inform local policy making, working closely with their local enterprise and social welfare agencies by way of knowledge exchange and sharing of information.
The Global WEP approach is innovative on several levels. Firstly, in terms of focus and commitment, Global WEP’s network members focus on women’s entrepreneurship policy, and are committed to using their research skills to promote equality in entrepreneurship policy development and operationalisation. Members are experienced academic researchers with a thorough understanding of the gendered entrepreneurial landscape; they also have well established research and practice networks.
Secondly, in terms of geographical reach, Global WEP scholars are committed to developing a global entrepreneurship policy agenda, and hence members are drawn from across the globe, with both developed and under-developed economies represented. Global WEP’s membership has more than doubled in size since its establishment in 2014, and we are currently working on making new connections in South East Asia.
Thirdly, in terms of stakeholder collaboration, Global WEP researchers seek to make a difference, and hence liaise closely with relevant actors and decision makers in their respective countries’ entrepreneurial ecosystem so that their research findings, expertise, shared knowledge and recommendations can be put into action. In addition, Global WEP collaborates with several international organisations - such as the:
All of which are organisations/initiatives that can not only learn from and disseminate Global WEP’s findings, but that can also help put them into action by incorporating them into their own initiatives to effect real impact.
Fourthly, in terms of its research methodology, Global WEP research teams adopt a unique ‘common reading-guide’ approach to critique the potential nuanced gender biases in existing policy documents and practices in their respective countries. Each country research team uses the same reading guide, allowing for consistency and comparability of the data collected.
Finally, in terms of developing an inclusive community of practice, Global WEP research teams collaborate with each other to exchange knowledge and experiences, share opportunities of interest - whether these are in academia or consulting - and publish their research findings. To date, Global WEP’s work has been presented at international conferences and published in leading journals, including:
An international collection of policy briefs is currently in preparation with the OECD. Global WEP’s findings have also been included as chapter contributions in a number of books, as well as journal special issues led by Global WEP.
The link between academic research and practice has always been a critical one, yet the majority of published research is not written in a ‘useable way – a way that practitioners or those who can make a difference actually understand.
This is frequently the case with policy-related research: from an academic’s perspective, research findings need to be written in a scholarly manner and published in traditional academic outlets, but from a policy-maker’s perspective, findings also need to be ‘translated’ in order to be fully understood, operationalised and impactful.
By working closely with local policy and development agencies on the ground, and publishing their findings as policy briefs and reports with organisations such as WEI and the OECD, the Global WEP network ‘translates’ their research findings and extends these into meaningful recommendations that have the potential to make a difference. In this regard, Global WEP addresses an important unmet need.
By conducting research into entrepreneurship policy from a gender perspective, liaising with local agencies on the ground, publishing its findings, presenting at international conferences, and connecting with other organisations and initiatives committed to women’s economic empowerment around the globe, Global WEP has been able to build more meaningful approaches to impact.
For example, the fora in which Global WEP members disseminate their research findings (i.e. ISBE, WEI, OECD, T20 Summit), are chosen because they include policy makers and high-level government officials who can make a difference and mobilise research findings into action, thus ensuring impact. Given the extensive geographical reach of the Global WEP network, this impact is truly global.
Global WEP’s current membership includes: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, UK, USA.