Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

#ChooseToChallenge. A catchy tagline, but what does it actually mean? Last weekend, I got first hand evidence. In yet another Zoom social with friends, I asked a toddler on the call “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and rather confidently, she answered with: “an astronaut”. 

This year’s call to action for International Women’s Day is all about this. The power of becoming alert. By slowly changing who we see in the media, the toys our children play with, and other small aspects of everyday lives, we are challenging the status quo. Little by little we are breaking down those unconscious biases that start with our children drawing girls as nurses and boys as astronauts.

The ideas from the trade world of harnessing gender equality wins, being alert to situations where no gender-dimension is perceived, and celebrating our female role models and pipeline, are just small steps to addressing a gender equal world. Choosing to challenge requires all of our innovative might, thinking to the stars and beyond. Those aspiring toddler astronauts are watching.

Read Marilyn’s article here →.


Regardless of whatever room you enter, you belong, and you have a voice. I urge young women to support each other and help pave the way for more to follow. 

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre

What can women entrepreneurs do themselves to prepare their businesses better to obtain the financing they need?

This can be summarized in 3 strategic steps in order to help women ensure the success of their business:

First of all, better branding and marketing: Create an impactful story around the product or service you’re offering, and boost brand recognition to raise awareness amongst potential investors and financiers. Women entrepreneurs are also encouraged to be proactive and seek out opportunities and learn about financiers that are funding women-owned businesses, businesses with a strong track record of employing women, or companies that improve the lives of women and girls with their products and services.

Secondly, getting the business offer to be the best it can be: Throughout the business cycle, ITC tries to help businesses to be as prepared as possible, factoring in the product, scale, quality, business management, business plan and more. So women-owned businesses can ensure they are investment-ready by systematically reviewing their business model, their strategy and their team, before crafting a validated growth and investment plan. And this brings me to my next suggestion…

Thirdly, plug into networks and pursue training opportunities that are available: Investment readiness bootcamps, hubs, training and access to networks can not only prime you for investments but can connect you to investors. For example, programmes such as ITC’s SheTrades Invest, which provides technical assistance to improve the investment readiness of women-owned businesses through capacity-building activities, performs due diligence and builds a pipeline of women-owned companies that are credible and robust to de-risk potential capital for our network of 30 impact investors. ITC is also offering an extensive line-up of webinars and training opportunities in the lead-up to SheTrades Global Dubai, which is going to be held in October 2021.

Read the full interview here:

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About the Author

Trade Finance Global (TFG) assists companies with raising debt finance. While we can access many traditional forms of finance, we specialise in alternative finance and complex funding solutions related to international trade. We help companies to raise finance in ways that is sometimes out of reach for mainstream lenders.

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