In September 2020, Vanessa Erogbogbo, Chief of the Sustainable and Inclusive Values Chains Section at the International Trade Center (ITC), spoke with Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Center for Pluralism, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

She explored the effects of the pandemic in emerging economies, particularly on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which are predominantly run by self-employed women.  

These types of business have been hard-hit by the pandemic, which has exacerbated gender inequalities in the economy.

She discussed how governments and the private sector have a role to play to provide women entrepreneurs with access to the digital economy, to family-friendly policies like childcare and flexible work and to the “green jobs” of the future.

In her closing remarks, Vanessa described the help and care that she has seen people extending to one another during the pandemic, and how this inspires her:  

“We think of the economy as this big thing [with] systemic obstacles…but really, it’s us as individuals who make it turn and who can make the difference.  Many of us doing many little things are what can make the big difference in the end.”

The Global Center for Pluralism is an international center for research, education and exchange about the values, practices and policies that underpin pluralist societies.  Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the Center seeks to assist the creation of successful societies.  The Global Center for Pluralism is an international initiative of His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, and was established jointly with the Government of Canada in 2006 and was officially opened on May 16, 2017.

The International Trade Center (ITC) is a multilateral agency, which has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  The headquarters of the ITC are in Geneva. There are staff approximately 300 employees from more than 80 nationalities.