Celebrating International Women’s Day

ISO leads way with guidance to advance women’s entrepreneurship.

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As we celebrate the essential role that women play in our world on International Women’s Day, ISO is proud to announce the publication of its first globally agreed guidance document dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs.

IWA 34, Women’s entrepreneurship – Key definitions and general criteria, is the world’s first set of global definitions related to women’s entrepreneurship. Through providing clear and consistent definitions to describe female-owned or -led businesses, it helps to facilitate current and future initiatives aimed at furthering women’s economic empowerment.

The new International Workshop Agreement (IWA) also directly supports the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, which is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.

IWA 34 is just one of many ISO initiatives to promote and support the role of women in society through standards. ISO also has a programme to ensure the needs of women are considered in the development of standards, and that women play an equal and significant role in all areas of standardization.

ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica said the contribution made by women to standards development is essential to realize the positive changes we want to see in the world.

“What’s more, International Standards are powerful tools for reducing inequalities and promoting fair and inclusive economic growth. This includes guidance documents such as IWA 34 and many others that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 5 for gender equality,” he said.



Dr Renae Ferguson-Bufford, Director of the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ), ISO’s member for the country, said women can bring compassion and diplomacy to leadership, which can be a powerful agent of positive change.

“I feel that women must embrace their differences to men, even if that can sometimes risk being seen as weak. We can show vulnerability yet still be strong, we can be kind yet bold, and it is that which will make the difference in the world.”

ISO also has hundreds of other standards that contribute to SDG 5, Gender equality, including ISO 26000, Guidance on social responsibility. They can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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