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Inauguração de exposição de Manuel Baptista
Inauguração de exposição de Manuel Baptista
Algés, 5 de Julho de 2012 see more: Inauguração de exposição de Manuel Baptista


Mrs Maria Cavaco Silva Speeches

See the Pictures | SPEECHES

II Fórum Empresarial das Mulheres Portuguesas (5)
II Fórum Empresarial das Mulheres Portuguesas (2)

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Speech by Mrs. Maria Cavaco Silva at the Opening Session of the 2nd Portuguese Women’s Business Forum on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation”
Lisbon, 12 October 2006

Whenever I am asked to attend an event of an entrepreneurial nature, my first reaction is to think that I’ll feel out of place, for this, as you all know, has never been my world.

Since the invitation came from a women’s business forum the answer could only be yeas, though I thought to myself that I understood little about the corporate world and that it was perhaps a little late to learn.

Nevertheless, when I received three enthusiastic organisers of the Forum trying to explain what it was all about, there was one thing that I understood after just a short exchange of views: boldness and innovation in the business world were coming from female minds. New ideas, new ways of putting them into practice, a lot of ingenuity and art put to doing a lot with little money.

It soon made sense to me, therefore, that, at its beginnings, the idea of micro-credit, which I had always thought magnificent, was mainly directed at women and most successfully, I must say.

The founder of micro-credit, Dr Muhammad Yunus, knew well the world that he wanted to help. He knew, when he lent the first 27 dollars out of his own pocket to the village women who were engaged in making bamboo handicraft articles, that this was the path to follow. The improvement of the women’s income would inevitably be reflected in their families and would break the cycle of misery. Women, after all, are all entrepreneurs of small companies – family companies. They have an obligation and a concern not to let their families go bankrupt for they know that a bankrupt family goes hungry. What better school for higher flights and what vaster field in which to find new offers of services?

For all these reasons, and several more that I shall not list here, it was with great pleasure that I agreed to preside over this opening session of this “2nd Portuguese Women’s Business Forum. After all, perhaps even I am a small entrepreneur, without being aware of the fact. Women have skills, so often little or poorly known and recognised, in managing and making profitable a countless number of activities that can, with a little help, extend to a company where they are able to apply the knowledge that they have acquired from day-to-day needs.

We all know how diverse are the skills that we are called upon to use throughout our lives. Besides our profession, which almost all of us now have, we are cooks, nurses, drivers, electricians, deals with clothes and first-aid, are secretaries, specialists in procurement of meat, fish, vegetables, school materials, cloths for differing ages and genders, we are therapists for adolescents and for the elderly, etc., etc., etc. So many skills that are a part of the imagined, and sometimes almost mandatory, attributes required of the “fairy of the home”!

Since those taking part in this Forum have a background of this kind, I do not doubt that they will have well-deserved success. Additionally, the Forum has been designed around practical success stories, which seems to me to be a good sign in the strife against the tendency of lamentation. This must be the path, the path against the old fogies, in which we can do no better than respond with concrete examples of what is being done in the country, of what we are able to do well or perhaps even better than the others. For the younger this meeting can be very inspiring, for it shows that success is possible, sometimes starting off from very simple ideas.

I firmly believe that women bring an added value of enthusiasm and imagination to the world of work and business. Their practical sense may be an advantage in improving practices and, which seems very important to me, in contributing to a more human atmosphere in companies. Call it the “feminine touch” if you will.

The rate of female participation in the national employment market is among the highest of the European Union, higher than the average of the 25 countries. Nevertheless, we all know how it is often hard to reconcile professional and family life, a problem about which I have yet to hear a man complain.

Praise of innovation, a focus on youth, the message of dynamism and hope in the future will, I am sure, be the strong points of this Forum. This will provide a powerful stimulus for the integration and affirmation of women in the corporate world to become increasingly more relevant and more rewarding.

I would like to close with the hope that your work will take place as you all desire.

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