Empowering Women in Commerce

March 26, 2010
Woman In Front of Electronic Stock Board in Tokyo

About the Author: Robert D. Hormats serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs.

Yesterday, I joined Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer of the Global Women's Issues, Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez of the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, and Special Representative Lorraine Harriton of the Office of Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA) at the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Award Luncheon. We presented awards to leading American corporations supporting women-owned enterprises. These 21 companies have made a priority of bringing in thousands of women-owned business into their supply chains.

Empowering women in commerce isn't just the right thing to do, it's also good business. These efforts help to promote the innovation, creativity, entrepreneurism, and expand opportunities that strengthen our economy.

The attendees were very receptive to the President's National Export Initiative, which will make it easier for businesses like theirs to thrive. Many of them will look to us in the CBA, and other agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA) to find more certified women-owned enterprises overseas.

Through our work with the WBENC and WEConnect International, we can help sustain opportunities for women-owned businesses to grow at home and abroad.



Jesús N.
March 29, 2010

Jesus T.N. in Mexico writes:

"Toda Mujer es para mí Bendita"
Para que avancemos en el camino de la consolidación de la Democracia Global, es necesario avanzar en el Empoderamiento de la Mujer en todos los espacios Sociales y en todos los Países

March 29, 2010

T.J.B. writes:

Actually -- WBENC is the front "non-profit" for the large corporations who talk a real good game out loving women-owned firms. The awards to corporations for their good work were given to them by themselves. The board is controlled by the large corporations and they simply go round and round giving themselves awards.

WBENC's own study reported that the Fortune 100 firms (on average) only had 200 women-owned suppliers, and only had 2 supplier-diversity staff.

Wow -- what a big commitment.

And, did they bother to actually provide with the awards to the big corporations precisely what share of their annual spend was done with women-owned firms? Will, of course not!

And. . . why is WBENC now going "global?" This is because these large corporations are continuing to offshore their work. So, while they take work away from American women-owned firms and give it to other countries -- they'll just brag about their great "global" supplier diversity program.

What a world we live in. . .

Missouri, USA
April 6, 2010

Joe in Missouri writes:

While I think that in spirit this is a good idea I think that it also perpetuates divisions. Its human nature that when you tell someone regardless of who they are that they have an automatic advantage that the end result will often be slightly less. Why should people be given benefits simply because of who they are based on the preconceptions of the ignorant?

To give someone a head start or 'neck up' on the competition implies that there was less confidence that they would do a good job in the first place.

I am not at all saying that those people who work hard against many obstacles should not be recognized but does that mean they should be given handouts to the detriment of others who worked just as hard in the name of diversity?

Its 2010 we were supposed to be beyond the era of abject bigotry and stupidity.....lets get with it.


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