Op-Ed: 'Why the Global Economy Needs Businesses To Invest in Women'

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 30, 2012
Woman Walks Past Stock Exchange Monitors

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer and President of the Women in the World Foundation Kim Azzarelli co-authored an opinion piece that appears today on The Daily Beast website. In the piece, Ambassador Verveer and Ms. Azzarelli underscore why the global economy needs the "other 51 percent." The text of their article follows below.

"Businesses are starting to understand what development experts have long known: investing in women pays dividends. Women are more likely than men to put their income back into their communities, driving illiteracy and mortality rates down and GDP up.

"Now a corporate revolution is at hand, one that is moving beyond philanthropy, making women partners in business at all levels. This was an important theme at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, which hosted a plenary session entitled 'Women as the Way Forward' on the potential impact of women on the global economy. On February 1, some of the most powerful companies in the United States (Accenture, Coca-Cola, Ernst and Young, Goldman Sachs, and others) are signing on to a worldwide campaign to bring women into the economic mainstream. The Third Billion Campaign is being launched by La Pietra Coalition -- an alliance including corporations, governments, and nonprofits -- to enable one billion women to become members of the global economy by 2025. The campaign's title comes from the notion that over the next decade, the impact of women will be at least as significant as that of China's and India's respective one-billion-plus populations.

"Bringing women into businesses creates what Michael Porter and Mark Kramer of Harvard Business School call 'shared value' -- it helps companies while helping communities too. Consumer-product businesses have quickly understood the benefits: for instance, bypassing retail and hiring women to build person-to-person distribution channels for everything from cosmetics to beverages. More recently, companies have found it especially effective when the purchaser needs to be educated on the product being sold, be it a mobile sonogram machine, an energy lantern, or a cookstove. Women can also be the best innovators of the products they use and sell, sometimes transforming their communities with something as small as the knowledge of the optimal use of a household's single electric light.

"The rewards are clear. Avon, for example, gives more than six million women in more than 100 countries the opportunity to start their own businesses; these entrepreneurs serve as Avon's main sales force, resulting in more than $10 billion in revenue. Similarly Unilever has invested in 45,000 underprivileged Indian entrepreneurs, mostly women, in more than 100,000 villages through microfinance and training -- a strategy that accounts for five percent of the company's total revenue in India. Recently, Walmart has pledged to source more than $20 billion from women-owned companies in the United States alone, and Coca-Cola announced a program, 5 By 20, to support five million women entrepreneurs globally by 2020. The benefits of women in upper management have also been shown: a recent Catalyst survey found a strong correlation between gender diversity in the leadership ranks of a business and that business's economic performance.

''There is no doubt,' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, 'that the increasing numbers of women in the economy ... has helped fuel significant growth everywhere. And economies that are making the shift more effectively and rapidly are dramatically outperforming those that have not'."

Comments

Comments

ask57
February 2, 2012

W.W. writes:

women or not islam or not lgbt or not the leading corrupted mobster society must leave as much as assad quaddafi mubarak to invest in new generation and everything can be considered new. all of what is happening on the top of your bloody pyramid is illegal :

Right now, members of Congress can make personal investment decisions based on confidential information they get in the course of regulating industries and doing their work.

It's kind of unbelievable that this isn't already illegal. President Obama wants to make it illegal once and for all -- no one should profit from inside information about the very businesses they're supposed to be regulating.

Today, the Democratic leadership in the Senate voted to move forward on a bill to extend to Congress the same strict rules that apply to anyone else whose job gives them access to sensitive information about businesses. This legislation is expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support later this week.

But Republicans in the House have yet to move on it.

There aren't a lot of good reasons to disagree with this bill. So the question here isn't how many people we have to persuade, but simply how loudly we can speak up to prevent the House Republicans from dodging this issue.

must remove this mob must remove this regime and its tyrant

al l.
|
United States
February 17, 2012

Al in the U.S.A. writes:

I think more people need to read blogs like this.

justine
|
United States
March 7, 2012

Justine in the U.S.A. writes:

Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.

.

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