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A few of the reasons why women’s participation and leadership are so vital.
A few of the reasons why women’s participation and leadership are so vital.<br />
Every year, the World Economic Forum releases the Gender Gap Report, which assesses the progress that countries have made toward gender equality. It looks at the gap between men and women in a given country on four indicators: access to health, education, economic opportunity, and political empowerment.<br />
Where the gap is closest to being closed – where men and women are more equal – those countries are more prosperous and competitive. Greater progress is being made in access to health and education than in economic and political participation. <br />
“Until women around the world are accorded their rights and afforded opportunities to participate fully in the lives of their societies, global progress and prosperity will have its own glass ceiling.” When women progress, all of society progresses - men and women, boys and girls.<br />
Studies, show that women-run small and growing businesses are particular accelerators of economic growth – one of the highest yield investments to grow GDP. Yet women confront significant barriers in establishing and growing their businesses. <br />
Women most often lack access to finance, but also to markets, to training, to mentors, to networks, and to technology. They also frequently face discriminatory regulations, policies and practices that are deeply entrenched. In some countries, they lack property, inheritance, or land rights. <br />
Promoting women is good business. Study after study has shown that fully integrating women in business at all levels has positive impacts. According to the research, companies with women on boards of directors outperform those with no female representation by 41 percent. Furthermore, women control the overwhelming majority of consumer spending. <br />
Companies with leaders who actually understand women’s experiences, perspectives, and motivations - companies which hire women to serve as executives, product designers, and marketers – those companies will have a competitive edge over those who don’t do so.<br />
Women also comprise the majority of students graduating from undergraduate and master’s degree programs. This is a trend in many countries today. To remain competitive in the talent and knowledge-driven economy of the 21st century, companies simply can't afford to ignore the workers who have the talent and education to succeed in the workplace.<br />
Women hold the keys to creating stronger, more prosperous societies. Studies show that there is a positive correlation between investments in women and poverty alleviation and a country's general prosperity. Women spend upwards of 90 percent of their income on their families and communities – on improving the health and education of their families.<br />
For women like Doina, Vanessa, Lia, Chitra, Noemi, Sheereen, Charlotte, Herminia, Sally and so many others, all of you whom I honor in this presentation – you have been blessed with opportunities to flourish. <br />
It’s been said, "Some people see things as they are and ask why; others imagine how they could be and ask why not.” <br />Chris Rea sings “You Got Soul”<br />