As the ‘War for Talent’ continues, women are being increasingly recognized and actively participating in building stronger economies, more stable societies and achieving goals for economic development around the world. Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, and produce 50 percent of the food, yet earn only 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.
Today, empowering women to take action is a critical component of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community development initiatives. Through CSR, organizations are mobilizing women to fulfill their potential by reducing poverty, fighting social justice and driving economic growth. They are providing women with access to healthcare, job training, technology advancement and education while boosting their confidence and encouraging them to make social change.
According to World Bank statistics, 53 million more people could fall into $2 a day in poverty as a result of the global economic slump – or up to 100 million more people according to the UN Millennium Campaign.
Top line Trends on Women:
- Women are increasingly becoming advocates and addressing key issues such as poverty, the environment, healthcare, education and arts/culture
- Women are playing a prominent role in their households and communities when it comes to philanthropy
- Women in the U.S. give an average 3.5% of their wealth to charity
- The volunteer rate of women was 30.1 percent in 2009 – Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Taking a leadership position determining the future and value of charitable giving for the next generation – creating family charitable legacy
Snap shot on key issues women are addressing....
|Zimbabwe - Empowering Girls|
|Kenya - Accessing water|
|Cambodia - Thwarting sex traffickers|
|India - Taking schools to children|
|USA - Creating leaders|
Paradigm Shift: Women CSR Champions: This, in turn, is effecting a major shift forcing culture change, transformation of organizations, community and workplace development programs. Our leadership is continuing to be defined by innovative approaches that integrate sustainability into business operations, create a stronger workforce and build more impactful community development programs.
The following organizations’ are having a global impact on women by engaging in conscious commerce initiatives:
General Mills - Join My Village: Last fall, General Mills and CARE launched an initiative entitled ‘Join My Village,’ an innovative online community that is fighting poverty in Malawi through the empowerment of women and girls. General Mills will donate up to $500,000 to increase economic and educational opportunities for women and girls in approximately 75 villages in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa. Through several activities such as telling a friend about Join My Village, or joining a village team – $1 will go to General Mills and will go to CARE’s poverty fighting programs in the Malawi villages. Additionally, General Mills will match personal contributions dollar-for-dollar for up to $50 per donor, $15,000 per village or $150,000. Further information can be located at http://www.joinmyvillage.com/
Global Sister.org: A project of The Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI), is a global communications network and unique online social networking space, enabling women and organizations to collaborate, organize, and advance top-of-mind concerns such as violence against women, health and trafficking. This is a virtual learning environment for women’s organizations to share and teach social organizing tools and techniques. Further information can be located at http://www.globalsister.org/.
Unilever: Unilever has a number of programs that enable women to be progressively brought into the mainstream of economic activities to bolster development. The Fair & Lovely Foundation was set-up as a social initiative by Unilever Bangladesh Limited under its leading skin care brand Fair & Lovely. The mission of the Foundation is to "Encourage economic empowerment of Bangladeshi women through information and resources in the areas of Education, Career and Enterprise." The foundation provides scholarships that allow women to attend school and obtain degrees in fields such as engineering, commerce, science and medicine. Further information can be located at http://www.unilever.com.bd/sustainability/women-empowerment/FALfoundation.aspx.
The key is no longer ‘Why’ it is needed, but rather ‘How’ an organization is empowering women, developing and incorporating initiatives into core, everyday business and community development programs.
It is critical for an organization to treat and develop their own workforce well to be credible as they advocate for addressing pressing global concerns, impact and transparency of their programs. Women’s career development programs are an important platform and link to CSR, as well as creating a global community of women citizens. Through such programs, women are not only improving their economic potential but giving back to their communities through active participation and demonstrated impact.
And, they have the right and opportunity to earn more than 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.
Organizations have a timely opportunity to empower and galvanize a global grassroots level movement among women who are hungry to change pressing global concerns.