Sheryl Sandberg spoke about her latest initiative to extend internet connectivity to women across the world, whilst Latin American businesswoman and philanthropist Angélica Fuentes hosted an inspirational evening which brought together a range of people from private and public sectors to discuss women’s entrepreneurship.
Bank of America is another large corporation that remains vocal and visible on the issue of women’s empowerment. Its Global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Anne Finucane, has spoken out about the importance of mentorship in the fight for gender equality – another theme that cropped up in discussions at Davos this year.
Bank of America recruit emerging leaders within its organisation to be mentors to women entrepreneurs in developing countries via the Mentoring Women in Business Programme that my Foundation runs. It’s a win-win strategy that benefits everyone: the women mentees, the mentors (who are both men and women) and the bank as a whole, which uses the mentoring experience as a valuable tool for staff development and retention.
Creating Safe Places
One of the many discussions was about creating safe spaces for women to connect. Other talks whereon monitoring pay equality and changing the culture of an organisation so that gender parity becomes a priority for everyone, rather than being seen as just a ‘women’s issue’.
Empowering Women World Wide
Businesses must continue to take up their share of the work of empowering women across the world. Indeed, it will take strong leadership from every sector to ensure that 2015 becomes a decisive year for gender equality – and that includes leadership from men as well. This was the message delivered by UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who arrived in Davos with the UN’s Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson to launch the next phase of the dynamic campaign, HeForShe, which aims to bring men into the fight for gender equality. Because whilst it is important that women’s voices continue to drive conversations about gender equality, men must also become active agents in this work.
Conclusion by paula: Let us do what we can to support these organizations. For birthday, weddings, Christmas and other festivities, we can give a gift of: chickens, animals, small business venture capital for women. Let us empower women, too.