In 2008, Goldman Sachs launched 10,000 Women, a $100 million philanthropic initiative, which at the time, was the largest in Goldman’s history. The goal of the five year program is to provide business and management training to 10,000 underserved female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Four years ago this month, Goldman Sachs invited me to attend the launch of 10,000 Women, a $100 million philanthropic initiative, which at the time, was the largest in Goldman’s history. The goal of the five year program is to provide business and management training to 10,000 underserved female entrepreneurs in developing countries. Why? Goldman’s own research (and that of many others) shows that female education is a driver of macroeconomic growth. Moreover, there was (and still very much is) a stark need to expand access to business education for women in emerging markets. When Goldman launched 10,000 Women, there were only 2,600 women attending MBA programs in all of Africa, a continent of 900 million people. Calestous Juma, a professor of international development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, has estimated that if African women were given equal access as men to vocational training and technology, the continent’s economy would expand by at least 40 percent.
10,000 Women’s focus is very much on nurturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a sector of the economy with significant economic growth and employment potential. Aninteresting report from the International Finance Corporation notes that while there are roughly “8 to 10 million formal women-owned SMEs in emerging markets (representing 31 to 38 percent of all SMEs in emerging markets), the average growth rate of women’s enterprises is significantly lower than the average growth rate for SMEs run by men.” The report identifies several factors that have hindered the growth of women-owned businesses, including: institutional and regulatory issues, lack of access to finance, relatively low rates of business education, risk aversion, concentration of women’s businesses in slower growth sectors, and the burden of household management responsibilities. 10,000 Women addresses each of these issues, teaching its graduates how to recognize and navigate their legal environment, how better to access loans, prepare business plans geared for higher growth, and juggle a business with their family life. While the program does not provide credit directly, it has formed several public-private partnerships to do so. In Liberia, it is working with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; in Tanzania with the Government of Denmark, CRDB Bank, and the U.S. State Department; in Peru with the Inter-American Development Bank and Mibanco.
HERvotes, a coalition of 51 women's groups, vowed to ensure that several decades of progress in health care, education and labor rights will not fall by the wayside in the run-up to the November general election.
"Women are outraged with the constant politicization of theses issues with no regard for half of the population," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
"The gender gap is alive and well," agreed Lisa Maatz, chief lobbyist for the American Association of University Women, who added: "We are mad and we are fed up."
In a campaign year in which the economy and jobs were the initial dominant themes, social conservatives have thrust birth control and abortion to the top to the agenda at the state and federal level.
The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology released a new report that outlines four key areas where companies should focus their recruitment efforts to increase access to a range of technical talent available in a highly competitive environment. Solutions to Recruit Technical Women is the first in a series of reports offering solutions companies can employ to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of technical women.
Hollywood has long had a problem with women, but with Kathryn Bigelow’s historic best director Oscar in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker,” it looked like things might be slowly changing. And in 2011, the box-office success of “Bridesmaids,” a raunchy comedy written by and starring women, led to predictions that Hollywood was finally ready to recognize the reality that female-centric movies could be as profitable as man-centric movies. While no industry that employs Michael Bay can really be considered a safe space, more women in production positions might mean better depictions of women, more roles for older actresses, and more influence at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that awards the Oscars.
That may end up being the case years down the line. But judging from the available evidence, it’s not going to happen any time soon. Bigelow’s movie was released in 2009, but in 2011, only 5 percent of the top-grossing movies were directed by women. And, astoundingly, the Oscars are even worse. None — zero — of the films in the best picture, best director, best adapted or original screenplay, best lead or supporting actor, and best supporting actress categories were directed by women. In the major categories, 98 percent of nominations went to movies directed by men, 84 percent went to movies written by men, and 70 percent went to movies starring men. The only female-centered movies that appear outside the best actress categories are “The Help” and “Bridesmaids.” In the best picture category, there are as many movies about women as there are movies about horses.
Getting beyond basic cast-and-crew details, Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist pop culture media critic and the editor of Feminist Frequency, hasproduced a video putting the 2012 best picture nominees to the so-called Bechdel test. This looks at whether a film has, at any point, female characters having an interaction with each other that’s not about a male character. Only two of the 10 pass. While it’s possible for male directors and writers to produce representative depictions of women (as Manohla Dargis said in a 2009 interview, “Flaubert wrote ‘Madame Bovary.’ That’s all we need to say about that”), they mostly don’t. Female characters aren’t given anything to do besides pine about their (heterosexual) romantic interests.
The Nashville CABLE and Lipscomb University College of Business 2011 Annual Census of Tennessee "Women in Corporate Leadership," released today, shows little progress toward gender diversity since the previous year-as well as since 2007, when Lipscomb University's College of Business first conducted the research. One salient finding is that while women represented 47% of the Tennessee work force in fiscal year 2010, they held only 8% of 566 public company board seats. A snapshot of the Tennessee study results over time is available as a downloadable graphic to the right.
At a stellar gathering of leaders from business, philanthropy, government, and non-profits, the National Council for Research on Women will kick off 30 years of transforming the way the world looks at women and girls at its annual Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner on Tuesday, March 6th. The Council will honor: Beth Brooke of Ernst & Young; Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Retiker of the Women, War & Peace series on PBS; Anita Hill of Brandeis University; and Soledad O’Brien of CNN at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
On our 30th Anniversary we are recognizing 30 stellar women from diverse corners of our broad network who through their efforts have advanced women’s issues, promoted women’s leadership and changed the way the world views women and girls. All have been nominated by their peers for their outstanding work.
Aileen Lee argues that by adding new blood to the boardroom, companies get a four-fer, or more: 1) gender diversity, and in most cases, age diversity around the table; 2) better understanding of core customers; 3) Social-Mobile-Local expertise and insight into digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Path, Square, Flipboard and Pinterest that are fundamentally changing business; and 4) hyper growth and rapid innovation DNA.
Why should we care? For one, women are the power users of many products and it’s just smart business to have an understanding of key customers around the table. Could you imagine a game company without any gamers on the leadership team or board?
If you’re not aware, studies also show companies with gender diversity at the top drive better financial performance on multiple measures – for example, 36% better stock price growth and 46% better return on equity. And, studies show the more women, the better the results. This is likely because teams with more females demonstrate higher collective intelligence and better problem solving ability. So it’s probably not a coincidence the world’s most admired companies have more women on their boards than the average company.
Perhaps our societal knee-jerk critique of Whitney Houston’s life and death can point us to what I see as a glaring issue: the truth that millions of us waste our talent – though less ruinously and more privately – every single day, without so much as drugs or the intense pressures of fame to blame, arguesTara-Nicholle Nelson.
’m not saying that Whitney Houston’s story or her fate were anything less than absolutely devastating. But when it comes to the specific, line-item tragedy of the loss of her talent, who’s to say that that tragedy was any more tragic than the lost or wasted talent possessed by those of us who are sitting on the couch, shrinking from our God-given destinies because:
we’re afraid someone will criticize us, or that we might fail;
we’re uncertain about how to pursue our dreams – and uncertainty is scary;
the mean girls in high school talked badly about us;