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.
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.
The NAACP, founded in 1909, and the National Urban League, founded in xxx are the most visible organizations, but in 1935 both the National Council of Negro Women (led by Dr. Height from 1957 to her death in 2010) and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs were founded. Even earlier, in 1896, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs was established. Mary Church Terrell was the organization’s first president and this group, still operating, is the oldest organization that works for the benefit of black women and families.
Until 1960, most African American women worked as maids, domestics, or private household workers. The National Domestic Workers Union was founded in 1968 by Dorothy Lee Bolden, who started working at age 12 for about $1.50 a week. The organization was dedicated to professionalize domestic work, providing training and advocating for fair working conditions. This was yet another example of African American women coming together to improve their lives and those of their families.
There is a rich history of African American sororities and fraternities. Among the sororities, Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded at Howard University in 1908. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was also founded at Howard in 1913 by women who broke off from AKA to emphasize their commitment to scholarship, service, and sisterhood. Delta women marched in the Women’s Suffrage March in 1913, despite discouragement from white women who did not want to mix race matters with suffrage issues. (Full disclosure – I’m a Delta). Two other black women’s sororities, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho, are organizations that also focus on service. All of the black women’s sororities are committed to uplifting the community and to providing scholarship assistance to students.
As UN Women celebrated its first birthday, its executive director Michelle Bachelet stressed that political upheveal and shrinking budgets are no excuse to push back the hard-won gains made by the women's movement globally.
"My top priority for 2012 will be to make a renewed push for women's economic empowerment and political participation," Bachelet said at UN Women's one-year anniversary press conference Thursday.
Formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting women and girls' needs worldwide. Created by the U.N. General Assembly in July 2010, it became operational on Jan. 1, 2011.
Its six priorities are advancing women's political participation and leadership; improving women's economic empowerment; ending violence against women and girls; expanding the role of women in peace talks, peace building, and recovery; making budgets and plans benefit women and men equally; and increasing coordination and accountability across the U.N. system for gender equality.