News report from the Global Summit of Women

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GlobeWomen.Com

“Linking BusinessWomen Worldwide”

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GLOBEWOMEN NEWS

ISSUE NO. XLII, July 4, 2005

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 SPECIAL GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN ISSUE

 

1.         GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN’S 15TH ANNIVERSARY BRINGS RECORD PARTICIPATION

2.         MCKINSEY 2005 REPORT: MARKET PROFILE OF LATIN AMERICAN WOMEN

3.         WOMEN DIRECTORS IN LATIN AMERICA’S 100 LARGEST COMPANIES:

            2005 CORPORATE WOMEN DIRECTORS INTERNATIONAL REPORT

4.         WOMEN MINISTERS URGE MORE PUBLIC/PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS

5.         SUMMIT OUTCOMES

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            1.  GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN’S 15TH ANNIVERSARY BRINGS RECORD PARTICIPATION

            Nine hundred twenty five women leaders from 75 countries made this year’s Summit the largest ever in its 15-year history.  Mexico’s President Vicente Fox joined Summit Co-Chairs Cynthia Pratt, Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas and Ana Vilma Albanez de Escobar, Vice President of El Salvador, in welcoming the record crowd which gathered at the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, June 23rd at the Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City.  Summit President Irene Natividad stated that “the ever-growing number of participating countries and delegates is an indication that women need a global forum such as the Summit to forge their economic futures across borders and across disciplines.  I am also pleased that more Latin American women were present at this year’s gathering than in years past.  This is the major reason we move the Summit from continent to continent each year – to enable more women leaders from each region to access this international event.”

 

            Spearheaded by the President of the National Institute for Women, Patricia Espinosa Torres, Mexico’s welcome was generous and exciting, providing each day a sampling of Mexican architecture (Palacio Nacional, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas), as well as Mexican musical arts from indigenous music at the Opening to infectious mariachi at the Closing Dinner, Mexican crafts and foods.  The warmth of Mexican welcome was received well before the Summit even began as corporate delegations from Cisco, DaimlerChrysler, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Kraft, and Microsoft held their various meetings for networking and mentoring.  In addition, delegations of women entrepreneurs from countries as diverse as Iceland, China, Spain, the United States among others joined their Mexican counterparts in establishing alliances, learning from each other and selling products to each other at the Summit’s trade fair, WEXPO.

 

            Women leading businesses of all sizes were featured throughout the Summit through panels of women CEOs, senior corporate officers, entrepreneurs and leaders of microfinance organizations – lending their expertise and their spirit of “can-do” which energized participants throughout the three-day event.  Lifetime achievement in promoting women’s progress worldwide was capped by the 2005 Global Women’s Leadership Awards, granted this year to Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson (for her national and global advocacy for women), UNIFEM’s Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer (for her leadership in mainstreaming women’s economic agenda within the United Nations), and SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association, India) Founder Ela Bhatt (for her pioneering role in developing microcredit for women). 

 

            Mexico’s Women’s Leadership Award was granted to an outstanding woman of many talents who now heads the country’s National Commission on Indigenous People Xochitl Galvez.  Lastly, a joint award to an outstanding woman entrepreneur was awarded by Enterprising Women magazine and the Global Summit of Women to Egypt’s Neveen el-Tahri, the first woman to serve on the board of the Cairo Stock Exchange and the owner of the largest stock brokerage firm in Egypt.  Bios of the award recipients are on the Summit’s website, www.globewomen.com, as well as speakers’ presentations received to date.  The Summit’s 15th Anniversary video is also available on-line.

 

2006 GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN  TO BE HOSTED BY CAIRO, EGYPT JUNE 8-10

                                                MARK YOUR CALENDAR.

 

11.  McKINSEY 2005 REPORT:  MARKET PROFILE OF LATIN AMERICAN        WOMEN

That Latin American women’s talents must be utilized and leveraged in order for the

economy of each country in the region to remain competitive was the key finding of a McKinsey report released at the 2005 Summit.  In general, the study found women’s economic status in the region to be very disadvantaged, with fewer than a third of women in their productive years engaged in paid employment, thus unable to contribute significantly to their families and to the overall economy.  Those that do work outside the home face pay inequities and less work hours.

 

            McKinsey’s recommendation – that governments, business community and nongovernmental organizations work jointly to improve women’s economic status in the region.  Governments must enforce current laws guaranteeing equality of opportunity for women in the workplace and in education, as well as apply punitive action against violators in the public and private sectors.  Corporations must actively work against discriminatory practices within their companies and promote changing traditional mindset of women’s roles among their employees.  Lastly, NGOs need to maintain focus on gender-based issues and actively identify best practices which can be shared with employers in business and government.  For the full report, please log on www.globewomen.com.

 

III.       WOMEN BOARD DIRECTORS IN LATIN AMERICA’S 100 LARGEST

COMPANIES

            The first-ever report outlining women’s presence in the highest reaches of corporate structures – the board of directors – in Latin America was released by Corporate Women Directors International, an off-shoot of the Global Summit of Women.  Based on Latin Trade magazine’s ranking of Latin American companies, the report found that the majority (64%) of the 100 largest companies did not have women serving on their boards.  This was opposite practice among the 200 largest companies in the world, the majority of whom (73.6%) have at least one female director, based on CWDI’s 2004 report on the Fortune Global 200.

 

            Among the Top Ten Companies with the highest percentage of women directors, Brazilian companies dominate with Copesul, a Brazilian chemical company, ranking first with 42.9% of its board being female (3 out of 7) as of December 31, 2004.  CWDI’s key recommendation for improving the region’s dismal numbers of women directors:  make the business case for women’s inclusion on boards – their impact on the economy as consumers, workers and entrepreneurs.  For the Executive Summary of the CWDI 2005 report, log on to www.globewomen.com.

 

IV.       WOMEN MINISTERS URGE MORE PUBLIC/PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS

At a full-day Ministerial Roundtable preceding the Summit, 41 women ministers

and other government officials concluded their full day session by urging the creation of more public/private partnerships in order to expedite the economic development of women and consequently of nations as a whole.  There was consensus that government alone cannot address the barriers that prevent women’s full participation in the economies of their countries. 

 

Examples shared at the Roundtable included the UN Development Program and Microsoft’s initiative to bridge the digital divide in developing economies;  Mexico’s National Institute for Women and Mary Kay’s joint program to prevent domestic violence against women;  the UN Development Fund for Women and the Calvert Fund (a family of mutual funds) partnership to monitor and publicize global companies’ progress (or lack of) in addressing work-related gender equity issues.  Lastly, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank through one of its directors, Rachel Kyte, shared partnerships they’ve developed with local governments in different parts of the world that have helped women.  For additional ministerial recommendations and other information on the Roundtable, log on to http://www.globewomen.com.

 

V.       SUMMIT OUTCOMES

            In addition to the two major reports described above, the Summit yielded many practical outcomes for participants, the majority of which were contacts, potential distributors and newly-formed business partnerships.  A Canadian entrepreneur found distributors in Iceland, Mexico and Japan;  a Mexican business owner stated that “at WEXPO, I got several contacts with organizations that produce Mexican products that can be offered through my website;”  an NGO leader from El Salvador valued her contacts with Microsoft and the possibility of their assistance in a social development project;  a Mexican gallery owner who now sees the opportunity to showcase women artists from other parts of the world;  and so on.  However, the immeasureable outcome that all participants mentioned was the spirit of this global event – “inspirational’, ‘life-changing’, ‘exciting’, ‘beyond my expectations’, ‘motivational’, ‘uplifting’ – were just some of the words in which delegates tried to capture the feeling underneath the business agenda.

 

            Organizationally, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, both with 100+ Summit delegations announced the formation of Latin American Women’s Networks within their respective companies as a result of the Summit.  The Business Development Bank of Canada is forming a  50-member Trade Exchange between Canadian and Mexican women in manufacturing after the Summit.  The call for help from the Afghan and Iraqi delegations was answered.  An American woman entrepreneur is providing computers to an Afghan women’s business organization.  In the development stage is a BDC of Canada initiative to help Afghanistan formulate a model for a business banking structure for SMEs that is much needed.  The head of a business women’s group in Egypt is providing assistance to help develop an Iraqi Women’s Business Center.  Lastly, a new Summit fund for microentrepreneurs was launched by Sungjoo Kim, renowned Korean businesswoman with an initial donation from the sale of her luxury leather goods at the Summit.  There are more unrecorded outcomes that clearly demonstrate what women are able to accomplish within a three-day Summit. 

 
JOIN THE PREMIER GATHERING OF WOMEN IN BUSINESS WORLDWIDE – THE 2006 GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN HOSTED BY EGYPT JUNE 8-10.

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete, climbing coach, computer software/technology enthusiast and occasional enjoys baking, cooking and fine wine.
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