Missed Something at IWD? We've Got You Covered.

March 24, 2016

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Lori Harnick, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft Philanthropies, Microsoft, speaking on "The Power of Communication and Perception" panel at IWD 2016.

Takeaways

If you missed something at IWD 2016, we have all the top takeaways and insights right here.

The Business of Inclusion: Global Prosperity through Women and Girls Empowerment, may have wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, but we're just beginning to absorb the takeaways and lessons learned from all the top-notch speakers and sessions. The two-day annual event was filled with leaders in the women's economic empowerment space, who are focused on driving innovations at every level of business within the private sector, as well as developing strategic partnerships to get on-the-ground initiatives rolling.

We heard from men on their #HeForShe commitment (here's to PwC's Michael Fenlon for standing alongside his female counterparts!). We learned how luxury women's clothiers, like Maiyet, are creating an all-new business model around worker empowerment and high product standards. And, we tuned in as a couple of self-proclaimed "math geeks" talked powerful STEM education opportunities for girls. That's far from a complete list of our takeaways, though. Lucky for us -- and for you -- we have a lot more to share. 

For those of you who missed a session, or who want a recap on the week's highlights, we've rounded up all the exclusive content right here.

At this year's IWD Forum, it was abundantly clear that business and nonprofit leaders are no longer satisfied with the status quo when it comes to giving women the tools they need to succeed. Big, global companies, like Microsoft and Deloitte, discussed how they're shooting for a fundamental shift of the conversation around women. They shared how the media, public perceptions, and brand awareness play a big role in that. We also heard from emerging leaders in the space, like Jenny Abramson, Founder of Rethink Impact, on how her new strategy for social investments may just change the game for women-owned businesses. 

Women often lack basic financial necessities required for activities starting a business, getting a loan, or opening a bank account. In fact, globally, a lack of financial inclusion disproportionately affects women. One of our panels at IWD 2016, with speakers from organizations including Accion, BBVA Microfinance Foundation, Citi Foundation, and McGraw Hill Financial, explored how new technologies may help decrease this gap. Additionally, panelists discussed how to ensure that borrowing institutions in emerging markets are well-equipped to ensure that their female clients receive appropriate credit ratings and access to financial services.

One thing the U.S. Chamber Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC) is known for, is its ability to convene the right mix of multi-sector leaders for constructive, collaborative conversations. Susan Danish, Executive Director, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., attended this year's forum. In her recent post, she shared how the two-day event inspired her to think more deeply about strategic partnerships around women's empowerment. She also looked at a few integral themes that came up throughout different panels, and how those might help shape future initiatives for her organization, and others.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 set the bar to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” by 2030. Closing gender gaps in work and society could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey Global Institute. In this post, Stephanie Bandyk, Program Assistant, CIPE, discusses how a move towards supply chain gender parity is critical for societal progress, as well as economic growth. Women have the potential to transform global markets, and many of the companies featured at IWD 2016 are at the forefront of that movement.

Still want more? Sarah Finnie Robinson, Founder, WeSpire, explains how companies are transforming employee engagement programs and hiring practices to create an inclusive and diverse workforce. And, over on JustMeans, there's more on how companies are exploring partnerships with competitors to boost their bottom line and increase social good.