Giving Compass' Take:

• Nicole Goldin shares insights into the Women Deliver conference in June 2019 highlighting the ways in which the private sector is ensuring women are included in growth.

• How can funders best support efforts to encourage women in business? 

• Learn about creating a pipeline for women business leaders

The focus on economic empowerment and participation at Women Deliver was driven by troubling data points in the global economic landscape. The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index predicts it will take 107 years to close the gap in the economic participation and opportunity dimension. According to Landesa, a nonprofit that secures legal land rights for the world’s poorest families, women own less than 15 percent of the world’s land. The latest World Bank Findex, last issued in 2017, found that the financial inclusion gap in terms of having a bank account between men and women in developing economies remains at nine percentage points — unchanged since 2011 and stymying entrepreneurial growth. In several countries — even those that are in the middle-income strata — this gap is much more significant.

Across several talks and panels at the conference the levers for private sector impact on inclusive economic growth fell into four main avenues: workplace practices, procurement practices, investment and financing practices, and advocacy and community practices. In the workplace, companies are revisiting human resources and operational policies and procedures to attract, retain and nurture female talent. This includes robust health and childcare offerings, mentor and leadership opportunities, flexible schedules and zero tolerance toward harassment. In lower- and middle-income or more rural communities, services could also include transportation.

Through their procurement practices, companies are opening up their value chains, increasing spending with female suppliers, small-holder farmers, female cooperatives and women-owned micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. This lever is especially important in supporting women in low- and middle-income communities and countries who are more likely to be entrepreneurs, self-employed or in the informal sector.

From microloans to venture capital, financing and investment practices that extend credit or share equity in female-owned companies are increasingly becoming an asset in the private sector’s inclusive growth toolbox. Women who are making purchasing decisions, women as innovators, product designers, women who are in leadership, women who are really driving decision making from a governance standpoint, this is where it’s going.”

Finally, the private sector can contribute to women’s economic empowerment by leveraging its branding, communications, advocacy and social community practices to shift social norms and consumer awareness and attitudes toward women’s economic participation.

Read the full article about the private sector ensuring women are included in growth by Nicole Goldin at FHI 360.