Benjamin Franklin Room
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me welcome all of you again here to the State Department for this Second International Council on Women’s Business Leadership Meeting. This is a great way to end the year, since we started the year together back in January. And I know from having run into a number of you along the way you’ve been hard at work ever since coming up with new ideas and concrete initiatives that will help more women take a leading role in business, move up the echelons of government, broaden the reach of civil society groups. And I am very grateful to all of you around this table and everyone sitting behind you who has been part of this effort.
Now, the ultimate goal of the council is to develop a platform for putting forth policy recommendations, programs, and activities that empower women and promote gender equality, from access to markets and capital to capacity building and skills training. We’re looking at leadership and leadership development and working together to make sure that any women who wishes to do so will have the opportunity to contribute to the economy and society where she lives.
I want to have a chance to hear about your experiences and discuss ways that we can put into action your recommendations. Now, we’ve had excellent leadership from our vice chairs, and I want to turn first to Cherie Blair to provide remarks and then to our other vice chair, Indra Nooyi, who joins us by the miracle of technology to do the same. So let me start with you – oh, we’ll start with Indra.
Indra, are you ready?
MS. NOOYI: Good afternoon. Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. Just for all of the people in the room, I want to say to you that I am a phenomenal admirer of Secretary Clinton, and I’ve often said, when I introduced her in meetings, that she’s probably the smartest person that I’ve ever known – not smartest woman, smartest person. So I just want to say good afternoon to you, and it’s an honor to join you today, although I sincerely wish I could be there in person.
And I want to thank each of our council members, subcommittee chairs, and subcommittee members for their participation in the council and their hard work this year. And I know that each of us in the room agree that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Secretary for her passionate leadership on behalf of women’s economic empowerment, and I’m personally grateful to you, Madam Secretary, for bringing this remarkable group of women together to help you in your work to lift women up, and in so doing, help create vibrant economies.
One of the things I believe we’ve gotten right with the ICWBL is that we listen closely to you. When you spoke so eloquently at the APEC Ministerial in San Francisco, you will recall, everyone, that the Secretary framed the key barriers that are keeping women from reaching their full potential: access to capital, access to markets, the skills necessary to participate in the economy, and last but not least, the leadership competencies required to thrive.
The ICWBL seized on the identification of these barriers and structured our work to start knocking them down systematically. As we will hear from our subcommittee chairs, I think we’ve made real progress in moving from concepts to action, or as I’d like to say, closing the say-do gap.
So before I turn it over to Cherie, I’d like to personally thank our subcommittee chairs Sally Susman, Beth Brooke, Maud Olofsson, and Sri Indrawati Mulyani and the teams that have supported each one of them. We are tremendously grateful for your willingness to roll up your sleeves this year and develop not only a set of excellent recommendations, but also to begin implementing the recommendations around the world.
So with that, let me turn it over to my dear friend, Cherie Blair. Cherie, over to you.
MS. BLAIR: Thank you, Indra, for supporting women’s leadership, not only in your role in this council, but of course every single day of your working life, when you’re such an inspirational role model to business women across the world. And I’d like to join with you as well in your thanks to our subcommittee chairs.
And of course, to Secretary Clinton, my dear friend, what can I say about you? Your vision, your dedication, and actually the way that you have driven the women and girls agenda every day of your term here in the State Department. Wherever you went in the world, where you traveled and spoke, you’ve always highlighted women and girls as key economic drivers and essential to making a safer and better world. And as a result of that, as I saw when I was there in that San Francisco meeting, you have inspired confidence and hope to women around the globe. And they look at you and they know that they, too, can fulfill their dreams.
And that’s what we’ve got to do in every area. We’ve got to integrate women and girls at the core of what we do, not as an afterthought, not as just some sort of tokenism, but an integral part of our business practice, and of course, in our work for peace, for development, and our security efforts.
It’s amazing what this group of women have done in quite a short space of time, and we have done that because of the generosity of 70 amazingly accomplished women from across the world, from all continents, who’ve actually come together, virtually and sometimes actually, to put their mind and resources to actually seeing what we can do to advance women’s business leadership.
Now, I don’t think that work will end today, and I’m hopeful that, just as we have made substantial progress putting together our proposals, that we can also use this as a platform on creating equal access to markets, to capital, to networks, and skills. It’s not that hard. We know that if we work across the sectors, learning from each other and joining forces in partnerships, then who knows? In a decade’s time, we won’t need such a council. But at the moment, we certainly do.
So let’s absolutely continue to honor, in the words of someone I know well, the strivers, the risk takers, and the dreamers by supporting women in making the most of their manifold talents. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s an inspiring beginning from Indra and Cherie, and I know how hard they both have worked, along with their staffs and other council members and the subcommittee members as well, through this year. So I thank you both for your leadership.
Now, of course if we’re going to form an international council on women’s business leadership, we have to live up to our own rhetoric. And I want to turn next to Ambassador Melanne Verveer and Under Secretary Bob Hormats to present briefly what the United States Government policy is in helping promote women’s economic empowerment. Ambassador Verveer will focus on international programs, and Bob Hormats will focus on gender inclusion in our economic statecraft agenda. And both of them have been very avid supporters of the council and equally, if not more importantly, the work that the council is addressing.
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: Thank you, Madam Secretary, and thank you for bringing us all together again. I, too, want to add my thanks to Cherie and to Indra and to your staffs, which have been so hardworking throughout this process. I have personally participated in several of the subcommittee meetings, and I can tell you that they were extraordinary personal experiences for me. They are encompassed, amazing ideas. No stone was left unturned. The enthusiasm of the participants and those members from around the world who couldn’t be in a physical space at any given time for a meeting were on the telephone. And so many more from beyond the council participated. So it has been a tremendous undertaking. I want to thank, too, the companies and institutions that lent their resources to this process so that these great ideas could be better implemented. I think this is, and I think we would all agree with this statement, a model public-private partnership.
Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, the Department has made increasing women’s economic participation, both women as entrepreneurs and employees, a significant commitment. We have made the evidence-based case, and evidence that just grew in the last couple weeks when Booz & Company released their big study on the third billion, the fact that a billion people, mostly women, whose economic potential is still untapped, are poised to have an impact in the global economy comparable to China and India if they are empowered to overcome the hurdles that keep them out of the formal economy today. So the potential of all of this is extraordinary. And I think you will agree, as Indra alluded to, that one of the best evidence-based statements we have on women’s economic participation is the one that the Secretary made during the APEC Women and the Economy summit last year in San Francisco.
In addition, we have found that governments around the world, as well as the business community, has joined with us in this endeavor, which has been made more compelling by the search for ways to grow economies everywhere. We have made the case here through the many international platforms with which – on which the United States participates, from APEC to OECD. The G-20 leaders emphasize the importance of women’s access to finance and recommended accelerated efforts.
And to focus on women’s entrepreneurship, we have also supported regional initiatives like the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program to enable women-run SMEs to take greater advantage of the trade preferences allowed through the African Growth Opportunity Act. The Secretary launched the WEAmericas Initiative, an impressive public-private partnership at the Summit of the Americas to help women overcome the hurdles they will face in growing their SMEs throughout the Americas. And we have launched a series of conferences called Invest for the Future: Women Driving Economic Growth. These have taken place from the Balkans to the Caucasus, from Central Europe to Central Asia and next week in South Asia, both to enable women to overcome the hurdles that they still confront and to grow women’s regional cooperation through greater opportunities for trade and investment, as well as to grow their business networks.
In all of these efforts, on every continent, we have partnered with other governments and the private sector. We know that government initiatives can often catalyze private efforts and make programs more sustainable. And this is one of the reasons the Secretary launched this council and continues to urge the private sector to take opportunities to grow the work that has been going on here, to work with each other, and to work with government to increase women’s economic opportunity. As she has said, the council provides an idea platform. We have some extraordinary ideas, and we have all realized that this is a win-win for all of us, no matter where we sit, whether in the private sector in civil society, in our institutions, or in governments.
And now let me turn to my colleague, the Under Secretary for Economics, Bob Hormats, who I must say has been an extraordinary colleague on these issues and has been a champion for women’s role in the economy of countries everywhere.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, thank you very much, Melanne, and thank you Madam Secretary for hosting this event and for inspiring and leading the economic statecraft agenda. It has been focused very dramatically on this issue, on the opportunities that women need to have in emerging economies if the economies are going to succeed and if the women are going to succeed within those economies. I also want to say that I’m delighted to be here with my friend Cherie Blair and Indra Nooyi and participating in this very interesting session, and I’ve had opportunity to work with them on many issues, and this is certainly one of the most interesting and most important.
Just to give you a few thoughts on what we’re trying to do in economic statecraft as it relates to the role of women and then talk a little bit about the United States as an example of what can be done to improve opportunities for women that can be helpful perhaps in other countries as well, I would say that when you look at developing countries, the economic role of women is an indispensable one in advancing and broadly sharing the benefits of prosperity. And this is true throughout the developing world, but it’s also true in the developed, the industrialized, world as well.
There’s clearly one thing I don’t need to persuade this audience about, and that is the importance of women to economic growth and development. Secretary Clinton, just a few days ago in Singapore, said that no nation can achieve the kind of growth that we all want if half its population never gets to compete. We can no longer afford to exclude the energy and talent that women add to our economies.
Yet in many parts of the world, women are not able to be fully integrated into economies. This not only puts women at a disadvantage, it puts a country’s entire economy at a disadvantage, because that economy is deprived of the full measure of the talents, energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and hard work of half of its population. Especially in developing countries, if women do well economically, it improves the prospects not only that they will succeed, but also the prospects that their children and grandchildren will succeed.
I saw this firsthand when I lived in a small village in Tanzania several years ago, and observed women in the market who would, at the very end of the day, drop by a small store, and deposit a portion of their earnings toward the price of their children’s school uniforms. For them, their meager earnings were the key to their kids’ education, and thus to their futures. We’re now working with many developing countries to remove both formal and informal barriers to the opportunity for women to participate fully in their economies.
And I’ll give you just a very few, very brief examples. One, we’re encouraging governments to issue documents to women who never obtained birth certificates so they can, over time, obtain bank accounts and bank loans, critically important to establishing and building companies. Two, supporting women’s participation in agriculture by promoting access to training, tools, seeds, and fertilizer, extremely important to give women opportunities to advance in that sector. Three, supporting innovative projects by our embassies overseas, such as, for example, one in Benin that offered business training for women in the informal sector. And four, by pushing governments to recognize that by increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity, they can dramatically improve the competitiveness and growth of their entire economies. This goes for developed as well as developing countries.
Success in these initiatives and others like them hinges particularly on broad reform efforts in the area of education. In this respect, the courage and determination of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who was shot for advocating girls’ education, should be an inspiration to all of us. These efforts, particularly in education, underscore the important link between diplomacy and development. Any sustainable long-term solution to increased and more inclusive prosperity must make it possible for women to move, without social, political, or educational impediments, up the economic ladder. Moving up the production value chain requires access to education and training and jobs in every part of the world. Ultimately, education is the initial and most important ticket to escaping poverty. Enabling economic ascent will also involve changing cultural and legal norms that restrict women’s ability to own, operate, or inherit a business.
Just a couple of examples from the United States: One of the most profound changes in our economy, and a critical reason for America’s overall prosperity since World War II, has been increased participation of women in the American economy. Today, nearly 47 percent of U.S. women now work full-time, compared to only 30 percent in 1950. Women now have over 51 percent of management, professional, and related positions. And prospects continue to improve, one of the very positive trends in the U.S. economy.
Women in college now outnumber men, and where 36 percent of the women 25-29 years old have a bachelor’s degree, compared to only 27 percent of men. Women lag behind men in some fields, most notably engineering and computer sciences, where they earn only about 20 percent of university degrees in these fields. Still, across the board, American women are converting education into economic advancement. And according to the World Bank, if more barriers could be reduced, it would significantly boost American growth.
In today’s competitive market, no country can prosper if women are denied the opportunity to participate in the economy and kept from using their skills and talents. Growing opportunities for women and growing economies go hand in hand in America and indeed in all parts of the world. Thank you.
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: And now to Tina Tchen, a White House colleague, to tell us a little bit about the efforts that are being made on the domestic front.
MS. TCHEN: Well, thank you, Melanne, and let me begin by saying thank you for welcoming me here. My colleague, Valerie Jarrett, who is the chair of the Council of Women and Girls, is attending a meeting at the White House with the President, which gave me the opportunity and the treat to be here.
I want to begin just by taking perhaps a point of personal privilege to acknowledge the work of our Secretary. Secretary Clinton, you have just been an inspiration to so many women and girls in the United States and around the world for years, and the work that you have done is really the work we are carrying on through the Administration on behalf of women and girls, both domestically and internationally. The work of the White House Council of Women and Girls built on what you did when you were First Lady, when you did the Beijing Interagency Conference. This council is really based on that work, and I want to thank you for your leadership.
And to Melanne, what has gone on with the – our first Ambassador-at-Large on Women’s – Global Women’s Issues is incredible. The leadership that you have shown, what you laid out in terms of how women’s economic and political empowerment has become embedded in all of our multilateral statements, including last week’s at ASEAN when the President was at the summit, through APEC, through the G-20, through the G-8, through everything that we have done internationally so that women are no longer just a side issue or a side event to these summits, they are an integral part of a table where the leaders meet and speak, is due to the leadership of both Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Verveer, and the President, who feels quite deeply and learned at – from his mother the importance of women’s economic development and empowerment, and as the Under Secretary noted, how that really contributes to the growth, peace, and prosperity of economies around the world and our own as well.
So we – as part of the UN General Assembly gathering, Secretary Clinton launched the Equal Futures Partnership, which is a way to take our domestic commitments here in the United States and among the other partner nations that joined us at the event in New York in September and encourage each other and encourage other partners to come on board, which we hope will happen when the World Bank is going to host the second meeting of the Equal Futures Partnership this coming spring, to challenge ourselves domestically, to address the barriers that the Under Secretary has just referred to.
So those include – although we have made great progress here in the United States, we still know that women only make 47 cents on the dollar. We have – we do not have equal pay for equal work in the United States, that breaking down those barriers so that women can fully realize their economic potential as they are working is a commitment that we have as an Administration, not only on enforcing our equal pay laws, passing additional protections, but also looking at the way work is organized so those barriers that keep women from staying in the workplace, from moving up the ladders of success into leadership positions, things like workplace flexibility, looking at the demands that our workforce has. We often talk about the fact that we have a work that is organized in the same way it was at the time of the Industrial Revolution for a 21st century economy, and that is something that we need to overcome in order for women to fully participate in our workforce. And men as well, so that men can also realize the full potential of their families and their children and a rich life and – as well as a workplace that makes a difference, to supporting businesses and women-owned businesses.
We were very pleased to have finally implemented the Women-Owned Small Business Rule so that women-owned small businesses have an equal playing field in competing for U.S. federal contracts, and our Small Business Administration has committed to not only implementing that rule, but doing more training and development for women across the age bracket. So we have initiatives for young women, for young entrepreneurs, for women who are mid-career, and also for women as they retire and want to start a new business and start a new career so they can have the skills and training. And we’re doing that across the country through our 114 women-owned business centers that SBA manages. And we will continue to look at the ways in which women who are victims of domestic violence, who are otherwise vulnerable, get the financial capability and the skills that they need to break out of the cycle of violence so that they can actually have economic prosperity for their families as well.
And we hope to continue to expand that work now. I will say also on behalf of the President that we are fully committed as an Administration to continuing the legacy and the work that has started here, the work of this council, of what you all have done as a public-private partnership. We cannot do it through government alone, we cannot do it through the NGO sector alone, or the business sector. We need all three of us together working on these issues. We remain committed as an Administration to moving forward with these in any way possible.
So, thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Tina, and thanks to you and Valerie Jarrett and the President for the work that you’re doing across the Administration. It’s very important, and thanks also to Melanne and Bob.
Now I’d like to invite the four subcommittee chairs to share with us what they’ve been doing and give us a chance to respond. I think we will start with Sally and we’ll go to Mulyani and then to Beth and then to Maud if that’s all right.
MS. SUSMAN: Okay. Thank you. We seem to have an abundance of thank-yous this afternoon, but I’m going to have mine too. Madam Secretary, first to you for giving us a way to contribute our talents. That was greatly appreciated. And I’d also like to thank the members of the Market Access Subcommittee who gave generously of their time, attended meetings regularly, some of whom have traveled here today. And may I ask them just to stand and be acknowledged? (Applause.) Thank you to our co-chairs, and a special thanks to Ambassador Verveer for working with us and being with us and helping us all along the way.
My main job today is to leave behind and present to you our report, Fueling Economic Growth Through Women’s Empowerment. We’ve brought a hundred copies with us. We managed to get them through the security of the State Department – (laughter) – and we hope that everyone will take one and read one. In Market Access, we decided not to debate what it meant, but to do what women do and just get to work. We chose to focus on programs and policies over philosophy, results over rhetoric, and we divided into three teams to divide and conquer the goal.
First, we borrowed a good idea from the State Department and joined with WEConnect. We held four events. Elizabeth Vazquez led the charge in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico. We also even did a business networking event in Afghanistan. These were great opportunities for people to come together, meet new customers and clients, and actually do business.
The second area we focused on is supply chain. Women own approximately 35 percent of all private business, do 66 percent of the work, but receive less than 1 percent of the money spent by large corporations in supply chain. So we unleashed Ofra Strauss on this problem. Ofra would be here, but she’s solving Israel’s problems today – (laughter) – which took precedence over our problems today.
She has produced a two-page pamphlet on tips as to how to be more successful in supply chain work. I call it supply chain secrets. It’s a really valuable document that we contribute to the world.
Lastly, we generated several policy ideas, both at the national and multinational level. We have identified in our report best practices that can be implemented and ideas to drive forward past the 2015 agenda.
So in conclusion, first and foremost, thank you for the opportunity. We want to keep working. We’d like to find a way to do that. And because I believe all good work should end with a party, we are hosting a reception this afternoon at 4:30 in the Marshall Center so we can all continue to get to know one another and to do the work. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good way to end, Sally. Good work. (Applause.) Now, I assume there’ll be some way to pass out the booklet and the pamphlet and we’ll be able to take a look at that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Terrific. Mulyani.
MS. INDRAWATI: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I think it’s really exciting to be here today and especially after one year working. And I would like to also thanks for the valuable contribution of the subcommittee members. Many of them come in here. Maybe I also ask them to stand up? Thank you very much for the Subcommittee on Access to Capital. (Applause.)
So our overarching goal is to ensure that women entrepreneur – primarily the middle market segment of bankable SME, they are bankable, but they don’t have the access of capital – to have an access to financial services at reasonable cost, because they can have the access of capital at the very expensive cost. The rationale is actually simple: Women-owned small and medium enterprises are the forgotten middle. Their unmet financial needs are estimated around 260 to 320 billion each year. So the potential for progress among this group is really great.
So our plan consists of four pillars. The first one is the awareness raising campaign to narrow the gender gap in access to capital. And we develop communication packets to support awareness, raising activity targeting policy maker, practitioner, the media, and youth. The packets includes talking point, fact and figures, success story, and a policy note prepared by the World Bank Group on the legal obstacle women in many country face when dealing with property or credit. This is one of the example that we are putting here, and I am pleased to share this copy with you all.
The awareness campaign remain an ongoing activity that will continue beyond our meeting today. And I would like to invite all the subcommittee member to use that material for you to do the public speaking in all the event that you are going to attend.
We also have an exciting initiative underway. And here I have Sue with me. We are lucky to have Sue Fleishman from the Warner Brother Entertainment in supporting our awareness campaign by producing short video vignette on women in Africa and Middle East. And actually this morning we still discussing to have more – who has a very good story, inspiring story, to then convert it into this video vignette. They will tell the story of determined young women who beat the odds to start their own business and to help their communities. And this vignette will be released on Friday, a platform which Sue is going to develop further. So on behalf of our subcommittee, I will like to take this opportunity to personally thank Sue for a very valuable contribution.
The second pillar is actually on – to support the inclusion of gender target in national financial inclusion strategy and policy, because many of the financial access is actually constrained and hampered by the distorted policy or legal framework. And in respond to a request from the Mexico as the host of the G-20 presidency, the World Bank Group is supporting country to meet their national financial inclusion target. Through our technical assistance and financial partnership with this government, we are working to ensure that the full benefit of financial inclusion will also extend to women, so there is a gender dimension within this financial inclusion policy. We also are leveraging – we are also leveraging data such as Global Findex, women business and the law, and financial capabilities (inaudible) to provide policy maker across the world with a detailed picture of women access to finance.
This morning we discussed with Minister Mari from Indonesia, who want to make sure that this financial inclusion will have the gender. And she would like to learn from other colleague which is provided from Turkey as well as other country. With this information, policy maker and regulator in more than 20 countries can design and implement reform based on real evidence. I think that’s very important.
The third pillar is aimed at promoting gender-sensitive business practices in local banks. So borrowing from Sally, this just mentioning about the practicality, this is more on how they really have this business practices. And we’re lucky to work with the Global Banking Alliance to develop a study tour and training models for banks and policy maker at four regional events next year. I believe this will take place in Indonesia, who is going to host the APEC meeting 2013, Turkey, Africa, and Latin America, in coordination with partners such as the Inter-American Development Bank and Global Banking Alliance.
And the last pillar is identifying phase two project to expand access to capital using new technologies. A series of concept note will be prepared on policy areas, regulatory frameworks, and new technology to improve access to finance for both non-bankable poor as well as high growth segment of the market. And we are off to a great start and there is much more underway.
I would like in this opportunity to thanks Roshaneh Zafar of Kashf Foundation in Pakistan, which is producing a local TV series to promote women economic empowerment through microfinance. We also thanked to Nomsa Daniels of the New Faces, New Voices in South Africa, engaged with the high school student about the important of financial literacy for both men and women. She also runs a medium, small, and microenterprise fund in Nigeria targeting women. So I want to thank each and every member of the Access to Capital Subcommittee. We have a very interesting, exciting meeting, good (inaudible) experience, and I think this dedication is reflected in the report today but also will continue in their work.
So let me stop here with one final thought. Let us not forget that ultimately women empowerment does not lie with the access to finance or market alone. The fundamental tools for the empowerment is opportunity. When given the opportunity, every woman will seize it to build a better life for herself, for her family, and her community. The voices of women to get equal opportunity to live up to their potential are getting stronger. Our mission is to support this growing social conscience to create opportunity for every woman so that progress is within their reach.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this is very exciting hearing everything that you’ve been doing. Let me turn now to Beth.
MS. BROOKE: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. Let me just, on behalf of our subcommittee, extend our thanks to you for your authenticity to the commitment you have to enabling the Third Billion. I have this vision of a wave that’s been riding behind you for a long time, and we’ve been all on that wave. And as the Booz study, as Melanne indicated, I really do think that the opportunity for this Third Billion to materialize – you have such an incredible hand in leading that effort, and so thank you for your commitment over the years.
Capacity building and skills training, let me ask my subcommittee to stand. We were 21 members strong. Those who are here, stand. (Applause.) We love each other. (Laughter.) And we’ve had such a great time, I have to say. Private sector, NGOs, the State Department, it is just – academia – it has been a tremendous experience, and as Sally said, you’ve enabled us to do what we do best and to collaborate, which has been terrific. We really have represented a really powerful collaboration among diverse perspectives of what we each do. We recognize that we didn’t need to recreate; we just needed to collaborate to leverage all that we have been individually doing. And I think you would have seen your lifelong commitment at its best.
We had three recommendations and they went as a build. So you had to do one before you could get to two to get to three. The first was – for capacity building and skills training – was to create a mentorship program that could really help women who were already existing small business owners, entrepreneurs, be mentored by senior businesswomen from similar geographies, different geographies, and to really share the best of the best. Doing that, we thought the next phase was to create entrepreneurial training that worked, taking what works, how it is best delivered in a blended fashion, recognizing the benefits of technology, and trying to enable entrepreneurs with training in a very different way that fit a local geography.
And then the third related to Sally’s subcommittee which was – we thought there was a need to stimulate demand. So looking at supply chains, we saw that as one of the most important levers to – actually, if the private sector could use the power in its supply chain to stimulate the demand for women entrepreneurs, we thought that was an enormous lever. So, mentoring, entrepreneurial training, and stimulating, and I said they had to build. So we had to do them in sequence, which we did.
The first we leveraged, actually, our great co-chair, Cherie Blair’s Foundation, which has a mentoring program, and we leveraged something that we knew was working well, and this program was so unique in that it was real. This was not light touch from a distance, a lot of fluff. This was really substantive, connecting mentors with mentees that made sense, right sectors, right geographies, intensive training. And so we went – we’ve matched nearly 200 aspiring women entrepreneurs so far from 34 countries with business mentors from 28 countries. And this was in just October alone. So we’re really starting to, I think, ramp up.
And the council members included our co-chair Indra Nooyi’s PepsiCo, Google, my organization, Ernst & Young, and we’re in the process of adding on substantial mentor organizations, and we think we’re on target to total about 500 women entrepreneurs soon and then on our way to a thousand. And so I thank Cherie. The work of your foundation and your staff, they’ve just been fabulous.
But the great thing is this isn’t about the mentees alone. The mentors are getting so much out of this. They’re learning negotiation, the cultural awareness, leadership skills. It’s been a phenomenal thing, I know, for the women and men in my own organization who are dying to sign up to be mentors. They’ve learned a lot. And also great outcomes for the mentees as they have increased their revenues, increased the creation of jobs, increased better household incomes, and thus the communities as we all know. So great progress on phase one.
Phase two we talked a lot about today, which is about the entrepreneurial training. What we again recognize, that we’re doing great things. Goldman Sachs does tremendous entrepreneurial training through their 10,000 Women program; Intel, the digital online entrepreneurship training; Thunderbird has been a hub for all of these things; Camfed on the ground understands how to make it real, how to make it work. And so the combination of all of us coming together – and Goldman is now looking at what works, what exists and what works, and how do you have to deliver training in a blended fashion, Camfed coaching us as how you do that on the ground. We felt like we’re well on the way on the second recommendation to actually having something that can be hubbed at Thunderbird’s Global School of Management and then be a resource for women around the world. So, great progress there.
On phase three, we’ve just joined Sally’s party. (Laughter.) Trying to use the supply chains to stimulate demand, what we realized is Sally was going at it in a very similar way with WEConnect. So we said we love WEConnect, go get them, and so we’re watching them. But one of our subcommittee members, ExxonMobil, has really taken it to heart, though, with their own supply chain focused on Mexico with WEConnect, with the State Department, and is doing – really showing our recommendation three in action.
So, thank you again for enabling our subcommittee. We’ll look forward to joining Sally in the party. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: And we’ve already seen exhibited what is the topic for the fourth subcommittee, namely leadership.
MS. OLOFSSON: Well, thank you, Secretary Clinton. I start by saying what a year it has been. It has been a very intense and rewarding process within the council, but also within the subcommittee. And let me also introduce my subcommittee on leadership. Please stand up. (Applause.) And I say rewarding because this is the first time I see them and meet them, and we have just – (laughter) – been discussing through emails and telephone calls and all that. But that has also worked. And we also say thanks to you, Secretary Clinton, for this because I think we have all been very inspired during this year to work so closely and so intensely with this.
In our subcommittee, we have seen that there are four fundamental components to promote women leadership: access to role model, access to networks, availability of mentor or sponsorship programs, and leadership training programs. And based on these four cornerstones, we have developed a set of policy recommendations and also mobilized the expertise and the institutional strength of our subcommittee members to develop and launch a women leadership platform tentatively called Women Up, and I’m going to present that a little bit later.
But we also have some policy recommendations, and the first policy recommendation is promoting work-life balance by introducing family support infrastructure, because we have identified work-life balance challenges to be a major barrier preventing women from rising leadership position. And to this end and to all of us, the link between well functioning family support infrastructure for both men and women and the connection of leadership is very clear. Work-life balance, to quote Pamela Culpepper of PepsiCo, one of the members of the subcommittee, is the act of balancing two good things. And I think it’s important to see that child care, elder care, shared parental leave, private services all are very important family infrastructure to make it possible for women to take leadership. And I think we need to see that it is a possibility for women to combine both family, children, and leadership.
Secondly, we have said development aid and loans should be conditioned on implementing policies that promote gender equality and leadership. And that’s also one thing that you mentioned here, that we have a lot of institutions that are working with loans and aids, and all these institutions need to focus, just as Secretary Clinton has worked hard with, they need to focus on how to promote women leadership. And there’s a big difference if women can take leadership in these new democracies building up right now, and if there is not. So that’s one thing.
Secondly, we say that making gender equality audits should be required and transparent for all sectors, because we see that public, private, and nonprofit sectors, they should work together to ensure that men and women are treated equally and have equal opportunities, and results should be measured and the process should also be transparent. And my experience is that what you measure, what you evaluate, is possible to discuss. The more you know about the facts and figures, the more you can discuss. So that’s also an important thing.
During this work, the leadership committee – subcommittee members have undertaken a lot of series of public-private dialogues in all global regions about the policy making that we have proposed in our report. We have also some actions. And one action is a women up platform, an umbrella initiative, and today we are launching a global leadership program based on McKinsey Center leadership training in which rising future leaders from corporations, but also from the public sector and as well as entrepreneurs. And we think that it’s important to connect all these three types of leaders because we have a lot to learn from each other, but also important to see leaders coming from all these sectors.
We are proud to tell you that we will start a pilot project in four countries. It is in Sweden, South Africa, the Philippines, and Brazil. And we are nearly close to financed all of them. And in this leadership program, we will work with leadership training, mentorship network, and also develop the role models in this program.
As a part of the women up platform, we have also developed a sort of code of conduct, or let me call it ‘golden rules,’ because we have seen that many of us are working with strategies to promote women leadership, but we have tried to make this as a strategy for promoting women. And the golden rules include, number one, sponsor rising women leaders who in turn sponsor the next generation, paying it forward. And number two, actively promote women’s leadership in daily work and through public platforms. And we can do that on all levels, and many women have already suggested this pledge, so we are very happy about that.
Well, what can we do? Yeah, we can bring talent along the table to take part in the process, invite them to meetings, networking opportunities, seminars, to board and high-level activities, just to share the network that we all have. We can speak in schools and universities, talk about the importance of women in leadership and entrepreneurship, and also serving as role model to inspiring other women leaders and entrepreneurs. And I’ve seen that, as I mentioned, last time we met in the Swedish Ambassador program for entrepreneurship that this just ordinary women coming up talking about women’s entrepreneurship has made a big, great different when it comes to role models.
But also pay forward nominations, names and organizations, and mention other talented women when we are interviewed, when we having speeches, and also share all these good networks and brilliant women with others, and put them as models and talk about what they have done. And I think these golden rules, we can all use on all levels just in our ordinary life.
I also want to, as an end, say thank you to those who have been able to – or those who have helped us to be able to start this leadership program. It’s McKinsey Centered Leadership, so thanks to McKinsey, it’s PepsiCo, it’s CARICOM, it’s Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, and it’s the Women in the World Foundation. But of course, I also want to thank the people who have been working with us in this subcommittee. It is Shelly Porges and Cora Neuman at the State Department, but also Amelie Togen (ph), who has been working with me from Sweden. And of course, it has been a great opportunity for us to work together. But as we have heard here, many of us have to do our job in our own sector if we want to see a result.
I want to end by saying we have been out talking about women leadership, and the view that I see if that they see Secretary Clinton as a real role model, and I want to say that because if we want to promote other women to take leadership, I think it’s so important that women like Secretary Clinton is there and give hope to those who want to take leadership. So I want to say many, many thanks to all of us to you as our big role model, and we do hope that we, in this network, which is a very strong network, will be able to continue to work on strengthening women’s leadership. So thank you very much for this. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Maud. Before I turn back to Cherie and Indra to introduce the declaration, I wanted to call on the members of the council who haven’t had a chance yet to speak and ask them if they have any brief comments to add to the very substantive reports we’ve heard from the subcommittee chairs. Let me start with you, Sue.
MS. FLEISHMAN: It’s been very exciting to work on this project, which is about telling stories of women, small businesses, business that are growing in countries where women don’t have access to capital, and how they’ve managed to overcome phenomenal obstacles to achieve what they’ve achieved.
We just finished shooting in – outside of Cairo last Wednesday a woman who was able to secure loans against huge complaints from all the men in her family, of course, and a whole host of other things and actually opened her own hair salon, which then, in turn, in her neighborhood, was able to offer jobs to other women. So this is a great story that came to us from the World Bank, thank you.
But what my real point is is that I think there are a million stories to tell from each of the subcommittees. So I’d like to offer that help, because I think that there – we’re not going to raise awareness without really focusing in on how people have achieved this. And in order to inspire the next generation and inspire girls – our daughters, our sisters – and also men – our sons and everyone else, we can’t leave them out – I think this is a great way to do it.
So we’re hoping to do it on a variety of platforms. It may be YouTube, it may be using other platforms that we have, mobile phones, ways to get to people in rural communities, ways to also show the footage in perhaps health clinics or local community centers around the world, where people are kind of held captive whether they want to be or not.
So anyway, I just wanted to say it’s been enormously rewarding to work on this, but we’ve just begun, so a lot more to do.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. That’s great. Meera.
MS. SANYAL: Well, thank you, Secretary Clinton. Actually, I have the other side of the story from Sue. So this year, I commenced a journey to the villages of India and I have, so far, spent about, in cumulative, about four months in 120 villages, spending a day and a night with women in different parts of the country.
And the one thing I have realized as I’ve picked up these stories – it’s kind of a string of pearls of stories – is that we find enterprise and innovation and hard work and hope and leadership at every level. And the women I have met are in many ways more impressive than CEOs of companies, because they have changed the lives of their families, but also their entire villages by their example. So whether it is enterprise in growing shitake mushrooms in the middle of Bihar, or it is water harvesting in the poorest districts of Purulia and Bengal, or using biogas instead of smoke-filled chulas, it’s small examples but which have a dramatic transformational effect. And you learn the things which work well, so there are things like mobile telephony which are empowering women, schools, roads where girls can cycle to college.
But there are also many things, and very simple things, that hold women back in our parts of the world. It’s things like water. If you don’t have water, it takes many hours of your day. If you have to cook with firewood, I mean, I have realized just by eating with them how difficult it is. Something which should take me on a stove 20 minutes to cook will take three hours. You sit there breathing the smoke, big cause of cervical cancer because the papillomavirus thrives there. And these are simple solutions for our world with our technology to solve, but they don’t get the focus and attention we should be giving them.
What I have found is what the subcommittees have been working on, the barriers to women participating, are also solved with simple structures. I have found the self-help groups, which work with small groups of seven to ten women, provide access to thrifts and capital at the very basic level. They provide access to skills. But they also provide the social network that women need to be able to cope with our lives, to be able to cope with an alcoholic husband or domestic abuse, just to have someone to sit in the evening with and talk. And that is very, very powerful, and I think we underestimate that.
And the last thing I’ve taken away, Madam Secretary, is that as a banker, I always somehow assume that money could solve most things. And I’ve found that actually, it is probably the least important of everything. There is a kind of troika which Ambassador Verveer referred to, which is the government, and that can play a role not necessarily by throwing money, as a lot of our governments do, but by providing the enabling infrastructure which we talked about, but also law and order. I mean, I have found that where there is peace and where there is rule of law, you find enterprise. You find women have the confidence to go out of their homes to go and work.
For NGOs who typically gather a lot of money to spend, their real role is in skill building and capacity building – giving women the confidence to know that they can do something. And for corporations like ours, it’s not so much money as ideas and technology and access to markets and access to fair prices. And I think if that works around that core, which is the core of women themselves helping themselves with their enterprise and innovation, and we build the supporting infrastructure around that, then we will have the change that we want to see.
So thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
MS. SANYAL: I love to share my stories with you, so --
SECRETARY CLINTON: I can see the collaboration starting.
MS. HINCHCLIFFE: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I really appreciate the opportunity to be a member of this committee. I have read everything that passed my desk coming from the different committees, entirely in support of the recommendations.
One concern, and the area that I have been looking at and plan to tackle, is that of literacy. Most of what we are recommending here, I think we have to look at women at different levels. And there is no point in trying to train someone – and we talk a lot about ICT, e-learning, e-mentoring and what-have-you because of the low penetration of (inaudible) technology (inaudible), particularly among groups that we would like to address.
I have the privilege of chairing the Foundation for Lifelong Learning, which is the underpinning for a literacy program in Jamaica, and I’ll be using that machinery. We have structures and so on in place. I’ve already started talking to my colleagues in the business that this is an area that we have to focus on. There are three other committee members from Jamaica. Jackie Lloyd (ph) is here, part of my committee as well. I thought that my colleague with access to finance, Minna Israel, would have been here. She did say she was going to be here, but that’s a great area.
But again, when I look and see the work that we need to do, I really, really think that trying to deal with literacy as the foundation for training, everything has changed. It’s not about reading, writing, and arithmetic anymore. It’s about working with what you have, where you are. That’s how literacy will address the area that I have identified and have already started talking with persons about addressing that area.
Thank you, Madam Secretary.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
MS. SHULER: Thank you. Madam Secretary, first of all, thank you so much from the AFL-CIO and working people everywhere for your voice and for your commitment to the issues of women and girls, but really, women’s economic empowerment as it relates to women’s rights as workers. And I have to say the speech you made in Cambodia recently, I mentioned to the Ambassador, made me weep. It was so profound. So I think that was – it kind of summed it up.
And I wanted to just say that as a union representative on a business council, it’s often kind of a strange environment to find oneself in. (Laughter.) But as I started thinking about entrepreneurship, I was thinking there are women in trade unions who aspire to be entrepreneurs, come out of electrical industry. You have women electricians whose fantasy it is to rise up through the ranks and actually own their own contracting business one day.
So unions definitely play a role in this, and I think we want to be good partners with not only business, but government and people all around the world who lift up workers’ voices. We need to be advocates for women in terms of freeing them from discrimination and allowing them to have the freedom of association that they need to promote their own voice in a collective way. And that plays right into women’s economic empowerment. So I just wanted to thank you and say we want to continue this work with you and be good partners.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Well, I’m quite just delighted by everything I’ve heard today, and I know that the council members have adopted a declaration which outlines priorities and recommendations. And let me now invite Cherie and Indra to present that draft declaration.
MS. BLAIR: Madam Secretary, I’m not going to read it out because everyone’s had it and it’s also available on the web. Let me just briefly summarize what it does.
In the first few paragraphs, it sets up the genesis of this committee. It highlights the four areas – access to capital, access to markets, skills training, and capacity building and leadership – which was inspired, of course, by the declaration and your words at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation San Francisco Declaration. It summarizes the four different recommendations from the four different committees that we’ve heard in more detail here today.
And finally, it highlights a number of the examples of those initiatives, including what we’ve heard of today, the Latin American WEConnect program with global supply chains, the reference to the mentoring program, which my foundation runs. It highlights developing a global entrepreneurship curriculum with a focus on agriculture and ICT. It talks about what Maud’s been telling us about, about the golden rules, the Global Leadership Training Program. It highlights what we heard about the fact sheets and policy sheets in relation to closing the access to capital gender gap, and OSU’s international media campaign, which I think everyone wants to participate in. It ends by reminding us that the 2015 Millennium Development Goals target date is approaching, and sadly much remains to be accomplished in advancing the economic and social status of women and girls in the world. And it pledges that this council will continue its commitment to eliminate unnecessary business barriers and to empower women to be successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thanks to everyone for the great work that has been done and the effort that went into that work. And I’d like to announce another initiative that demonstrates the power of collaboration between the public and private sectors. I think all of us have seen around the world how artisan work provides women economic opportunities, often when no others exist, but the value chain for artisan enterprises is fragmented with barriers that stifle growth and profit.
To address those challenges and provide women artisans with more opportunities, I am pleased to announce the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, which will be housed at the Aspen Institute to serve as a central hub for public and private stakeholders to come together to highlight the economic and cultural value of artisan work, to share best practices, to work with governments and local businesses on new ways to scale up artisan opportunities. And I know that the Alliance – I think, Melanne – will be launched immediately following this meeting, and we will look forward to hearing more about what it does.
I’m going to have to excuse myself, but I just – and I wanted to give Indra and Melanne the last words. But I wanted to key off something that Meera said: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And it’s often very humbling when you travel, as I’ve had the privilege of doing, and you meet extraordinarily innovative, creative, courageous, resilient women and men, and you see what they’ve been able to overcome, what they’ve done with their lives, and you think about how disproportionately talent is stymied or catalyzed.
And so really what we’re talking about is trying to narrow that talent and opportunity gap. And I think everyone has addressed that in some way or another. I could not be more pleased and honored to be part of this with you, and I can’t wait to hear more about what you’re doing. I have to go to the White House, so I’m going to ask Melanne to end the meeting. And again, have a good time at the reception, and I look forward to continuing to work with you.
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: Indra, can we hear from you on any closing comments, particularly on the declaration and the work going forward?
MS. NOOYI: No, I think, Melanne, the team has done a phenomenal job, and even though some of it has been done remotely, I think there’s been a level of dedication, commitment to the entire effort. I just wish we could add a fifth pillar to the four work streams which says, “How do we educate the men?” Because we keep talking about what we do with women and it’s women helping women. That’s okay. But there’s got to be some sort of a pillar at some point; we’ve got to educate the men to say, “Hey, let them live, let them survive, let them thrive. It’s bad enough being a woman, don’t throw hurdles in their way.” I’m sorry, Bob Hormats, just excuse me while I go off on this tangent. But I think we have to add a fifth pillar somewhere. I don’t know where, Melanne, but somewhere on educating the men to just allow women to thrive and survive. I’ll just leave it there as an emotional call.
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: You’re right about that, and not just in the context of economic opportunity. We raise this issue in so many other ways, and maybe we should make Bob the head of the new committee that will take this on. (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: The fifth committee. (Laughter.)
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: But let me, on behalf of all of us who’ve been involved, the great team here at the State Department who has supported this effort, but really to each and every one of you, to sit here and to see and hear the results, the productive, fruitful results of so many months and months of work, it’s truly inspirational. And I do think, as one of you said, it is indicative of leadership, the leadership in this room, the members of this council, all of those who joined the subcommittee’s work who are present here and from around the world who are not present, I meant what I said at the outset: The meetings that I was able to even briefly participate in were unlike so many meetings. They were rich, they were productive, they were inspiring. The ideas flowed, and there was an enthusiasm that was captured in many of the remarks here today.
So on behalf of the Secretary and everybody, this work will go on. We will continue to find all of those avenues in which to do that, and I can’t say thanks big enough for the effort that is exemplified among all of you here today. So thank you all.