New York, February 11, 2012 - A major new global initiative, the Third Billion Campaign, aimed at expanding women’s employment, access to finance, markets and education, was launched in New York City on February 1, 2012. The initiative of La Pietra Coalition, the Third Billion Campaign is spearheading the decade long campaign to galvanize corporations and NGO’s all over the world to tap into women’s economic potential as employees, entrepreneurs, producers and consumers.
In making the announcement Sandra Taylor, Senior Director of La Pietra Coalition, and the driving force behind the Third Billion Campaign said, “The evidence is clear: women are the emerging market with the greatest potential for accelerating global economic growth over the next decade. Investing in women will transform their lives and lead to prosperity for their families, their communities and for business globally.” In other words: if women’s economic potential can be successfully harnessed and leveraged, it would be the equivalent of having an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce, contributing to the global economy: often referred to as the “third billion.”
The launch of the Third Billion Campaign, which will properly prepare and enable women, in both developing, emerging and industrialized nations,---whose economic lives have been stunted, underleveraged or suppressed has the support and participation of major global corporations including The Coca- Cola Company, Ernst and Young, Accenture and Standard Chartered Bank, as well as the World Bank. “You can’t possibly be a highly productive, competitive country unless you engage your full workforce. The world needs new combinations of leadership and women play an important role in this change” said Laura Liswood, Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, a member of La Pietra Coalition.
Beth Brooke, Global Vice Ch air of Ernst and Young said, “The vast potential of women as an economic force has yet to be realized." Beth Brooke will speak at the official launch of the Third Billion Campaign in New York and will be joined by DeAnne Aguirre, Senior Vice President, Booz and Company, Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, David Browning, Senior Vice President of TechnoServe, Victoria Kisyombe, Founder and CEO of Sero Lease and Finance Corporation (SELFINA) of Tanzania; Pierella Paci, Manager of the Gender and Development Group, The World Bank and Sandra Taylor who directs the Third Billion Campaign. The panel will be moderated by Claudia Parsons, Deputy Top News Editor- Americas, Reuters.
The Third Billion Campaign was a result of work carried out by Booz & Company’s analysis of International Labor Organization data on women in the global workforce. The Booz report determined that approximately 860 million women worldwide are “not prepared” -- lacking sufficient secondary education - - and/or “not enabled” -- lacking support from families and communities -- to take part in the world economy. The vast majority of these women, between the ages of 20 and 65 – 822 million – live in emerging and developing countries and the rest – 47 million – live in North America, Western Europe and Japan. Counting female births and those under age twenty, this number will add up to a billion in the next decade.
Over the next decade the Third Billion Campaign will provide a powerful platform for global companies to showcase their investments and engage with influential stakeholders from governments to NGO’s. Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices said, “The time has come for us all to unite behind a movement which is needed for long term economic stability, growth and production and one which we all recognize millions of women around the world are waiting for.” Victoria Kisyombe one of the featured panelists added, “The urgency of the situation is clear: Women are expected to help support their families but, particularly in rural areas, have virtually no employment opportunities. Small enterprises -- selling produce, groceries or other items -- are often the only alternative. But women lack access to productivity-enhancing technology, let along the basic assets necessary to start these businesses. We are ready if we receive the tools, the e skills and the financing to grow.”
The official media launch will take place at the global headquarters of Thomson Reuters with live streaming on the newly launched Third Billion Campaign website. Media wishing to attend the event, book interviews, or learn more about the Third Billion Campaign should email: Shelbymerkel@lapietracoalition.org or the Council of Women World Leaders email: CWWL@wilsoncenter.org and visit our web site http://THETHIRDBILLION.ORG/