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: or the Council of Women World Leaders email: and visit  our   web site http://THETHIRDBILLION.ORG/