Business benefits abound for companies that include women and men as executives, employees, and entrepreneurs in their value chains. The convincing case for gender inclusion was made by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah al Thani, Chairman of Ooredoo Group; Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; and Beth Comstock, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at GE, at the World Bank Group’s Gender & the Economy event, hosted by IFC in Washington, DC.
The Bank Group’s Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, highlighted that success in reaching the twin goals of ending poverty and increasing shared prosperity hinges on increasing equal opportunities for women and men in the private sector and on closing the economic gender gap.
While no country in the world offers a level playing field for women to earn a living, the speakers asserted that companies have a stake in helping to change that reality.
“Giving women the chance to become financially independent and make the most of their talents is the key to higher living standards and stronger economies,” Blair said.
According to GE’s Beth Comstock, mixed-gender teams outperform single-gender teams at top and lower levels of employment alike.
The event was also an opportunity to announce this year’s winners of IFC’s gender award. Now in its seventh year, the award recognizes staff for their outstanding achievements in promoting women in business. After a competitive process with more than 30 submissions, the awards went to the ECA Gender team for corporate gender support and to the Women Business and the Law team for its contributions to gender inclusion in the private sector.
Nena Stoiljkovic—Global Practices VP, World Bank Group, and VP, IFC Advisory Services—and Dimitris Tsitsiragos, VP, Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, IFC, introduced and presented the awards.
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