Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer for Global Women’s Issues today said women hold keys to creating stronger and more prosperous societies.
At the award ceremony for Expansion magazine’s 50 most Powerful women of 2011 in Mexico City, Ms. Verveer highlighted studies show that there is a positive correlation between investments in women and poverty alleviation and a country’s general prosperity.
“Women spend upwards of 90 percent of their income on their families and communities – on improving the health and education of their families.” -Ms. Verveer
Ms. Verveer also talked about a few of the reasons why women’s participation and leadership are so vital.
She highlighted that promoting women is good business. She stressed that study after study has shown that fully integrating women in business at all levels has positive impacts.
“According to the research, companies with women on boards of directors outperform those with no female representation by 41 percent. Furthermore, women control the overwhelming majority of consumer spending.” -Ms. Verveer
She noted that it is estimated that 4 out of every 5 buying decisions in the world involve women. In short, women constitute the world’s biggest emerging market. She explained that companies with leaders who actually understand women’s experiences, perspectives, and motivations – companies which hire women to serve as executives, product designers, and marketers – those companies will have a competitive edge over those who don’t do so.
“I am pleased to see that some of the world’s Fortune 500 companies are looking to Mexico’s women for leadership – from MetLife to GE, from Siemens to Walmart and more. In these challenging economic times, you have shown that Mexico’s women can be counted on for the vision, creativity, and resourcefulness that companies need to prosper in the global economy.” -Ms. Verveer
Ms. Verveer stated that women drive economic growth. She added that Mexico’s economy, like all of the world’s economies, depends upon the work of women. She referred to the women who are running small and growing businesses and the women who, like you, are running some of the largest companies.
“Indeed, for most of us in this room, it is simply common sense that women’s contributions are vital to economic growth. We know because we have lived it. But just in case, there are a plethora of significant studies to prove it.” -Ms. Verveer
She noted that every year, the World Economic Forum releases the Gender Gap Report, which assesses the progress that countries have made toward gender equality. The report looks at the gap between men and women in a given country on four indicators: access to health, education, economic opportunity, and political empowerment.
She stressed that where the gap is closest to being closed – where men and women are more equal – those countries are more prosperous and competitive. She added that greater progress is being made in access to health and education than in economic and political participation.
“Studies, like those by Goldman Sachs and others, show that women-run small and growing businesses are particular accelerators of economic growth – one of the highest yield investments to grow GDP.” -Ms. Verveer
Ms. Verveer emphasized that the United States is also working to elevate this issue of women and economic growth in the G20. She stressed that Mexico’s leadership as host of next year’s G20 Summit will be critical to advancing efforts to address the barriers that too many women entrepreneurs face.