A report from the 2009 Global Summit of Women
The 19th Global Summit for Women opened today in Santiago, Chile with 28 Ministers - including the first woman Minister (for education) from Saudi Arabia!! We are indeed making progress.
Lead Specialist of the World Bank Group Gender Action Plan, Amanda Ellis sent me this report today. [Amanda and I and a few Australian Businesswomen's Network members attended last year's summit in Vietnam.]
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet formally opened the Summit to a standing ovation from a crowd of around 650, which is pretty good going given the current global financial and economic crisis. President Bachelet recapped some of the positive changes that have been enacted since she was elected Chile's first woman President. These included:
• significant increase (tripling) in childcare facilities
• pension reform in favor of women
• new code for labor practices taking into account women's family responsibilities
As Summit President, Irene Natividad, underscored when presenting a leadership award to President Bachelet, she has never forgotten she is a woman as well as a presidebt, and has fought hard to level the playing field for women. I presented an update to Ministers on the World Bank Group's Gender Action Plan for women's economic empowerment and gave a sneak preview of the Women's Economic Opportunities Index we have been working on with the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Index compares over 100 countries on which provides the best business environment for women to be economically active. There are 6 sub categories, each of which have several components
• Labour policy
• Labour practice
• Credit, property and tax
• Education and training
• Social customs and attitudes (these first five are all specifically relating to women)
• General business environment
No prizes for guessing where the US and Australia currently rank on paid maternity leave! Tomorrow the business sessions kick off starting with moderated networking breakfasts.
Amanda Ellis, Lead Specialist World Bank Group Gender Action Plan
Thanks Amanda for keeping us updated on this inspiring event. We look forward to hearing more and to the release of the Women's Economic Opportunities Index.
You can hear Amanda's presentation on Social Entrepreneurship from the Australian Businesswomen's Network's Women's Business Week webinar held in March. (Give the recording a few mins to get going...)