News from Womenable

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E3nabling News

It is our aim, in this quarterly newsletter, to provide a concise digest of news, information and links to 1: educate, 2: enlighten and 3: empower your work on behalf of nascent, new, established and growing women-owned enterprises around the world.

Our subscribers come from all walks of life: businesses large and small, non-governmental organizations and multi-lateral institutions, public sector agencies, civil society groups and educational institutions. Yet we all share a common interest in supporting women’s enterprise in communities around the world.

We hope that the information you find in this newsletter will fuel your work in pursuit of that goal. Enjoy, Engage and Enable!

News Updates
What new knowledge has come on the scene?

The main objective of our e-newsletter is to make sure you are aware of the most important womenabling news from around the world. This includes, first and foremost, summarizing and providing links to research reports, articles and initiatives that you might not otherwise be aware of. Herewith are a few recent items of note:

Have a Coke and a … business deal? Women entrepreneurs will be smiling when they learn that the Coca-Cola Company has pledged to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs globally over the next decade. Building upon their micro distribution center (MDC) system in Africa, Coke pledged to increase their efforts all along their supply chain to include more women in key positions as suppliers and distributors through an initiative they are labelling “5 by 20.” Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent made the pledge and announcement at the recent Clinton Global Initiative meeting;
In our last Enewsletter, we touted the impending publication of The Roadmap to 2020: Fueling the Growth of Women’s Enterprise Development, a collection of future-focused thinkpieces on where women’s enterprise development in the United States needs to go over the next decade. That report has now been published and is available at the link noted above;

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has published a report documenting the success of its efforts to foster women’s enteprise development in the countries of Armenia and Georgia. Learn more and download the report HERE;

The Asian Development Bank has recently issued a series of country-level reports measuring the results of efforts in the region to promote gender equality, including efforts in Indonesia, Mongolia and Vietnam; and
The 2010 Global Gender Gap report, published annually by the World Economic Forum, will be issued on 12 October – mark your calendars!

The New “UN Women Entity”
What does it mean for women’s economic empowerment?

It’s long been lobbied for by women’s groups around the world: combining the disparate and often uncoordinated efforts within the United Nations for women’s rights, social justice and economic empowerment into one superagency for women.

It’s finally happenened; a new “UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women” (referred to as UN Women) was approved by a unanimous vote of the UN General Assembly in July. It will combine the efforts of four previous UN entities: the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). The initial budget for the entity is reported to be $500 million USD – more than double the combined budgets of the four previous entities.

And, on September 14, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of a real “rock star” to head the entity: former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet will head UN Women in a new Under-Secretary-General position. Response to this appointment has been met with a universal hurrah from women’s rights activists. Here are a few of those comments:

veteran UN reporter Evelyn Leopold in a blogpost on The Huffington Post;
Women’s E-News;
the response of the gender|equality|architecture|reform (GEAR) campaign, which had long lobbied for a new UN super-agency for women; and
comments from Bachelet herself upon her appointment.
For more information and to follow the developments of this new entity, bookmark this link:

Speaking of the UN and women, stakeholders gathered shortly after Bachelet’s appointment to discuss the progress – or lack thereof – in meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to eliminate poverty around the world by 2015. A lofty ambition, but as Michelangelo once famously said, “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” (Can you name the 8 MDGs? Here’s some background information. MDG #3, “gender equality,” comes closest to economic empowerment.) Below are some recent reports from the UN and its constituent agencies focused on MDGs and the state of affairs for women more generally:

A chart, available in six languages, summarizing the progress being made on the eight MDGs;
The publication of a summary of the forthcoming report, Gender Justice: Key to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the most recent in UNIFEM’s series of reports on “The Progress of the World’s Women.” The summary was released at the aforementioned MDG Summit; the full report will be published in December; and
Another branch of the UN family tree, the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), contributed a special section in the European Journal of Development Research entitled, “Female entrepreneurship across Countries and in Development,” which was authored by Maria Minniti and Wim Naud√©. Click here for more information on that special section.
All in all, while one can say that the deliberations and actions of the United Nations frequently provide too much of the former and too little of the latter, the recent news vis-a-vis women’s empowerment is very positive.

Global Gender Gatherings
Conferences by, for and about women highlight women’s leadership roles in business, government and civil society

There’s a new player coming to town. The folks who put on the splashy, pricey and thought-provoking TED conferences are debuting a “TEDWomen” event later this year. To be held December 7-8 in Washington DC in partnership with the Paley Center for Media, this event will focus on the question, “How are women and girls shaping the future?” It ought to be an interesting gathering.

The more, and more diverse, voices talking about women’s leadership and the changes we can and are bringing to the world, the better. We thought that the news of this “new game in town” provides a great opportunity to ensure that womenablers everywhere are aware of these gatherings – both new and long-standing – put on by and for women economic leaders:

Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales: established in 1945, this organization is the oldest umbrella group comprised of women’s business associations in 30 countries around the world. Their 58th World Congress will be held October 19-23 in Florence, Italy;
The Global Summit of Women just celebrated its 20th year with a conference in China. Originally focusing heavily on women in political leadership, in recent years it has expanded its focus to include business and entrepreneurship. Their 2011 event will be May 5-7 in Istanbul, Turkey;

Called by many “the Davos for women,” the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society was established in 2005 after founder Aude de Thuin tried unsucessfully to get invited to the Davos World Economic Forum. Their events have been held every October since 2005 in Deauville, France; and

There’s another relatively new gathering on the scene: the International Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Summit, launched by Turkish women’s business association Kagider in 2009. Their 3rd annual summit is coming up on May 26-27, 2011 – offering a second chance that month to visit that beautiful city straddling the Bosporus.

We encourage your feedback and comments, as well as your help in spreading our “womenabling” news. Please let us know if there are any issues that you feel we should investigate and share more broadly – and also please click on the social networking links at the top of this newsletter to share this with your friends, followers and social network connections. Thanks!

Julie R. Weeks