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5 Quotes From Women Who Are Changing the World

Posted by Guest Contributor on Fri, 2014-02-28 13:50

Yaweta Chavula, of Nairobi, from left, and Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton ,
listens while Laiba Shahzadi, of Pakistan, speaks during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in
New York. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg.

How do we empower girls and women around the world? The answers do not come easy, but five influential women, all of whom will be speaking at the Chamber's Corporate Citizenship Center International Women's Day event at the United Nations next week, have done inspiring work in making the world a better and safer place for women. Here are some of our favorite quotes. 

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Women’s Work Is the World’s Work

Posted by Guest Contributor on Thu, 2014-02-27 13:47

By Rebecca Webber
[Editor's Note: The following article originally posted in Daily Beast and features Dotti Hatcher, Executive Director of P.A.C.E. Global Initiatives, Gap Inc., and speaker at this year’s International Women’s Day Forum.]


The idea that work can empower women is not new. In fact, International Women’s Day, March 8, began over 100 years ago as a celebration of working women. It put the world on notice that one of the best paths to women’s equality is through job training, education and economic independence.

The years since have shown that when a woman succeeds in the workplace, everybody benefits—the woman, her family, her company, her community, and her nation. But today, although women make up 40 percent of the global workforce, in many countries their jobs are usually unskilled ones, clustered at the bottom of the pay ladder.

Changing Lives

The question is how we can help ensure women get the training that will get them the jobs that use their full potential.

One program aiming to do just that is Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) program, which...

Inclusive Business: Companies are Leading the Way

Posted by Kara Valikai on Wed, 2014-02-26 12:13

Co-Author: Karen Newman, Senior Communications Consultant, Business Call to Action

As we reflect on this past year of women’s leadership leaning in and leaning out, and learning from young brave leaders like Malala Yousafzai, we recognize that 2013 brought progress. The world has seen women’s economic empowerment leaders emerge from diverse backgrounds with a common goal: achieving equal opportunity for every woman. Looking into 2014, we also recognize that large challenges of gender and economic empowerment still exist, and as leaders we need to continue facing the challenges with strong leadership and innovative solutions. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) and Business Call to Action (BCtA) believe that the private sector can lead the way for women’s economic empowerment. We also believe that all businesses have the power to be more inclusive and maximize positive social impact through their business operations. For us the ongoing question is how do inclusive businesses continue to advance their empowerment of women as entrepreneurs, producers, and consumers. From another angle we ask -- how does the private sector continue to respond to the business case for building inclusive businesses?  To further explore this issue,...

4 Ways to Reduce Youth Unemployment

Posted by Guest Contributor on Tue, 2014-02-25 14:57

By: Jaimie Matthews, Manager of Policy and Programs at the USCCF's Center for Education and Workforce.

Even though the number of young people with a postsecondary credential or college degree is on the rise, the same cannot be said for youth employment, as many struggle to secure a job. Youth unemployment in the United States currently stands at 16.3%, an unacceptable figure, made even more dismal when including those who are currently working in jobs that do not make full use of their skills and abilities—commonly referred to as the “underemployed.” According to a recent report by the youth advocacy organization Young Invincibles, youth unemployment is costing American taxpayers $25 billion annually.

Here are 4 ways to reduce these numbers:

  1. Increase student exposure to jobs that are in demand—as well as providing a better understanding of industry needs.  This increases the likelihood that young people will find careers that suit their interests while making best use of their skills. Imagine if students were encouraged to explore several...

Empowering Women for Business Growth

Posted by Ruth Kinzey on Tue, 2014-02-18 17:49

Whether you look at the world of commerce in the United States or abroad, it’s clear females meet significant barriers to achieving economic equality with the opposite sex. This is unfortunate because female leaders and entrepreneurs have much to offer.

In a study conducted by Zenger and Folkman, overall leadership by gender and by position showed female executives surpassed their male counterparts in some of the study’s 16 competencies. And, these weren’t just in the capacity of “nurturing aptitude,” which is sometimes assumed. Instead, the study showed women scoring higher than men in areas such as taking initiative; driving for results; displaying high honesty and integrity; collaboration and teamwork; and championing change.

Then, check out global statistics like these:

  • Only 38% of all small businesses registered worldwide are owned by women.
  • Of the 135 million children in the world between 7 and 18 who are not being...

One for One – and Many More

Posted by Guest Contributor on Tue, 2014-02-18 13:14

By Milton Funes, Country Director, Global Communities Rwanda

Twenty years ago, Rwanda experienced a brutal genocide that ripped the country apart. Nevertheless today, in so many ways, Rwanda is an impressive emerging African economic power. The country has experienced phenomenal development in the last decade, including high economic growth and poverty reduction. Between 2001 and 2012, GDP growth averaged 8% a year, according to the World Bank.

Still, large pockets of poverty remain, especially in rural areas. Many young people are orphans of the genocide, or from the effects of HIV and AIDS. Farmland is not plentiful and there is insufficient knowledge in financial literacy and agricultural techniques. Rwandans, particularly the very young and very old, remain vulnerable to economic and health shocks.

This is one of the reasons why, since 2005, Global Communities, a nonprofit organization working to assist the vulnerable around the world, has implemented programs that help Rwandans build their resilience. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), we are able to help these communities improve their conditions. In partnership with local partners on the ground, we teach them how to implement Bio Intensive Agriculture Techniques, hygiene, and how to improve their nutrition. We teach skills to help them build their livelihoods, augment their financial literacy and enhance their life skills as a way of helping them...

Wegmans Leads the Way on Youth Employment

Posted by Guest Contributor on Mon, 2014-02-17 15:14

By: Samuel Castillo, Programming and Communications Intern, USCCF’s Education and Workforce Center

Wegmans Food Markets Inc. General Counsel Paul Speranza is well known for his determination and great leadership. Paul has been presented with many awards throughout his lifetime recognizing his achievements, such as the 2009 Corning Award for Excellence, the most prestigious award presented by the Business Council of New York State. His accomplishments would not have been possible without the full college scholarship he was awarded his senior year of high school to attend Syracuse University. Grateful for the opportunity given to him, Paul has made it his mission to help the younger generation in his community have the same opportunities he was given.

Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Paul knows firsthand that the education system is not up to par with other communities in New York. According to the State Department of Education, only 43.4 % of high school seniors in Rochester public schools graduated in 2013. Of those who did graduate, less than 10 percent were college ready. With Paul’s support, Wegmans has been able to implement new initiatives focused on high school seniors who are preparing to graduate and...

Business-Nonprofit Partnerships: New Research Shows There’s Still Room To Grow

Posted by Jeff Lundy, PhD on Thu, 2014-02-13 10:35

Read the Full Report

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Over the last 10 to 20 years, businesses became more strategic with their philanthropy. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation we’ve seen the growth of skills-based volunteers, social enterprises, and cross-sector partnerships. The business community is getting smarter in stewarding its resources, both in its corporate citizenship and its market operations. The result is greater positive social and environmental impacts. However, there is still a lot of room to grow.

Corporations in the United States recognize and are excited about the potential for growth. When the Chamber Foundation convened companies at the forefront of social and environmental issues last year, representatives from the business community had a number of questions. How do we ensure our investments in...

Skanska’s Extra Green Mile

Posted by Shanna Fricklas on Thu, 2014-02-13 10:11

If you watched Superbowl 48 I’m sure you saw the Seattle Seahawks’ dominating victory, and maybe all the freezing fans in the stands yelling their heads off, but could you also see the stadium glowing with solar power, the seats impressively made of recycled materials, or the ZERO tailgaters drinking and gaming outside beforehand?  MetLife Stadium is now the third stadium Skanska has built that held a SuperBowl and is the league’s greenest venue, according to GreenBiz. It is twice as large as the stadium it replaced and yet uses 30% less energy. These are not small lightbulb-sized changes, and yet the project was finished 3 months ahead of schedule and completely on budget. Nearly $20 million dollars have been saved in 3 years, thanks to the stadium’s state of the art technology and new affordable pricing on these installations. These upgrades and retrofits are a keen example to the rest of the corporate world, which may have large facilities that can benefit from such forward-thinking. Skanska’s leadership also proves that these changes, which many have preconceived notions about being costly, can reduce a building’s carbon footprint significantly while SAVING time and money.

With...

How Elizabeth Vazquez Connects Women-Owned Businesses to Global Markets

Posted by Kara Valikai on Wed, 2014-02-12 10:24

Join Elizabeth Vazquez at the 4th Annual International Women's Day Forum on March 4. Register today!

Recently, I spoke with Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO of WEConnect International, on the opportunity and significant potential for women business owners globally. In her role with WEConnect, Elizabeth is responsible for the vision, mission delivery, organizational growth for impact, and partner development in every region of the world.  The WEConnect International network includes offices in 16 countries, and the corporate network represents over US $700 billion in annual purchasing power. 

It was inspiring and uplifting to hear Elizabeth’s passion for empowering women through economic opportunity. I encourage you to join Elizabeth and other women’s economic empowerment leaders at our annual International Women's Day Forum, Turning Inspiration to Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally on March 4 in New York City. Register today!

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