|Womenable's Top Ten|
The most noteworthy news & research of the year
For the second straight year, we're devoting our end of year e-newsletter to a review of the most noteworthy womenabling events of 2011. Here - in no particular order - is our list of the ten most important research reports, events, and emerging trends of the year:
- The centenary of International Women's Day: The very first International Women's Day was held 100 years ago in 1911 - making 2011 the 100th anniversary of the annual celebration of the contributions that women make to society. This short video provides a brief journey through time highlighting some famous women in history. It's just 1-1/2 minutes long, so definitely worth a quick look:
|100 Women of Destiny: A Celebration of the Centenary of IWD |
- Women making peace: Another landmark achievement this year was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to three women of distinction: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gebowee of Liberia, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen. In announcing the prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated, quite rightly, that "we cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society." Hear, hear!
- Gender equality - not for women only: In a similar vein, we've noticed a lot more discussion, and some interesting efforts, to engage men and boys in gender equality issues. After all, gender does not just refer to women, and gender equality efforts can be as beneficial for men as for women. Some of the most interesting efforts in this regard are noted in this Womenabler blogpost.
- Gender equality - continued Nordic role models: For the 6th straight year, the World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap Report. In 2011, as in previous years, the countries in which women and men are most equal in terms of health, education, political and economic participation are in the Nordic economies of Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Read more about the trends and download the report at this link.
- World Development Report 2012 - a focus on gender: The World Bank's annual World Development Report series provides the international development community with a comprehensive review of issues, including climate change, youth, and agriculture - to name a few recent topics. The 2012 WDR, published recently, focuses on Gender Equality and Development. It's not only available as a PDF file (in multiple languages), but as an iPad app.
- Increased focus on developing value chains for women-owned firms: As we noted in a Womenabler blogpost in October, multinational corporations - that have long recognized women's business enterprises as a "supplier diversity" population of interest - are now increasingly putting significant money on the table to develop and strengthen women-owned firms as suppliers of goods and services. Shifting focus from "corporate social responsibility" to "value chain development" is a very good thing!
- Yes, one person CAN make a difference: Look no further than the US State Department to see what a difference a single committed leader can make. The strong focus on women's empowerment can be attributed to the influence of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the State Department's Global Ambassador for Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer. Woe will be the not-too-distant date of January 21, 2013, when a new administration takes office without Clinton at the helm of the State Department. She's announced she will not stay past 2012, and this will truly be a loss for US diplomatic engagement in women's empowerment issues. We hope they'll make this last year in their positions a big one!
- Progress in procurement??: Last year's Top Ten List featured one item applauding the impending implementation of a long-awaited women-owned business procurement program in the US Small Business Administration. Well, what progress has this program made in its first year? Well, at least they've made a "text-rich" PowerPoint presentation available, and offer a free online course for would-be women business owner contractors. It's a start, but c'mon SBA, that's not nearly enough!
- New numbers, fresh insights, big splash: Late last year the US Census Bureau published its 2007 Survey of Business Owners, with new statistics on the number of women-owned firms. Then, just three months later, the American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Business Report was published - with updated numbers and trends, and new insights on growth of women-owned firms along the business size continuum. It deserves a spot on your womenabling reference shelf for sure!
- More pointed conversations about growth: Finally, perhaps 2011 will mark the year when the metaphorical gloves came off in the discussion about women business owners and entrepreneurial growth. Many bloggers and other commentators lamented the lack of women at high levels of business achievement, but at least the tide seems to be turning from those who say it is a lack of female ambition to those who are shining a light on the structural and social barriers that may be preventing many women from achieving their entrepreneurial dreams. Some of the most interesting posts and presentations we read or watched this year came from:
And, should you wonder what Womenable feels should be done to move the ball forward on this critically important issue, read the Womenabling Manifesto or watch a video of Womenable CEO Julie Weeks' recent keynote speech at the Kauffman FastTrac Global Women's Summit.
If we added a #11 to our top events list, it just might be the brand spanking new 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women's Report, published just a few days ago. The previous GEM women's entrepreneurship report was published over three years ago, so kudos and congratulations to all involved for digging into the data and bringing a new and valued report to life.
Did we miss any? Think we're off the mark on any of these items? Let us know! Curious to review our Top Ten List of 2010? CLICK HERE to read and compare last year's list with this one.