International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day to “reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination” and this year, will focus on encouraging women and men across to the world to Pledge For Parity. Together, we can increase women’s representation in all fields and open the eyes of those who do not see the potential they can offer to improve economies globally. This pledge is one of the motivations that encouraged Suzanne Biegel, our Chief Catalyst, to create the Women Effect global membership community. Launching this spring, Women Effect is welcoming sophisticated investors and philanthropists - men and women - to engage in action-focused collaboration designed to accelerate the impact of the women effect around the world by increasing women’s access to capital.
Like all those who will take the Pledge For Parity, we understand the power in supporting women and girls, not only to improve their lives but to improve the lives of their families, their communities and their nations. Half of the world’s population are women, yet we still live in an unequal world, a world that could be twice as brilliant if everyone had the opportunity of an equal part to play. To quote one of the most successful investor and philanthropist in the world, “We've seen what 50% of our human capacity can accomplish. Visualise what 100% can do” - Warren Buffet.
To commemorate IWD we asked some of the guests in our community to share how they are celebrating.
Russell Pullan, one of our Advisory Council members, is attending the YPO EDGE event in Dubai. There he will be watching his wife, Shereen El Feki, give a plenary presentation on her work with sexual health and politics in the middle east.
Rachel Whittaker, Senior Analyst at Robecosam, will be attending 'Ring the Bell for Gender Equality' at the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange with the co-portfolio manager of their gender equality fund, Junweir Hafner-Cai.
Simi Shah, our Managing Director, will be at her Women Effect desk but is celebrating the following weekend by taking her 8-year-old daughter to an under 10's session at the Women of the World event at the Southbank Centre in London.
Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO and another Advisory Council member, is going for a hat trick in Canada, first speaking at a luncheon at the Markham Board of Trade, then hosting a panel on female entrepreneurs at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone and then topping it off by speaking at the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto. She told us there’s “no breakfast event booked yet but I'm sure it's coming!”
Audrey Selian, one other Women Effect Advisory Council member, is usually in Europe, but this year will be on the other side of the world, in India, filming the Real Deal, a new impact investing TV show.
Suzanne Biegel, founder of Women Effect, is having lunch with a foundation in the US that is currently grant making with a gender lens but wants to move into impact investing with a Gender Lens.
Ingrid Stange, founder of Partnership for Change and Women Effect Steering Committee member, will be spending the day with around 100 change making women in business and social leaders at the home of the CEO of Innovation Norway.
Diana van Maasdijk, co-founder of EquiLeap, plans to go on a special tour at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on women artists in the Renaissance and 19th century. She reports that she hopes “to learn something new which history books rarely talk about”.
Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia, will be speaking on the topic of “The Secret to Innovation” at BlackRock San Francisco office. Guess what Sharon’s secret is?
I will be back Brighton, on the English coast, attending a dinner with 50 other women who are making a positive impact in their field. The event is being hosted by Jo-Anne Goddan, one of the women that introduced me to the concept of using finance as a tool for social change.
What is special about the Women Effect community is the collective passion to engage in events actively empowering women and girls isn’t isolated to this one day. These investors, philanthropists, wealth advisors, fund managers, academics and experts focus on improving the lives of women and girls through investment every single day.
We would love to know what you are doing on IWD, and every other day, to support women and girls. Share with us on Twitter by tagging @WomenEffect.