Photo: Standard Chartered GOAL initiative, Nigeria.
Empowering women and girls has become a global priority for the development community. Not only do women and girls face a significant set of disadvantages, with many girls forced to leave school to look after their families or compelled to engage in hazardous working environments, girls are particularly at risk because of lower rates of education and literacy. At the same time, educating and empowering girls and women has a significant multiplier effect on economic growth. It leads to increased prosperity not just for individuals but for their communities and their societies. Women, the main caretakers of their children, tend to reinvest 90% of what they earn into their families, resulting in better education, health and nutrition outcomes.
A growing number of companies are also prioritising women empowerment – either engaging through the core business, through social investment and at the policy level, often in partnership with donors and civil society. These type of collaborative arrangements increase opportunities to innovate and also enable more sustainable impact at scale. And as the number of players supporting women and girl empowerment grows, so too does the scope for consolidating and co-ordinating activities to reduce duplication of effort, process inefficiencies, and competition for the time and commitment of local stakeholders, especially government representatives.
Against this backdrop, Business Fights Poverty has teamed up with Standard Chartered to explore the question: “How can we strengthen collaboration in support of women and girl empowerment?”. Key questions include:
1. Where are the greatest opportunities to engage business in support of girl and women empowerment?
2. Where are the innovations happening to empower women and girls, and what are we learning about what works?
3. How can we overcome silos and fragmentation of effort to achieve greater impact?