Third Billion Campaign Launched in New York City

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Top executives from Goldman Sachs, 10,000 Women, Ernst and Young and the World Bank attend. Campaign also has support of Accenture, The Coca-Cola Company and Standard Chartered Bank.

A major new global initiative, the Third Billion Campaign, aimed at expanding women’s employment, access to finance, markets and education, launched in New York City today. The initiative of La Pietra Coalition, the Third Billion Campaign is spearheading the decade long campaign to galvanize corporations and NGO’s all over the world to tap into women’s economic potential as employees, entrepreneurs, producers and consumers.

In making the announcement Sandra Taylor, Senior Director of La Pietra Coalition, and the driving force behind the Third Billion Campaign said, “The evidence is clear: women are the emerging market with the greatest potential for accelerating global economic growth over the next decade. Investing in women will transform their lives and lead to prosperity for their families, their communities and for business globally.”

In other words: if women’s economic potential can be successfully harnessed and leveraged, it would be the equivalent of having an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce, contributing to the global economy: often referred to as the “third billion.”

Dina Habib Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation said, “This effort recognizes what Goldman Sachs has seen over the past several years through our 10,000 Women program, which has provided business and management education to more than 5,000 female entrepreneurs in 42 countries. The economic empowerment of women is vital to growing more secure and stable economies and societies.”

The launch of the Third Billion Campaign, which will properly prepare and enable women, in both developing, emerging and industrialized nations---whose economic lives have been stunted, underleveraged or suppressed -- has the support and participation of major global corporations including The Coca-Cola Company, Ernst and Young, Accenture and Standard Chartered Bank, as well as the World Bank.

"Women are an emergent global force and a key accelerator to economic growth,” said Charlotte Oades, Global Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment for The Coca-Cola Company. “The Third Billion Campaign’s mission provides a much-needed focus on the importance of the empowerment of women as key to the future development of communities.” In 2010, The Coca-Cola Company launched 5 BY 20, a global initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the Coca- Cola value chain by 2020.

Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair of Ernst and Young said, “The vast potential of women as an economic force has yet to be realized." Beth Brooke will speak at the official launch of the Third Billion Campaign in New York and will be joined by DeAnne Aguirre, Senior Partner of Booz and Company; Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, David Browning Senior Vice President of TechnoServe; Dr. Victoria Kisyombe, founder and CEO of Sero Lease and Finance Corporation (SELFINA) of Tanzania; Pierella Paci, Manager of the Gender and Development Group, The World Bank; and Sandra Taylor who directs the Third Billion Campaign.

The Third Billion Campaign was a result of work carried out by Booz & Company’s analysis of International Labor Organization data on women in the global workforce. The Booz report determined that approximately 860 million women worldwide are “not prepared” -- lacking sufficient secondary education -- and/or “not enabled” -- lacking support from families and communities -- to take part in the world economy. The vast majority of these women, between the ages of 20 and 65 – 822 million – live in emerging and developing countries and the rest – 47 million – live in North America, Western Europe and Japan. Counting female births and those under age twenty, this number will add up to a billion in the next decade.

Over the next decade the Third Billion Campaign will provide a powerful platform for global companies to showcase their investments and engage with influential stakeholders from governments to NGO’s. Alyse Nelson, CEO of Vital Voices said, “The time has come for us all to unite behind a movement which is needed for long term economic stability, growth and production and one which we all recognize millions of women around the world are waiting for.” Victoria Kisyombe one of the featured panelists added, “The urgency of the situation is clear: Women are expected to help support their families but, particularly in rural areas, have virtually no employment opportunities. Small enterprises -- selling produce, groceries or other items -- are often the only alternative. But women lack access to productivity-enhancing technology, let along the basic assets necessary to start these businesses. We are ready, if we receive the tools, the skills and the financing to grow.”

To learn more about the Third Billion Campaign please visit our website http://www.thethirdbillion.org or email ShelbyMerkel(at)LaPietraCoalition(dot)org.

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