A global e-discussion, “Make Financial Markets Work for Women,” was co-hosted by UN Women. It included participation by experts such as Henriette Kolb, head of the IFC Gender Secretariat; Christine Svarer, head of private sector engagement, CARE International UK; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, president and CEO of Women’s World Banking; and Charlotte Oades, global director of women’s economic empowerment at the Coca-Cola Company.
The second annual Power Shift Forum investigated the relationship between women and the world of finance. Academics, investors, finance experts, advisers, and entrepreneurs examined the conditions for women-owned businesses seeking capital, as well as a range of topics related to women and money.
A petition was launched to make increasing women’s financial inclusion one of the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This petition, which debuted at the Power Shift Forum, was signed by two Oxford professors: Andrew Hamilton, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford; and Peter Tufano, dean of the Saïd School. The petition was open for signing until June 6 and has since been delivered to the UN in New York.
“Women comprise half the world’s population but still face unequal economic opportunity, from subtle marginalization to violent exclusion,” notes Linda Scott, a professor from the Saïd Business School who is one of the founders of Power Shift. “In developing economies, women are 20 percent less likely than men to have a bank account; in both developed and developing countries, women have lower financial literacy levels than men; there is a US$285 billion gender gap in capital access for women-owned businesses; and women are massively underrepresented in financial sector jobs. Gender inequality sets up economies to fail, but appropriate financial services can help improve family welfare and spur small enterprise activity, helping economies to grow faster and reduce income inequality.”
More information about Oxford’s initiatives can be found at www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/community/our-people/women.
WOMEN AND THE MBA
Oxford University isn’t just studying issues of women and finance; it’s providing a new scholarship designed to attract more women into the field of business. The Saïd Business School’s EMBA Scholarship for women is being offered in association with the 30% Club, which works to advance the representation of women in senior business roles. The hope is that the scholarship will raise awareness of the opportunities that business schools offer women, according to Kathy Harvey, director of the Oxford Executive MBA. Currently only 20 percent of the school’s EMBA students are women.
Says Harvey, “Business schools are not getting the MBA message across sufficiently clearly to high-potential women in business. An MBA can create a bridge to the kind of boardroom performance which should be within the grasp of many high-potential women managers, and not enough of them are taking advantage of this opportunity.” Along with the scholarship, worth £32,000 (about US$53,500), the recipient will have access to mentoring and advice from both Saïd Business School and senior members of the 30% Club community.