Women's Issues In Guyana

10,000 Women

Posted in Activism,Education,Gender Equality by wiig on March 8, 2008
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Stabroek News Editorial – March 8, 2008

On Wednesday last, the Goldman Sachs Group, Incorporated, launched a US$100 million five-year global initiative to provide 10,000 underprivileged women – predominantly in developing and emerging markets – with a business and management education. The company said the initiative is investing in a largely untapped yet significant resource, “the exponential power of women as entrepreneurs and managers”.

Goldman Sachs, founded by a German Jew in 1869, is today one of the world’s largest global investment banking, securities and investment management firms, that provides a wide range of services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base, that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. It has its headquarters in Manhattan and New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centres around the world.

Under its 10,000 women initiative, the company will partner with the Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford business schools in the US as well as universities in Afghanistan, Cairo, India, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Cape Town, Tanzania and some others in the US and Europe to offer women business and management certificates and a select number of Bachelors and Masters degrees. Goldman Sachs will fund the tuition costs and will also set up mentoring and networking channels for the women involved.

The programme will see women benefiting from short and long-term courses in marketing, accounting, market research, writing a business plan, strategic planning, accessing capital and e-commerce. There will also be a strong focus on capacity building and training of trainers.

Although it fits this year’s United Nations theme for International Women’s Day ‘Investing in Women and Girls’, 10,000 Women is not just a knee-jerk reaction to calls for more to be done to promote gender equality. It has been in the making for more than a year, inspired by economic research done by Goldman Sachs, which revealed that greater labour force participation by women can have a very powerful effect on economies and societies.

The research report, aptly titled ‘Women Hold Up Half the Sky’ has found that strengthening education for women is a critical and under utilized lever for economic growth in developing and emerging economies. The report also notes that the impact of female education is felt not only in women’s lifetimes, but in the health, education and productivity of future generations as well. “The economic growth that results from higher education feeds a virtuous cycle that supports continued improvements in education and health,” the report said.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Lloyd C Blankfein, said in launching the initiative that the company believed economic growth should be more broadly shared and was determined to use its resources to “help build the foundation to expand the ranks of businesswomen, managers and entrepreneurs around the world.” The company is in the process of setting up a similar programme, under the same initiative for disadvantaged women in the United States.

Lauding Goldman Sachs for the initiative, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do, since in women, “the world has at its disposal the most significant and yet largely untapped potential for development and peace”.

This potential remains untapped because around the world women still do not have equal access to education and economic opportunities. The investment banking/financial marketing sector has largely been a man’s world, while women tend to have more access to micro-credit schemes. 10,000 Women will balance the scales in this regard; in five years, 10,000 more women will be competing for jobs in the financial sector, setting up their own companies and training and employing other women. The overall benefit to the world will be astounding, and one hopes that other companies in other sectors will see the wisdom in implementing similar schemes.


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