Last weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:
"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".
There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.
Some conclusions from the forum were:
Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis
It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.
The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.
Empowering Women makes Financial Sense
Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.
I’ve always loved this Amartya Sen quote: “Empowering women with more choices and more freedoms is crucial to achieving a better future for all.” If there is a catalyst to development and increased overall well-being, I believe that it lies in the empowerment of women and girls. In addition to fortifying women with more choices and freedoms in areas like education, healthcare, and nutrition, I think that one of the most powerful ways to expedite “a better future for all” is to give women greater economic freedom and opportunities.
Guest post by Lynda Russell-Whitaker.
'Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.
'Exactly so,' said Alice.
'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.
'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least — at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know.' Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Whilst humorous and entertaining, Alice’s conversation with the March Hare is a fantastical yet very commonplace example of the sort of misunderstandings – and frustrations - that can occur in a dialogue of two differing styles!
Dave Landry discusses some of the world's most powerful and inspirational businesswomen and the story of their success.
In this article, the founder of Packed Munches, Fiona Timba asks “How many times have you had an amazing business idea and done nothing about it?” and tells the NextWomen about her five top tips on turning that amazing business idea into an entrepreneurial success story.
In a tribute to US mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, who asserted that all mythical heroes experience the same 12 steps on their adventures, Ondina Montgomery draws parallels between Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and that of the entrepreneur.
In part 6 of the Journey, the hero learns the rules of her new world. During this time, she endures tests of strength of will, meets friends, and comes face to face with foes. Click here to read the fifth part of Ordina’s series, The Hero’s Journey Part V: Crossing The First Threshold.
September 9, 2014—Diversion Books published Innovating Women, a collection of candid, first-hand accounts of women in technology.
The NextWomen Social Entrepreneurship Theme
In India, there is no shortage of talented female social entrepreneurs. Women like Ela Bhatt, who in 1972 founded SEWA, the world’s first and largest trade union for undocumented women workers, as well as Women’s World Banking in 1979 - have been inspiring and leading women for generations.
Hina Shah, founder of The International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), has worked for over 25 years on scaling micro, small, and medium size businesses across 21 states of India.
World Leaders unite today in Davos for the World Economic Forum, a five day conference in which the most pressing issues facing the world are discussed. This year it is entitled "Shaping the Post-Crisis World." Business leaders, executives, politicians, intellectuals and journalists are expected to talk about the economic crisis and how to get through it, but they also due to cover topics such as environmental damage, corruption, energy or health. Themes can be found here.
Attendees in the forum have historically been primarily men, but this changed when Aude Zieseniss de Thuin founded the "Davos" Women's Forum for the Economy & Society in 2005 to promote a women’s vision on the economic and social issues of the world.
This year, these are the women that will be at Davos: