December 15, 2017; No. CCXLXVII

December 15, 2017; No. CCXLXVII
THIS ISSUE’S HIGHLIGHTS:

I.              SYDNEY, 2018 GSW HOST, CELEBRATES HOLIDAY SEASON
II.         CWDI’S 21ST MARKETOPEN: COLOMBIAN STOCK EXCHANGE
III.           SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A SERIOUS INVESTMENT RISK
IV.           WOMEN AND THE WTO: PROGRESS?
V.            FIRST WOMEN-LED TECH IPO IN OVER ONE YEAR LAUNCHES


I. SYDNEY, HOST OF 2018 GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN, CELEBRATES HOLIDAY SEASON

As Sydney, Australia prepares to host the 2018 Global Summit of Women on April 26-28, 2018, the city has draped itself in lights for the holiday season.

1,000 delegates from over 60 economies will gather in Sydney under the theme of “Women: Creating Economies of Shared Value” to highlight the ability of women to develop a more inclusive economy as they advance their own businesses and careers.  A sampling of delegations planning to join this leading business and economic forum for women include China, Vietnam, Spain, Mexico, Mongolia, France and Kazakhstan, among others.  As in years past, the 2018 Summit focuses on fostering exchanges of strategies and solutions in advancing women’s economic status in both corporate an entrepreneurial arenas.Sydney Town Hall, the site of Australia’s Dinner for Summit delegates, and the International Convention Centre Sydney, the 2018 Summit venue decked out in holiday lights.
For more Sydney-in-Lights photos, click here.

For more information on the 2018 Global Summit of Women and to register to join this global gathering, go to www.globewomen.org/globalsummit.


II. CWDI’S 21st MARKET OPEN: COLOMBIAN STOCK EXCHANGE

Over 60 women directors, CEOs, and senior executives joined Chair of the Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI) Irene Natividad and Bolsa de Valores de Bogota CEO Juan Pablo Cordoba Garces, in opening the Colombian Stock Exchange on December 15 to salute the contributions of women to the Colombian economy.  The event also celebrated Colombia’s presence as a leader in Latin America in placing women on corporate boards.

“It’s important that women are seen as part of business traditions such as the ringing of the opening bell at the stock exchange,” Natividad said.  “Colombian women, whether they are CEOs, board directors, executives, or entrepreneurs have been drivers of tremendous growth in the Colombian economy over the past 30 years.  We are pleased to bring together some of these successful women to salute their achievements.”

CWDI Chair Natividad opens the Bolsa de Valores de Colombia with 60 women directors, CEOs and executives.

Some of the Colombian women leaders attending the Market Open included the CEO of infrastructure construction Pavimentos Colombia Luz Maria Jaramillo; CEO of energy company Terpel Silvia Escovar; CEO of communications firm Atrevia Colombia Carmen Sanchez-Laulhe; CEO of financial consultancy LarrainVial Colombia Maria Jose Ramirez; CEO of Pepsico Andean Region Monica Contreras; CEO of MetLife Colombia Juliana Tobon, and former EEB CEO Sandra Fonseca, among others.

Following the “bell-ringing” ceremony, Ms. Natividad shared CWDI research on women board directors in the Latin American region, highlighting Colombia’s percentage of 15.8%, which is significantly higher than the region’s largest economies, Brazil and Mexico, both of which have been mired between 5 and 6%.  However, Natividad and the attendees agreed that more efforts need to be made to increase the presence of women in the boardroom.

The Market Open in Bogota marked CWDI’s 21st stock exchange Market Open since 2006 organized by CWDI and its fourth to ring the opening bell in 2017.  Other CWDI Market Opens in 2017 were held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; and Tokyo, Japan.  For photos and videos of previous CWDI Market Opens, please visit, www.globewomen.org/cwdinet.


III.  SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A SERIOUS INVESTMENT RISK

While a growing list of prominent men accused of sexual assault or harassment is seen as a possible watershed moment in changing the culture, this moment, which is becoming a movement, also marks a wake-up call for corporations and investors.   The recent events have made it clear that companies with a workplace culture that fosters sexual harassment could find difficulties in attracting or retaining talented workers as well as risk losing customers and clients resulting in lost revenue.

Investors are now starting to pay attention and have a growing role in affecting corporate behavior by pressuring companies to root out bias and harassment as well as implement better risk-management policies.

“For a while, investors were able to say that they couldn’t address what they didn’t know about,” says Stu Dalheim, Director of Engagement at Calvert Research and Management, which engages in “responsible” investing.  “The case is getting stronger for investors to understand that there is risk in many companies. Corporate boards must be much more aggressive in enacting stronger compliance regimes for human resources.  Investors should be asking companies and corporate boards to do more.”

Recent studies by Morgan Stanley have found that companies at which women are well-represented and have pay parity and diversity-oriented policies tend to deliver higher investment returns with lower volatility.  In short, the presence of women in leadership positions can not only create a healthier workplace culture, but can also minimize risk and boost corporate returns.  (Barron’s, “Sexual Harassment is Becoming a Serious Investment Risk,” Nov. 4, 2017)

The Global Summit of Women’s Colloquium on Global Diversity which takes place in New York on February 22-23, 2018 at MetLife will feature further discussion on shareholders and investors push on diversity.  For more information on the Summit’s Diversity Colloquium, visit www.globewomen.org/globaldiversity.


IV. WOMEN AND THE WTO: PROGRESS?

Summit President Natividad discusses “Economic Gender Gaps, Trade and Economic Growth” at T-20.

For the first time in the history of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Trade and Commerce Ministers meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 12 announced that the WTO will now include gender-related language in the document that it will issueArancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the UN’s International Trade Centre indicated that 120 countries out of 160 WTO member economies have signed on to the document in recognition of the pivotal role that women have played in each nation’s economy and in their increasing role in trade as entrepreneurs.  Asked whether such a statement has an impact on the economies participating, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Francois-Philippe Champagne, indicated that it creates a ‘momentum’ toward change benefiting women.

In the preparatory meetings to the G-20, taking place at the same time as the WTO for which Argentina is the next Host, the T-20 (the think tank for the G-20) held a series of consultative sessions which featured women in far greater numbers than in prior years.  GlobeWomen President Irene Natividad, who serves on the Argentina T-20 Advisory Board, stated that “Economic forums from now on will be changed by the WTO decision by being more inclusive of women and delegates from developing economies.  I am heartened by the number of women experts who have presented in many sessions, whether they are Ministers, business or NGO leaders like myself,” she adds.


V. FIRST WOMEN-LED TECH IPO IN OVER ONE YEAR LAUNCHES

When Stitch Fix, an online clothing subscription company, went public with an IPO last month, it marked the first female-led tech company in the U.S. to go public in more than one year.   Overall, just 3% of American companies that went public from 1996-2013 were led by women, according to University of California/Davis research.  That figure, analysts say, is even lower in the male-dominated tech industry.

Stitch Fix, founded in 2011 and led by CEO Katrina Lake, has become a nearly US$1 billion revenue business with profitability in less than six years, a rise which has impressed people all across the tech and retail worlds. The IPO milestone, though, had special meaning for other female-founder-CEOs of internet companies who know the obstacles women still face in the tech world.

“I want her to have a huge positive outcome because it does something really important for female entrepreneurs,” Rent the Runway’s Founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman said.  “The more people like Katrina and myself who deliver results, the more other women are going to get opportunities.” (The Washington Post, “Stitch Fix Goes Public in the First Tech IPO led by a Woman This Year,” Nov 17, 2017)


Australian delegation at the Tokyo Summit in May 2017 announcing Australia as 2018 Host Country


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2018 GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
APRIL 26-28, 2018


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