No. CCXLIII; June 24, 2016
SPECIAL EDITION: 2016 GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN
1,000 Women from 74 Countries Gather in Warsaw for 2016 Global Summit of Women
Continuing its 26-year history of gathering women leaders in business and government to increase women’s economic empowerment globally, the Global Summit of Women brought 1,000 women from 74 countries to Warsaw from June 11-13 for networking, discussion, inspiration, and celebration of women’s achievements.
Coming together under the theme of “Women: Building an Inclusive Economy in the Digital Age” to highlight the innovation and creativity women bring to the global marketplace, the largest delegation at the 2016 Summit came from China with 84 high-level entrepreneurs participating. Other large delegations included the United States with 70 attendees, Spain with 64, Vietnam with 63 entrepreneurial and government leaders led by Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, and Japan, the Host of the 2017 Summit, which arrived in Warsaw with 61 delegates.
“We were pleased to hold the Summit for the first time in Central Europe and to bring women from four continents to the city of Warsaw,” said Summit President Irene Natividad. “The diverse group of women leaders who joined the Summit – whether from Azerbaijan, Australia, Namibia and everywhere in between – created a dynamic spirit they will bring back to their countries, energized to continue the work of improving the economic lives of women in their countries, companies, and communities.”
Natividad pointed out at the Summit’s Opening Ceremony that “We are experiencing a time of unprecedented demographic and social upheaval as more than 60 million people flee wars and poverty, and that it is women who are at the nexus of these upheavals. Women can be the creators of solutions to these upheavals,” she said, “if governments and businesses tap women’s considerable talents and skills so they can maximize economic growth”.
The need for economies to become more inclusive was illustrated in an OECD Economic Survey of the United States issued last week. The report stated that discrimination against women and minorities has held back the US economy from a fuller recovery following the economic recession. (Source: Washington Post, 6/18/16) The 2016 Summit agenda was permeated with solutions to making economies more inclusive for women, whether through greater access to leadership positions or more creative ways to use technological tools.
In her remarks in the Summit’s Opening Plenary session on “Global and Regional Megatrends,” Marie Lalleman, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Global Retailers for Nielsen, expanded on the potential for women to make a difference, pointing out that 90 million women will enter the global workforce in the next two years and that by 2020, women will control $28 trillion of global consumer spending. To hear more of Lalleman’s remarks, click here or video below.
Irina Bokova Receives Global Women’s Leadership Award
The Global Summit of Women was honored to present its Global Women’s Leadership Award to Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova at the Summit’s Gala Dinner in Warsaw. The Summit awarded Bokova for her fervent efforts to improve access to education for girls worldwide, her emphasis on cross-cultural dialogue as a key to peace, and her fight for human rights.
In her remarks upon receiving the Award, Bokova urged Summit attendees to be “stubborn to achieve equality and a better life for our societies.” To hear more of Bokova’s message, click here.
The Summit also presented Poland’s Women’s Leadership Award to Henryka Bochniarz, Founder of the Congress of Women and President of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers (Lewiatan). Ms. Bochniarz is a leader of the business community in Poland and one of the most important voices in the European dialogue on diversity. A strong supporter of the rising presence of women in business and political life, she has led the Congress of Women to its status as an important social movement and the initiator of parity legislation in Poland.
Women Open Warsaw Stock Exchange to Mark Summit in Poland
Fifty women board directors and executives led by President of the Global Summit of Women and Chair of the Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI) Irene Natividad opened the Warsaw Stock Exchange on June 8 to salute Poland’s hosting of the 2016 Global Summit of Women. Brought together by CWDI, the research arm of the Global Summit of Women, the Market Open also marked the important contributions Polish women have made to the nation’s economy.
Joining Natividad for the Market Open were women Board Directors of WSE-listed companies, CEOs and executives, including Beata Stelmach CEO of GE Poland and the Baltics; Wioleta Rosolowska, Country Manager for L’Oreal Polska and Board Director of Bank Pekao; Kryztyna Boczkowska, President of the Board of Robert Bosch Poland; and Dorota Pomacho-Patkiewicz, Managing Director of Pandora CEE, among other Polish leaders. Participating from abroad were Chair of Air Asia Philippines Marianne Hontiveros; CEO of Poppins, Inc Noriko Nakamura (Japan); CEO of Pavimentos Colombia Luz Maria Jaramillo; and South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry along with others from the US, Spain, France, Mexico, and Vietnam.
The event marked the 16th Market Open organized by CWDI. Other openings have taken place with women business leaders at NASDAQ in New York, the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Istanbul Stock Exchange, the Madrid Stock Exchange, the Sao Paolo Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Zurich Stock Exchange, the Bursa Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, the Deutsche Boerse in Frankfurt, Euronext (Paris Bourse), the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney, and the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Click here to see what else will be happening at 2016 Summit in Poland.
Almost 40% of Top Companies in Central and Eastern Europe have 0 Women Board Directors
Nearly 40% of the blue chip companies in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) fail to have a single woman on their Board of Directors, according to Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), which released its report at the 2016 Global Summit of Women today in Warsaw.
In all, women account for only 15.5% of directors serving on the boards of the 245 blue chip companies in the region, placing the CEE region well behind North America (20.4%), Western Europe (22.6%) and Northern Europe (34.4%). “While there is global momentum – largely driven by Western Europe — to increase the presence of women board directors globally, CEE companies are being left behind in moving women to the inner sanctum of the corporate board room,” states Irene Natividad, CWDI Chair. “This is an ironic situation since women in the CEE region have an average representation of 35% in senior corporate positions, so there’s clearly a pool of educated and experienced female executives from which to draw future directors.”
Among the countries represented by companies in the study, Latvia leads the way with 27.2% of board seats held by women in its blue chip companies – 8% more than the regional average of 15.5%. Other best performing countries are Croatia with 20.1% women-held board seats in its largest companies, followed by Bulgaria at 19.7% and Slovenia at 19.3%.
To improve women’s access to board seats, the report recommends the use of strategies which have been successfully employed in other parts of Europe. The most effective initiative is the use of legislative mandates, or quotas, for women directors, which began with Norway, but which is now in place in 22 other economies, whether for state-owned or publicly-listed companies. The report also recommends the inclusion of gender diversity in corporate governance codes, a private sector initiative in 27 countries which has improved women’s access to board seats, and which Central & Eastern Europe can adopt to bring about more diverse boards.
For more key findings, click here.
Young Tech Talent at the 2016 Summit
To encourage the next generation of women in business, the Summit kicked off its Opening Ceremony with four young Polish entrepreneurs and inventors introducing themselves and their products. Olga Malinkiewicz, CEO of Saule Technologies, explained her invention which allows for solar energy to be accessible and affordable. Dorota Zys, CEO of SaasGenius, mentioned her application which was launched to be the “Yelp for Apps.” Bianka Siwinska, CEO of Perspectywy Education Foundation, shared that she has already trained over 100,000 girls in technology, and Zuzanna Stanska, CEO of Moiseum and Daily Art, discussed her mobile app which presents one piece of fine art every day. To hear from each of them, click here or video below.
Malinkiewicz also took part in the featured Women Entrepreneurs Forum, while Zys, Siwinska, and Stanska were panelists in the Summit’s Youth Forum, which allowed for over 100 male and female business students from Poland to hear from these young Polish innovators. In addition, 20 Polish students were selected for scholarships to the full three-day Summit. These Polish students joined students from Kobe College in Japan, University of Valencia from Spain, and graduate engineering students from Oregon State University in the US and Sciences Po in France as participants in the Summit.
To foster entrepreneurial skills among the young, a Hackathon took place the weekend before the Summit. The winner of the Hackathon — a contest for young women to create apps serving community needs – will receive technology and entrepreneurial coaching to develop her project. “Young people’s economic creativity that use the tools of technology must be fostered, because they are the doors to productivity in the 21st century,” said Natividad.
To See More Photos of the 2016 Global Summit of Women, Click here
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