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March 31, 2017; No. CCXLXII

THIS ISSUE’S HIGHLIGHTS:
I.            WHERE WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES THRIVE
II.        CEOS IN FASHION INDUSTRY AT 2017 GSW
III.          ASPIRATIONS OF WORKING WOMEN DROP AT SENIOR LEVEL
IV.          CALL FOR MORE DIVERSITY IN NEWSROOM


I. WHERE WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES THRIVE

While women’s entrepreneurship is often founded on necessity and grit, access to financial services and ease of doing business are conditions often necessary for women in business to progress, according to the recently-released Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs.

The Index found that more developed countries with robust small and mid-sized business communities along with a high quality of governance lead to more opportunities for women entrepreneurs to strive.  Countries leading the Index are New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., Sweden, and Singapore, where women entrepreneurs tend to thrive.

On the other hand, emerging economies such as Uganda, Bangladesh, and Vietnam have some of the highest percentages of women entrepreneurs, often driven by necessity as opposed to being inspired by business opportunities.

“The prevalence of ambitious, resourceful women should be regarded as a prime business opportunity,” said Martina Hund-Mejean, Chief Financial Officer for Mastercard.

According to the Index, some of the biggest obstacles that hinder women from starting businesses include lack of funding, regulatory restrictions, lack of entrepreneurial drive, socio-cultural restrictions, and lack of training.  (“Sheer Grit Spurs Women Entrepreneurs, but Supporting Conditions are Crucial for Them to Thrive,” Mastercard Press Release, March 7, 2017)

Successful strategies for addressing these hurdles will be found in Entrepreneurial track sessions at the 2017 Global Summit of Women, the ‘Entrepreneurs Forum’ featuring top women business owners, as well as in a special session on “Accelerating Entrepreneurship” on May 11-13 in Tokyo. To view the full Summit program, click here .


II. CEOs IN FASHION INDUSTRY AT 2017 GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN

Over 1,000 women leaders in business and government from over 60 countries are gathering in Tokyo, Japan for the 2017 Global Summit of Women from May 11-13.  Under the theme of Beyond Womenomics:  Accelerating Access, the Summit features global and national initiatives which speed up women’s access to economic opportunities and leadership roles, while marking the innovation and creativity that women bring to the global marketplace.  The innovation, creativity, and successful entrepreneurship of women around the globe is epitomized in four icons from the fashion and design industry who will be sharing their experiences in a featured session at the Summit – “The Business of Fashion and Design.”

Presenters in session on “Business of Fashion and Design”:
Sung Joo Kim, Hiroko Koshino, Josie Natori, Xia Hua

The four speakers are all leading figures in the business and fashion worlds in their country and globally.  Sung Joo Kim is the Founder and Chair of the Sungjoo Group, Korea’s fashion industry leader, and Chair and Chief Visionary Officer of MCM Holdings, Germany’s leading luxury brand whose products are coveted throughout the world.  In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, she is also President of the Korean Red Cross.  Hiroko Koshino, Founder of Hiroko Koshino Inc., a legend in the Japanese fashion industry for over 50 years, has played a major role in bringing Japanese haute couture fashion to a global audience through her shows throughout Europe, the US, and Asia, and through her mentorship of younger Japanese designers.

From the United States, Josie Natori found a niche in high-end intimate apparel when she started The Natori Company in 1978 and grew the eponymous brand which is found in leading department stores in dozens of countries.  Also joining the panel is Xia Hua from China, Founder and Chair of the Eve Group, which encompasses several high-end clothing brands focused on integrating traditional handcrafts with international fashion elements. The company currently operates over 500 stores across China

“Not only are these women successful in business,” says Summit President Irene Natividad, “They have also centered their careers on elevating all women.  The Summit is pleased to provide to its global audience the wisdom of these leading businesswomen who will further inspire the attendees to successfully expand their own businesses, while never forgetting to serve their communities.”

For more information on the Global Summit of Women and to see who else will be participating, visit www.globewomen.org/globalsummit.


III. ASPIRATIONS OF WORKING WOMEN DROP AT SENIOR LEVEL

Globally, the majority of women in the early stages of their professional career aspire for executive leadership, but ambition drops at the senior level.  This is a key finding from a recent report on working women’s ambitions and motivations conducted by EgonZehnder.  The survey finds that as seniority increases, women feel that promotions become increasingly challenging to obtain in the face of a greater need to overcome gender bias in the workplace.

The level of ambition does vary by country, though it is typically higher in developing economies, such as Brazil where 92% of women aspire to reach executive ranks.  This compares to 62% of U.S. women in junior or middle manager levels sharing the same aspiration.

Parents, both mothers and fathers, are credited with having the greatest influence on women’s careers globally, showing that early support is critical to a woman’s success. The role of a husband or father as a strong influence on women’s career ambitions highlights the importance of positive male support.

However, as women move up the ranks, there are fewer opportunities for advocacy and mentorship.  (“Egon Zehnder Leaders and Daughters Global Survey,” Feb 27, 2017).  At the 2018 Global Summit of Women, four male CEOs who are strong advocates for women’s access to corporate leadership are featured in a discussion forum on “Leading Diversity from the Top”, chaired by Angela Mackay, Managing Director of the Financial Times Asia.

Male CEOs at 2016 Global Summit of Women in Warsaw, Poland


IV. CALL FOR MORE DIVERSITY IN NEWSROOM

The annual Women’s Media Center report on the “Status of Women in the U.S. Media” shows that men continue to dominate the reporting of news on TV and in print.  On TV, men report 75% of broadcast news and in U.S. newspapers have 62% of bylines.  (Women’s Media center, “Divided 2017,” March 22, 2017).

However, employees at the Wall Street Journal — a leading source of business news in the U.S. and globally — are trying to bring about greater gender parity in the newsroom.  160 employees of the newspaper have sent a letter to senior editors pointing out the company’s lack of diversity, citing that “diversity is good for business.”

The employee’s letter also points out the gender pay gap in which female employees earn 86.8% of what men earn, a gap which is even larger for minority men and women at the paper.  Staffers are asking for diversity in hiring, more workplace flexibility and more transparency regarding salaries.  (“WSJ Staffers Sign Letter Criticizing the Control White Men Have Over the Newsroom,” Business Insider, March 28, 2017)

Lack of diversity in media outlets does not just affect workplace conditions, but also how and what issues are reported.  Women’s Media Center research finds a connection between the gender of the journalist and the news stories covered, as well as the use of diverse experts as sources and commentators.


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MAY 11-13, 2017


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