June 27, 2014; No. CCXIX

No. CCXIX; June 27, 2014
Special Issue: GLOBAL SUMMIT OF WOMEN 2014, No. 1

With a record-breaking attendance of 1,241 delegates from 82 countries, the 2014 Global Summit of Women, hosted by France on June 5-7th, was given a generous and warm welcome from Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Opening Ceremony, from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius at the “Doing Business with France” session, from newly-elected Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at the “Mayor’s Forum”, and from Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacemthroughout the Summit, which she chaired.

Prime Minister Valls, Minister Vallaud-Belkacem and Ms. Natividad Photo credit: H. Hamon/Ministere des Droits des Femmes.

President Jahjaga, Prime Minister Valls, Minister Vallaud-Belkacem, and First Lady Rosmah Photo credit: H. Hamon/Ministere des Droits des Femmes.

Minister Laurent Fabius Photo credit: H. Hamon/Ministere des Droits des Femmes.

Malaysia’s First Lady Datin Rosmah Mansor, Chair of the 2013 GSW, led the largest delegation at the Summit with 89 women corporate and entrepreneurial leaders.  China’s Vice Chair of the All-China Women’s Federation Meng Xiaosi came with 81 women in business.  Coming in third largest with 77 delegates was the United States, while fourth place went to Spain with 70.  Given the location, European participation comprised over half of the delegates, with France naturally having the largest representation at 315 registrants.  “The Summit aims to be truly global, and it reached that goal in Paris where participation ranged from Austria to Armenia to Algeria to the Americas,” states Summit President Irene Natividad.

In various Summit sessions, leaders from government and business delved into the various ways women can speed up their progress in their nations’ economies as executives, entrepreneurs and as workers.  The focus was on solutions, whether in policies and programs, that could be shared across borders and across industries. Above all, the delegates learned what ‘global’ really means through the very women who were there in Paris at this 24-year-old business/economic forum for women.


Thirty-five Ministers covering a variety of portfolios from health to gender equity to international trade to mineral resources gathered at a pre-Summit Roundtable to share specific programs or policies they have led in their respective countries that could advance the status of women or girls.  France’s Minister Vallaud-Belkacem kicked off the Roundtable by sharing her country’s success in utilizing a quota to increase the presence of women on the boards of France’s largest corporations.  She was joined by Chairman and CEO of Invest in France Agency and CEO of Ubifrance Muriel Penicaud who discussed why companies responded to this quota law within the context of a larger discussion of what the private sector can do overall to increase women’s access to corporate leadership roles.

Minister Vallaud-Belkacem and Muriel Penicaud

Women government ministers at Ministerial Roundtable.

The majority of projects brought forward by the Ministers, however, covered a variety of ways to raise the number of women entrepreneurs in their countries, whether it’s through early financing or training or coaching by established business owners.  International Finance Corporation/World Bank Vice President Nena Stolijkovic expounded on the need for infrastructure development to accelerate entrepreneurial growth, and she announced the IFC/World Bank partnership with Goldman Sachs to raise US$600 million capital for women-owned enterprises.

The idea which gained traction at the Roundtable was one introduced by Samoa and UN International Trade Center Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez — a government contracts quota for women-owned businesses.  This is an initiative already undertaken by the Samoan government to ‘grow’ women-owned enterprises by giving them access to government contracting. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE


The ringing of the Opening Bell at the Paris Stock Exchange (Euronext) by Summit President Irene Natividad and Minister Vallaud-Belkacem with women board directors, CEOs and executives on June 4th, kicked off not only the 2014 GSW but also underscored a theme running throughout the Summit – ‘Redesigning Economies’ by adding women to corporate leadership.  Click here for Market Open Video.

Summit President Natividad and Minister Vallaud-Belkacem

Awardees at the Global Women’s Leadership Awards Ceremony 

In a report by Corporate Women Directors International – the research arm of the Global Summit of Women – on “Women Directors of the Fortune Global 200”, France’s largest companies led all others with 29.7% board seats held by women.  The average percentage of women directors, however, in the 200 largest companies in the world based in 26 countries was 17.3%, or a mere 1% yearly increase for the last 10 years.  Quotas in France and other countries have been instrumental in speeding up the number of women appointed to board seats.  For the Financial Times article on key CWDI findings, click here.)

French companies with over 30% of their boards comprised of female directors were given Corporate Champion Awards at the Summit’s Gala Dinner to CEOs or Chairs of GDF Suez, Orange, Kering, Societe Generale, Technip.  Equally important, the Global Women’s Leadership Awards was given to European Vice President Viviane Reding, who introduced a 40% quota for women directors in the region’s largest economies.  (For more on Summit awardees, click here.)

Outside of quotas, other initiatives that work to open doors to the corporate board room for women were shared at a Board Diversity Roundtable, which looked at stock exchange listing requirements, shareholder proxy statements, industry-specific mandates, among other efforts that moved the needle for women’s inclusion on corporate boards.


Responding to a 2013 GSW challenge from Taj France CEO Gianmarco Monsellato to include more men at the Summit, several male CEOs and executives were invited to share their views and to attend this year’s global gathering in Paris.  An all-male CEO Forum on “Redefining the Marketplace – the Business Case for Gender Equity” brought together Sodexo’s CEO Michel Landel, Societe Generale’s CEO Frederic Oudea, Technip’s CEO Thierry Pilenko, Taj-Deloitte CEO Gianmarco Monsellato, and former CEO of Orange, Telstra and US West Sol Trujillo to discuss the business impact of gender diversity in their respective companies.  Former Booz Inc CEO Shumeet Banerji led the discussion.

All the CEOs agreed that metrics should be used to measure managerial performance in implementing diversity in the same way that other factors are measured in terms of corporate performance.  All agreed as to the necessity of gender balanced teams for future growth given shrinking workforces, a more diverse global market and the sheer ‘rightness’ of an inclusive workforce.  Technip CEO Thierry Pilenko, however, reminded everyone that metrics aside, what matters is the ‘heart’, the personal commitment to do what is right because a CEO believes in it.

The photo of the all-male CEO Forum without explanation of context generated some early negative social media, which was effectively rebutted by a Slatemagazine piece basically underscoring the need for men’s voices  to arrive faster at gender equity.  “This is an important dialogue to have – why we need men with us in the battle for equal rights in the workplace,” adds Summit President Irene Natividad.  (Click here for Slate article)

In keeping with the Summit’s focus on promoting women’s economic opportunities, a first-ever GSW Women Start-up Hackathon was organized by Grandes Ecoles au Feminin (GEF) and the new digital school “Ecole 42″.  The Hackathon offered an opportunity for women students to pitch a start-up idea, form a team, and develop the project starting at the opening of the Summit on June 5 and concluding with the announcement of the winners at the Summit’s Closing Ceremony on June 7.

40 women presented their start-up ideas, from which 13 were elected to compete over the course of two days and nights.  The project leaders chose other male and female students – designers, marketers, programmers, and finance specialists – to join their team.  After the intense activity of planning and developing the projects, a jury evaluated the 13 projects and announced the winners of the prizes, including three or six free months in an incubator, or a free entrepreneurship course at ESSEC. Click here to see the winning projects.

Winners of GSW Women Start-Up Hackathon

Youth Forum Panel: J. Parks, F. Verzelen, L. Puyfaucher, and M. Marcel

25 French University student-delegates to the 2014 Global Summit of Women

The Hackathon was just one aspect of the Summit’s outreach to young women.  140 French university students participated in the Summit’s Youth Forum on June 6, in which they had the opportunity to hear from three young women who have already established successful careers.  Joining the Youth Forum panel were Florence Verzelen, Director of Procurement Performance Plan and the former CEO of GDF Qatar; Laetitia Puyfaucher, CEO of Pelham Media; and Melanie Marcel, Co-Founder of SoScience!  Their basic message — take a risk!

In addition to the students attending the Youth Forum, the Summit once again provided 25 university students with full registrations for the three-day Summit, so as to expose them to global role models whom they wouldn’t meet otherwise and who are not covered in business textbooks.  “It is young people who will “redesign” economies of the future, so it’s important that their eyes are opened from the beginning of their careers,” states Clarisse Reille, President of the Grandes Ecoles au Feminin and member of the French Host Committee for GSW 2014. TO SEE HACKATHON VIDEO, CLICK HERE.

Don’t miss the 2015 Global Summit of Women in Sao Paulo Brazil!

France’s Minister for Women, Cities, Youth, and Sports Najat Vallaud-Belkacem hands over the Summit to Brazilian delegates at the Closing Ceremony of the 2014 Summit in Paris.

Subscribe by clicking here.

Global Summit of Women
1100 G St. NW, Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20005  USA
tel: 202-835-3713 / fax: 202-466-6195
email: summit@globewomen.com