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On the eve of International Women’s Day, the ExxonMobil Foundation and the United Nations Foundation today announced a collaboration to identify the most effective global investments that promote economic opportunities for women. The initiative will provide a roadmap for action by identifying various interventions countries can implement in different stages of economic development and for differing types of women’s economic participation.
The initiative is led by internationally recognized gender and social development expert Dr. Mayra Buvinic and will identify and evaluate practical and applicable program interventions. Prior to joining the research project, Buvinic served for six years as director of gender and development at the World Bank. She was also founding member and president of the International Center for Research on Women from 1978 to 1996 and chief of the social development division at the Inter-American Development Bank from 1997 to 2004.
“There is a crucial knowledge gap around the most effective investments that promote women’s economic opportunities,” said Buvinic. “Our goal is to create an innovative tool by convening some of the best experts in the field, including UN agencies, to join in a research effort to help close this critical gap.”
Research has demonstrated that when women – who make up half the world’s population – are empowered, entire communities and economies benefit. The World Bank stated in its 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development that “gender equality is a core development objective and is smart economics. It can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.”
The partnership between the United Nations Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation will build on recent research findings, including those of the 2012 World Development Report.
“The research is designed to tell us how best to help women build strong communities, through their own economic empowerment,” said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. “When women thrive economically, entire societies are transformed by becoming healthier, more stable and more prosperous. We are excited about this opportunity to add to the body of knowledge and to share the findings with the broad community engaged in investing in women.”