IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched a private sector partnership that will improve employment opportunities for more than 300,000 women over the next two years. The initiative was announced by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
The She Works partnership brings together 10 leading companies that have pledged to implement measures proven to enhance women’s employment opportunities – such as mentorship programs, flexible working arrangements, and leadership training to increase diversity in management. Participating companies include Belcorp, Care.com, The Coca-Cola Company, Ernst & Young, Gap Inc., Intel Corporation, Kuwait Energy, Odebrecht Group, Ooredoo Group, and Zulekha Hospitals. “Investing in women’s employment is not only the right thing to do—it’s also essential for business,” said Kim. “Companies that learn to effectively develop and retain women employees will gain a huge competitive advantage.”
Working with key partners, including the EDGE Certified Foundation, International Labour Organization, and the UN Global Compact, IFC will identify best practices and develop practical approaches that companies can implement to improve gender equality in the workplace. Better jobs for women leads to better development outcomes, because women spend more on children’s health, education, and nutrition. In support of these efforts, leading telecommunication company Ooredoo, which has a presence across the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, has committed to key pledges to enhance talent development across its operations.
H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman, Ooredoo Group and a member of the World Bank Group Advisory Council on Gender and Development, said: “Ooredoo supports the development of human growth in all our markets, with a particular focus on the empowerment of women. Our mobile services play a key role in opening new opportunities for women in markets as diverse as Iraq and Myanmar.” “In supporting the She Works partnership, we are ensuring that the positive impact of our services is matched by our internal commitments to our employees, so that we support empowerment at every level of our organization,” he added.
Despite evidence that women’s employment is vital to driving economic growth and development, women face persistent barriers in labor markets and are more concentrated in the informal economy—rather than in salaried or wage work. The private sector, which accounts for nine out of 10 jobs in developing countries, plays a critical role in creating better employment opportunities for women. She Works is part of IFC’s broader effort to help companies address gender gaps in employment, and thereby drive gains in productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.