Archive for April 2012

Top Global Women

Looking through Diplomatic Courier magazine’s 2012 list of Top Global Women, it comes as no surprise to see names such as President Dilma Rousseff and Aung San Suu Kyi, not to mention a number of impressive women’s rights activists. I am pleased, however, to see business women making more and more appearances on such international lists of influential women. I suppose this is occurring both because women are rising in the business world and because the importance of women’s economic leadership is increasingly recognized.

The 2012 list has executives like Cher Wang, co-founder of HTC of smartphone fame, and Chanda Kochhar, head of ICICI Bank. Significantly, leaders of chambers of commerce are recognized: Christine Martey-Ochola, co-founder of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce; and Selima Ahmad, founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Women Chefs Taking Taste Beyond Borders

SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council which was established in the year 2001 in Sri Lanka, has been organizing events in Kathmandu, Nepal on the occasion of International Women’s Day with the objective of developing and promoting women entrepreneurs in the South Asian region.

On the occasion of 102nd International Women’s Month, SCWEC organized an event, “Women Chefs Taking Taste beyond Borders,” on 30th March, 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The woman chefs were from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. It provided a platform to women chefs from South Asia to share their challenges and achievements of their career. It was an inspirational event for women looking forward to develop their career in the culinary industry.

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How Confidence Affects Women

A recent post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network (HBR) explores behaviors of women that can hold them back in the professional arena. The article cites studies which show that only half of women display high self-confidence while the other half admit to feelings of self-doubt regarding their performance. This lack of confidence translates into a reluctance to apply for jobs or promotions.

The article lists four ways women unintentionally sabotage the development of their careers. Included on the list are being overly modest, a reluctance to ask for help or about new opportunities, trying to blend in, and remaining silent instead of speaking up and adding to the discussion. All of these actions can lead to being overlooked in the workplace when a new job opens up or it is time for a promotion. Not necessarily due to a lack of ability, but because managers are not aware of their female employees’ capabilities. Continue reading ‘How Confidence Affects Women’ »

What shapes women’s economic opportunities?

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently launched the 2012 Women’s Economic Opportunity Index (WEO).

The WEO is a new index that measures the policy and other inputs behind women’s economic participation, both as employees and business owners, in 128 countries. It uses information from other indexes, such as the World Bank’s “Women, Business, and the Law,” but it differs from other work in terms of its breadth.

The WEO measures more than just laws and regulations – it attempts to quantify and analyze difficult-to-quantify, yet important things like access to childcare. (Indeed, that is one of their indicators in the category of “Labor Practice.”)

This new index is useful because it can be an advocacy tool for groups looking to pressure policymakers on certain policy points. Because the WEO looks at input variables, rather than output variables, it helps provide background information for better suggestions about where and how countries should improve. Most other indexes are limited to demonstrating the extent of gender inequality. The WEO goes beyond that to try to explain why inequality exists.

The WEO report online weighs the variables in each category equally. However, a desktop tool is scheduled to come out that will allow users to weigh their own variables depending on what is most important to women’s economic opportunities in particular country contexts. That desktop tool will also provide a platform for comparing multiple countries side by side.

To learn more, I recommend you check out the Index. It is available online at

Like other indexes, the WEO is a tool, not an end in itself.  Its usefulness depends on how it is used. Will you use it in your country?

Lauren Citrome

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