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Powering up Half the World: Giving Women’s Voices a Megaphone

Empowered women power the world. Women are a vital source of global growth, prosperity and innovation. Their contributions drive commerce, communities and society as a whole. Yet, women find their perspectives underrepresented in important centers of influence and still fight to get their voices heard in some of the most fundamental political, economic and cultural conversations.IMG_0417

Last week, New York City hosted the 10th annual Women in The World Summit, a platform started by Tina Brown, which gives voice to exceptional women leaders, activists and emerging icons. I was honored to attend and participate in these conversations.

Women in The World addresses the fundamental challenges faced by women around identity, education, employment, treatment in the workplace, and economic empowerment. The platform shares Mastercard’s broad approach to supporting empowerment, which is why we’ve been long-standing partners.

Together—with Women in The World and other partners—we’re making gender equality a central, guiding theme, not only in our diversity and inclusion efforts and hiring practices, but in our business strategy in general. Being part of such an organization brings a strong sense of fulfillment to my work. Here are some of my favorite examples of how Mastercard is looking to advance the journey toward gender equality around the world:

  • Mastercard in partnership with Grameen America has digitized loan disbursements to over 100,000 women entrepreneurs.
  • In partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity and local mobile networks, Mastercard powers secure, digital disbursement of alimony payments, sparing divorced women the hassle and indignity of queuing monthly for cash payments.
  • Mastercard’s PayGo technology enables digital, “pay-as-you-go” access to solar power and clean water. Off-grid consumers benefit from affordable mobile payments and also build a credit history. Sustainable electricity brings significant benefits to women and children, including the ability to complete housework after sunset, take on home-based jobs and extend study hours.
  • Mastercard just celebrated the fifth anniversary of its signature education platform, Girls4Tech. The program cultivates young technology enthusiasts to help narrow the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This hands-on, inquiry-based STEM program has reached more than 400,000 girls (ages 8-12) in 25 countries.
  • Mastercard’s commitment to diversity and equality is reflected in equal pay for women, generous parental leave, and same-sex partner coverage. Its return-to-work program gives experienced, mid-career professionals, who took a break from their careers, an opportunity to re-enter the workplace.

When women grow, economies grow. At Mastercard, the commitment to women’s empowerment is a consistent thread through our business, products, partners and employees.  Women in the World was a strong reminder both of the progress that’s already been made, as well as the need to keep powering that megaphone!