Women constitute half of the world’s population, and yet in many parts of the world, including Asia, they have unequal access to resources, income and education and are still under-represented in the bodies that make the key decisions affecting their lives.
At MasterCard, we believe that when you educate a woman, you educate and empower a community.
Studies have shown that investing in women’s education and employment reduces poverty and encourages economic growth and development. As the World Bank puts it, “gender equality is smart economics.”
That’s why we work with our NGO partners across the Asia Pacific region to provide basic, financial and business literacy to women and girls. In Myanmar, we’ve partnered with Mercy Corps to educate small farmers and fledging entrepreneurs, many of whom are women, on basic business skills and money management. As Myanmar begins to open up to the world, creating new economic opportunities for its citizens, knowledge of business and basic finance will be crucial to creating a brighter future.
MasterCard also supports a broad range of women’s and children’s causes through scholarships, financial assistance, educational programs and various sustainability programs, helping to provide women with the knowledge and skills required to be independent, support themselves and their families.
It is in this spirit that we developed Project Inspire with the Singapore Committee for UN Women, a project aimed at engaging young people around the world to empower disadvantaged women.
We’ve also partnered with the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) to launch the MasterCard – INCEIF Scholarship for Women, aimed at boosting the pipeline of female talent in the Islamic finance sector.
Most recently, we launched Girls4Tech workshops in India to encourage middle school girls to develop an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. This hands-on, inquiry-based educational workshop is centered on finding ways to show that Math and Science can be exciting, and was created in conjunction with MasterCard’s top engineers.
Additional partners we’ve collaborated with on educational and sustainability programs include Hapinoy in the Philippines, BURO Bangladesh, Grameen Foundation in Indonesia, Bright China Foundation, Self-Employed Women’s Association in India, Literacy India, Akanksha Foundation in India, Room to Read in Hong Kong, Junior Achievement in Singapore, and Aidha in Singapore .
Altogether, our initiatives have impacted more than 200,000 women and girls, who have taken the first step towards creating a better future for themselves, their families and communities. By 2020 we hope to make that more than 400,000.
Women play a pivotal role in society – as role models, business leaders, and community builders – and we endeavor to empower even more women and girls to be positive change-makers.