Celebrating the 100th International Women's Day
W3BF WORLDWIDE WOMEN in BANKING AND FINANCE is proud to launch its new website on International Women's Day 2011.
W3BF is designed as a business networking, 'trading post' and executive education and training centre for women in developed and emerging markets to connect and grow their economies and contribute to the economic development of their societies for the betterment of all its citizens.
W3BF encourages you and your banking and finance colleagues, both men and women, to make a difference, think globally and act locally. IWD is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
Since 2000 the new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female bank CEOs, regulators, astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'.
W3BF encourages you and your banking and finance colleagues to make a difference, think globally and act locally. Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for all women, young and experienced remains bright, equal, safe and rewarding.
Last year W3BF's holding company, Risk Reward Ltd sponsored five W3BF Summer Internships for young women and men seeking careers in banking and finance: Katya (Russian Federation- International Marketing and Communications), Charlotte (Financial Crime), Chamari (Russian Banking and Finance), Clare (USA Banking Regulators and Regulatory Updates, Women in International Banking) and Alexander (Mexican Banking and Government PPP/PFI Investment). Each conducted researchprojects, prepared and delivered presentations and produced high- quality written reports.
Among our own executive staff W3BF hosted 'Bring Your Daughter to Work' Day, for two 11-year old girls who spent the day visiting their fathers at work and using their internet search skills to create presentations on a country of their choice, national dress, local produce and foods, national flag and geopolitical maps. They then sat for photo session at the Chief Executive's desk with a desktop globe and 'pink' financial newspaper as a souvenir of the day. Later formal letters thanking them for participating in the Programme were signed by the CEO and posted to them along with an offer to apply for the Summer Internship programme in 5 years time. In 2011 we already have two summer interns enrolled, one from Saudi Arabia (Bank Internal Audit) and one British (Financial Crime).
Please make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for all women, young and experienced remains bright, equal, safe and rewarding.