New York Citi and the Citi Foundation today announced support for two initiatives with a mission to advance the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women around the world. The Citi Foundation and Citi Women have launched a Vital Voices program to connect a global network of women business leaders with women entrepreneurs to grow their small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and foster broader economic opportunity. Working with Women's World Banking (WWB), the Citi Foundation also announced its support for the Women in Leadership program developed by WWB's Center for Microfinance Leadership. The announcement comes on the eve of International Women's Day, which Citi will mark with more than 190 events in 87 countries around the world to foster inspiration and recognize women for great achievements in economic and social progress.
"Having a team that reflects the diversity of our clients and communities is critical to our success as a global organization," said Citi CEO Michael Corbat. "In addition to the activities we have planned for International Women's Day, we're proud to announce collaborations with Vital Voices and Women's World Banking that will enhance economic opportunities for women around the world for years to come."
The Citi Foundation's collaboration with Vital Voices will enable them to expand their core programming, addressing a critical need to provide training and assistance to underserved women-owned SMEs in key countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. Leveraging local, regional and global partnerships, Vital Voices will match women entrepreneurs with business leaders from Citi and other companies to strengthen their decision-making power and effectiveness as business owners, and catalyze the sustainable growth of their businesses. The collaboration will benefit from a $165,000 investment from the Citi Foundation and the reach of Citi Women, a company-wide effort to foster the ongoing development of women leaders, from recruitment to senior management, as well as Citi clients in the diversity dialogue.
"Across Citi we have a large network of women business leaders with a wide array of skills and experience," said Deborah McWhinney, Chief Operating Officer, Citi Global Enterprise Payments, and Co-Head of Citi Women. "We are excited about the opportunity to link our employees with Vital Voices' entrepreneurs that have the commitment and tenacity but may lack connections or technical expertise needed to take their business to a level where they can contribute to broader economic development by creating jobs."
A long standing Citi partner, WWB created the Center for Microfinance Leadership to train CEOs and senior managers of microfinance institutions to successfully build diverse, innovative organizations that better serve low-income women. The Center's Women in Leadership Program aims to enhance the leadership capacity of women in microfinance institutions. The five-day leadership development program provides opportunities for women to analyze their leadership style and build a personal development plan. With $400,000 in funding support from the Citi Foundation, WWB will train women leaders from microfinance institutions in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
"The Citi Foundation is pleased to support the Women in Leadership Program's mission to develop the next generation of women leaders within the microfinance industry," said Pamela Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation. "In many countries, women make up the majority of clients of microfinance institutions, and by developing a pipeline of future women leaders, we will continue to build stronger microfinance financial institutions that maintain the client at the heart of efforts to broaden financial inclusion."
Highlights from Citi's 190 International Women's Day celebrations around the world include:
In New York, Citi is hosting the launch of the National Council for Research on Women's (NCRW) new report identifying strategies that companies are implementing to advance women of color. The report distills information gathered over a two-year period and includes case studies of eight major corporations.
In Boston, employees and clients will hear from Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Chair and Director of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, management consultant and author, for a discussion on "Enabling Progress and Leadership for Change."
Approximately 1,000 employees in Mumbai, India, will be participating in 11 events throughout March to celebrate International Women's Day, including a Women's Day High Tea and virtual training programs.
Asia Pacific CEO Stephen Bird will kick off seven employee events in Hong Kong celebrating International Women's Day and a client event highlighting the importance of gender diversity in the workplace.
Europe, Middle East and Africa
In Istanbul, Turkey, employees are hosting three events targeting cancer awareness and women executives are speaking to female students on how to advance their careers.
In Bahrain, Citi employees are attending workshops to increase awareness on healthy eating and learn tactics to beat stress in the workplace.
In Nairobi, Kenya, clients, employees and the Global Give Back Circle are participating in a panel discussion on the role of women in business in East Africa and will be paired with mentors and mentees.
In Mexico City, Citi's Women Council is inviting clients to share professional success stories with female journalists and encouraging women to support their female colleagues and peers.
In San Salvador, El Salvador, Citi clients and employees will discuss the importance of women helping women, the growth of corporate social responsibility and opportunities to volunteer in the community.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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The Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, Youth Education and Livelihoods, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Enterprise Development to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.