INTERNATIONAL. In recognition of International Women’s Day, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation announced today US$6 million in grants to support economic opportunities for women around the world.
The grants fund initiatives that, in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and local governments, have been successful in improving living standards in developing countries and breaking historic barriers that have blocked women from the marketplace.
“Research tells us that the success of women entrepreneurs is key to building strong communities,” said Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “When women thrive economically, entire societies are transformed by becoming healthier, more stable and more prosperous.”
In the last six years, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation have invested over US$47 million to support the economic advancement of women. As a result, tens of thousands of women have benefited. For example, initiatives include:
• New irrigation technologies have been provided to women farmers in Benin allowing them to continue to farm throughout the country’s six-month dry season;
• Women in Ghana are receiving training to use agricultural technologies to increase their crop yields;
• Ugandan women are helping their communities get access to solar energy while growing their own businesses;
• More than 11,000 women in the developing world have received business training, mentoring support and access to networking opportunities; and
• Providing Indonesian women access to solar lanterns which allow them to be more productive after sundown.
In addition to investing in high-impact programs, ExxonMobil partners with leading academics and think tanks to support research and advocacy efforts that raise awareness about the critical role women play in building strong, stable communities.
“I commend ExxonMobil for recognizing that investing in women in emerging markets is both good corporate citizenship and good business," said Isobel Coleman, director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The 2011 grants are designed to promote entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing nations, bringing the total number of countries impacted to 93. “These grants include an increasing focus on technology as well as continuing support for skills development training, business networking and advocacy programs,” McCarron said.
This year's grant recipients include: Acumen Fund, the Coady International Institute, CEDPA (Centre for Development and Population Activities), the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Kopernik, Productive Agricultural Linkages and Marketing Solutions (P.A.L.M.S.), Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), Solar Sister, smallsolutions, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Women World Banking and Vital Voices Global Partnership.
Additional information on ExxonMobil's community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.