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ExxonMobil and UN Promote Women's Economic Advancement

ExxonMobil Foundation & UN Foundation undertake comprehensive research to identify investments that promote women’s economic advancement.
ExxonMobil | 08.03.2012
On the eve of International Women’s Day, the ExxonMobil Foundation and the United Nations Foundation today announced a collaboration to identify the most effective global investments that promote economic opportunities for women. The initiative will provide a roadmap for action by identifying various interventions countries can implement in different stages of economic development and for differing types of women’s economic participation.

The initiative is led by internationally recognized gender and social development expert Dr. Mayra Buvinic and will identify and evaluate practical and applicable program interventions. Prior to joining the research project, Buvinic served for six years as director of gender and development at the World Bank. She was also founding member and president of the International Center for Research on Women from 1978 to 1996 and chief of the social development division at the Inter-American Development Bank from 1997 to 2004.

“There is a crucial knowledge gap around the most effective investments that promote women’s economic opportunities,” said Buvinic. “Our goal is to create an innovative tool by convening some of the best experts in the field, including UN agencies, to join in a research effort to help close this critical gap.”

Research has demonstrated that when women – who make up half the world’s population – are empowered, entire communities and economies benefit. The World Bank stated in its 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development that “gender equality is a core development objective and is smart economics. It can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.”

The partnership between the United Nations Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation will build on recent research findings, including those of the 2012 World Development Report.

“The research is designed to tell us how best to help women build strong communities, through their own economic empowerment,” said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. “When women thrive economically, entire societies are transformed by becoming healthier, more stable and more prosperous. We are excited about this opportunity to add to the body of knowledge and to share the findings with the broad community engaged in investing in women.”

The results and information collected through the research process will be widely shared with researchers and program implementers, as well as funding agencies in the private and public sectors. “It’s our desire that the research will be used to spur strategic investments in quality programs aimed at improving economic outcomes for women and communities,” said Buvinic.

For more information on this research, visit

ExxonMobil has committed more than $10 million in 2012 grants to spur economic opportunities for women. Today’s $1.5 million grant is part of more than $53 million invested by ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation in the last seven years to support the economic advancement of women.

For more than a decade, the United Nations Foundation has helped the United Nations in addressing the rights and needs of women and girls. It fosters cooperation and helps the UN link with private sector partners to advance reproductive health, provide women and girls with economic opportunities and ensure their human rights. Empowering women and girls—providing them with educational and economic opportunities and securing their health and human rights—is essential in the global drive to eliminate poverty, achieve social justice and stabilize the world’s population.