Blog

#Digital2Equal: Expanding opportunities for women

This movement is a result of a partnership with the European Commission and unites leaders across the tech sector in order to utilize online marketplace to enhance opportunities for women competing in emerging markets. The initiative seeks to ensure that emerging technologies and business models—including the platform economy—benefit both women and men. Women already lag … Continue reading #Digital2Equal: Expanding opportunities for women

Five things a global study on ride-hailing tells us about women and the sharing economy

Five vital take-aways on designing for women in the sharing economy. The opportunities and risks of sharing economy models are particularly relevant for women, as they both have more to gain from greater participation and more to lose if they are excluded from new forms of income or assets. With this new research, ride-hailing companies … Continue reading Five things a global study on ride-hailing tells us about women and the sharing economy

The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield

An engaging discussion of the South African report findings for "Driving Toward Equality" took place on The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield. "He plays host to major players in the business arena, from blue-chip company CEOs to industry experts, and the entrepreneurs making waves in South Africa. Bruce interviews a well-known guest about their attitudes … Continue reading The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield

Promoting gender equality across the online marketplace

A new initiative called Digital2Equal reflects on how platforms are becoming a priority for the World Bank Group as it works to close gender gaps in the digital economy. “Disruptive technologies can close gaps between men and women,” Alexa Roscoe, who manages the initiative, said at an event IFC hosted last week in San Francisco, … Continue reading Promoting gender equality across the online marketplace

Driving towards equality: Women, ride-hailing, and the sharing economy

"On March 1, 2018, IFC launched the report... which explores how women and men participate in ride-hailing, particularly in emerging markets. The report uses data from Uber and survey results of more than 11,000 drivers and riders. It sheds light on how the emergence of ride-hailing is affecting women's work and mobility and how companies … Continue reading Driving towards equality: Women, ride-hailing, and the sharing economy

Women and innovation: Making the connection

There is growing evidence that greater gender equality leads to increased business innovation, and companies that pay attention stand to reap great rewards. The business case for gender equality is compelling, and few still doubt that investing in women as employees and entrepreneurs leads to increased productivity and profitability. But one piece of the puzzle … Continue reading Women and innovation: Making the connection

Two major trends that herald the future of the collaborative economy

There’s a lot of talk about the collaborative economy (CE), also known as the sharing economy.  What most commentary overlooks, however, is the fact that the CE has matured, and as it has done so, changed drastically. Here are two major trends that discussions on the CE are missing . #1:  The collaborative economy- and its user … Continue reading Two major trends that herald the future of the collaborative economy

How the Internet of Everything can jumpstart CSR

The internet of everything will help address four fundamental corporate responsibility challenges.  This blog is a summary of the 2015 Davies Award winning entry on the Internet of Everything, sponsored by the Althea Foundation, Cisco and the University of Oxford Said School of Business.  Applications of the internet of everything (IOE) range from the gimmicky … Continue reading How the Internet of Everything can jumpstart CSR

Three differences between social intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs that people don’t talk about

Most literature implies that the successful intrapreneur needs most of the same attitudes and tools as the entrepreneur; in other words, that the intrapreneur is just an entrepreneur who happens to work within an established company. In fact, beyond the drive to innovate, there are arguably more differences than similarities between the two. Here are … Continue reading Three differences between social intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs that people don’t talk about

Data poverty: How the rise of big data risks marginalizing the world’s poorest

Reframing the problems of big data: When the implications of big data are debated the problem most often presented is that of data surplus. Questions of what applications produce what data, or what companies have access to it, all rest on the assumption that a great deal of data is available for analysis. These questions … Continue reading Data poverty: How the rise of big data risks marginalizing the world’s poorest

Towards an ecosystem for women’s financial inclusion- what next?

Recently I had the honor of presenting at the PowerShift Conference on Women in the World Economy, hosted by the Oxford University Saïd Business School. PowerShift was hands down the most inspiring conference I have ever attended, largely because it drew together companies, NGOs and academics in a way which not only gave participants a … Continue reading Towards an ecosystem for women’s financial inclusion- what next?

The top MBAs for social business specialists

Recently I described three reasons that social entrepreneurs, or anyone else interested in social business, should ignore MBA rankings. Standard rankings are designed in a way which inadvertently penalizes universities with any claim to focus in social enterprise. This leaves aspiring MBAs with a problem- if the rankings don’t work, how to decide the best … Continue reading The top MBAs for social business specialists

Three reasons social entrepreneurs should ignore MBA rankings

When I was applying for an MBA, there was one piece of advice that I received over and over: whatever you do, go to a school in the top ten global rankings- preferably one in the top five. School reputation and networking, it was said, counted just as much as academics. Since I was looking … Continue reading Three reasons social entrepreneurs should ignore MBA rankings

Microfranchising for development: The case of Krishi Utsho

The development world has long embraced micro-finance, and there is a lot of hype about micro-entrepreneurs, but what exactly is a micro-franchise? A micro-what? Micro-franchising "has its roots in traditional franchising, which is the practice of copying a successful business and replicating it at another location by following a consistent set of well-defined processes and procedures." … Continue reading Microfranchising for development: The case of Krishi Utsho

Three insights on feminist economics from Oxford PowerShift

Last week I had the honor of speaking at Oxford’s PowerShift Conference on Women in the World Economy. Rarely have I been in one room with so many accomplished women and rarely have I come away from any event feeling so inspired. Part of the feeling came from the many leaders who are reshaping women’s … Continue reading Three insights on feminist economics from Oxford PowerShift

Empowerment beyond the buzzword: Unintended consequences of women’s economic empowerment

Empowering women is not without risks – we need to identify and overcome them. There’s a statistic that most development practitioners will have heard quite frequently: empowering women farmers would decrease the number of hungry by up to 150 million. There are many facts like it, all meant to make the case for women’s economic empowerment. … Continue reading Empowerment beyond the buzzword: Unintended consequences of women’s economic empowerment

Three consequences of over-hyping social enterprise

Putting entrepreneurs on a pedestal holds back the advancement of social entrepreneurism as a field Fast Company recently published an article asking if the term “entrepreneur” has “got too popular for its own good”. The answer, suffice to say, was a resounding “yes”. I’d argue that much of the same logic could be applied to … Continue reading Three consequences of over-hyping social enterprise

Hanging by a thread: Workers’ rights and lives

I was working in my room on the fourth floor of a hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh's busy capital, when I saw a man hanging by a rope. To be precise, he was suspended on a fragile-looking piece of wood tied to a single swaying cord. The words emblazoned on his t-shirt read "Jesus ♥ Me". … Continue reading Hanging by a thread: Workers’ rights and lives

Demystifying social enterprise and inclusive business

This year’s Skoll World Forum on Social Enterprise only confirmed the accelerating levels of interest in social business. The event brought together representatives from the private, public and non-profit sectors, all of whom agreed on one point: inclusive business is the future. However, there is one point which lacked any degree of accord: namely, what … Continue reading Demystifying social enterprise and inclusive business

Is big business appropriating social enterprise?

Social enterprise has made it to the main stage. Companies from Unilever to Coke are embracing the concept and even starting their own enterprises.  Speakers at last year’s Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship included representatives from Marks & Spencer, Cisco, Pepsico and Nike. But is this burgeoning interest a good thing? Social enterprise and … Continue reading Is big business appropriating social enterprise?

What the BBC didn’t say about workers in Bangladesh

The BBC's recent Panorama investigation, Dying for a Bargain, brought welcome attention to the issue of workers' rights in the Bangladesh garment sector, where more than 1,100 people recently died in the collapse of a garment factory at Rana Plaza. It rightly pointed out that up to a million people work in dangerous or illegal conditions at … Continue reading What the BBC didn’t say about workers in Bangladesh

How financial literacy can help build the market for micro-insurance

Microinsurance is one part of the range of services and products that the poor need to help overcome poverty and reduce their vulnerability to shocks. However, as with all products, to be sustainable, any microinsurance model also needs to be profitable. Fortunately for the insurance industry and its clients, it’s being demonstrated that increasing profit and … Continue reading How financial literacy can help build the market for micro-insurance

The business case for worker empowerment: Evidence from the Sri Lankan tea sector

I've written about the business case for empowering women producers before; but the financial justification for inclusive business goes much further than that.  Today, CARE International published "A Different Cup of Tea: The Business Case for Empowering Workers in the Sri Lankan Tea Sector" which demonstrates that companies investing in one worker empowerment model, the … Continue reading The business case for worker empowerment: Evidence from the Sri Lankan tea sector

Three reasons why the UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights should prioritise gender

This week the UK government takes the historic step of becoming one of the first institutions to make an official statement on how companies should operationalize the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, more commonly known as the Ruggie Principles. Leading the process to formalize the ambitious but sometimes vague standards laid out … Continue reading Three reasons why the UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights should prioritise gender

Why the Ruggie Principles require every company to empower women

I’ve written previously that there is business case for companies to empower women; what I didn't mention was that even if there were not, there would still be a strong legal case for them to do so. The global standard for the responsibilities of business vis-à-vis human rights is the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business … Continue reading Why the Ruggie Principles require every company to empower women

The evolution of multi-stakeholder initiatives: Lessons for the Bangladesh garment sector

In the months since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh sparked a drive to address worker health and safety in the garment sector, I’ve been suffering a severe case of déjà vu. Here’s how it has played out: high-profile exposure of human rights abuses, coupled with intense lobbying by civil society, causes international brands … Continue reading The evolution of multi-stakeholder initiatives: Lessons for the Bangladesh garment sector

Preventing another Rana Plaza: Mapping the path forward

This week American stakeholders announced the formation of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and signatories to the European Fire and Building Safety Accord released their Implementation Plan. While both agreements represent steps in the right direction, to address the root causes of the Rana Plaza disaster, both initiatives must take further measures to build … Continue reading Preventing another Rana Plaza: Mapping the path forward

Will millennials change the face of corporate responsibility? One millennial weighs in.

Everyone has something to say about millennials, the generation born from 1980 to the present, including how they will shape the future of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.   Depending on who you ask, the coming of the millennials will mean either a new era of robust and transparent approaches to corporate responsibility, or the … Continue reading Will millennials change the face of corporate responsibility? One millennial weighs in.

The 3 most common misconceptions about business and human rights

Miners in Liberia: Photo credit Cristina Villegas Human rights remains a topic that companies may reference perfunctorily in their codes of conduct, but few really seem to understand. In their defense, this is in part because, first, best practice standards on business and human rights are often nascent at best, and, second, human rights tend … Continue reading The 3 most common misconceptions about business and human rights