In honour of International Women’s Day, WEConnect International, a non-profit that helps women-owned businesses compete in the global marketplace by connecting them with large organisations that can buy their products and services, kicked off its #Rise2theChallenge campaign that urges its 110-plus multinational buying organisations to publicly commit to a specific spend target or relevant project to advance opportunities for women-owned businesses around the world.
WEConnect International’s 110-plus members include large corporate, multilateral, and government organisations that collectively source over $ 1 trillion worth of products and services annually. The #Rise2theChallenge campaign gives members one year to set their commitment level.
WEConnect International will track, aggregate, and share the commitment amounts periodically throughout the year and celebrate the final amounts next year on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022.
“Women represent a third of the world’s private businesses, are half the population, and they make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions,” said WEConnect International Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez. “We must all act with urgency to connect more buyers with women suppliers and measure our impact and share the quantifiable, bold actions that will yield results for decades to come.”
WEConnect International research has documented that while one-third of all privately owned businesses in the world are owned by women, those same businesses earn less than one percent of large corporate and government spend with suppliers on average globally.
“We recognise the massive market failure that makes women invisible as suppliers in global value chains. We also know it can be fixed with long-term vision, leadership, and courage because it’s a smart business decision for our members that know women will be the dominant source of economic growth in the near future,” said Vazquez.
“Although increasing from one percent of global supplier spend to two percent seems small, it will make a multibillion-dollar difference for organisations that spend $ 20 billion or more annually with suppliers. Imagine the multiplier effect that could occur with numerous large buyers accepting the challenge,” she added.
According to research on gender parity in business conducted by several organisations:
- Advancing women’s equality in business would increase global GDP by $ 5.8 trillion by 2025 (International Labour Organisation)
- Gender equality is more than a social issue; it’s an economic opportunity (International Labour Organisation)
- Advancing women’s equality in Sri Lanka could achieve a 14.4% increase over business-as-usual GDP, or $ 20 billion (McKinsey report  The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in Asia Pacific | McKinsey)
The #Rise2theChallenge campaign focuses on women’s economic empowerment to accelerate progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 5 of Gender Equality.