Today, ExxonMobil is proud to join our friends and partners in celebrating International Women’s Day. Each year, this day marks an important opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions of women – both at ExxonMobil and in communities worldwide – and to challenge ourselves to do more to advance opportunities for women around the world.
At ExxonMobil, we take to heart the African proverb “When women move forward, the world moves with them.” Empowered women create healthy, more productive families, communities, and countries. Research has shown that when women control their income, they invest 90 percent of it back into the health, education, and well-being of their families.
As a company that prizes data and empirical evidence, this statistic matters to ExxonMobil. Advancing economic opportunities for women has implications for the future of our business. By making strategic investments in women around the world, ExxonMobil can expand and diversify our value chain, bolster our global operations, and strengthen the many communities where we live and work.
Our corporate foundation has made women’s economic empowerment a fundamental part of our citizenship activities. Since 2005, the ExxonMobil Foundation has contributed more than $110 million to programs to help women participate more fully in their economies. But our work in this regard is more than just philanthropic – it’s good business sense.
Determining how best to target that investment is not always as clear. In a business driven by data and science, ExxonMobil puts a premium on the adage that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That’s why in 2012 we commissioned research to identify effective, proven practices that can truly move the needle on women’s economic empowerment.
Using the findings from The Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment, ExxonMobil has transformed our investment strategy and expanded our impact in communities around the world. We have sought partners who drive quantifiable results in generating income and savings for women and launched three new pilot programs, focused on delivering critical services to women in bundled, innovative packages:
- In Tanzania and Indonesia, ExxonMobil has partnered with the Center for Global Development, TechnoServe, and Mercy Corps to catalyze women business owners through mobile technology. Rooted in the research finding that financial services delivered through mobile phones can effectively increase women’s business investments, ExxonMobil is promoting branchless banking to help women save easily and securely, and invest in the growth of their businesses.
- In Mozambique, we have teamed up with Opportunity International to advance women farmers. We know from research that a bundle of integrated services – including microloans – deliver greater results for women, ExxonMobil is providing women farmers with a full suite of services, including technical agricultural training and financial resources like savings, insurance and credit.
- In Nigeria, ExxonMobil has launched a financial literacy and investment readiness program with our longtime partner, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Again, our research found that women need a greater understanding of finance and business-related topics to help grow their businesses. In partnership with CBFW, we are helping women entrepreneurs expand their business skills through an innovative, blended learning curriculum – featuring both in-person and online trainings.
At ExxonMobil, we have seen our initiatives deliver powerful results for women, and we are committed to helping design and support bold programs to accelerate women’s economic empowerment in the future.