United Nations Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation Undertake Comprehensive Research To Identify Investments that Promote Women’s Economic Advancement

Irving, Texas, and Washington, DC

March 7, 2012


Alexis Krieg

On the eve of International Women’s Day, the United Nations Foundation and the ExxonMobil 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 www.UNFoundation.org/TheRoadmap

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.

About ExxonMobil Foundation
ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) in the United States. Globally, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation provide funding to improve basic education, promote women as catalysts for development, and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries. In 2011, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $278 million in contributions worldwide, of which $120 million was dedicated to education. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contribution programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.

About United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach.  Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.