Big business is eyeing advocacy for girls’ education and likes what it sees. For one, Intel’s Director of Global Education Integration, Karen Spencer, puts it well: “Girls’ education is what we need to do, and collaborating with 10×10 is going to make a difference.”
Intel, our strategic action partner, is not alone in understanding the impact of global education. The GBCHealth—a hub for private sector engagement on the world’s most pressing global health issues—has a new initiative called “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies.” It focuses on women’s issues worldwide, including educating girls, and how corporations can help, and benefit.
Last week, GBCHealth facilitated an enlightening conversation among Holly Gordon, Executive Director of 10×10, Spencer from Intel, and Justin van Fleet of the Brookings Institute, about the whys and hows of engaging corporations in the global movement for girls’ education. The whys are clear. Gordon explained that educated girls become educated consumers, employees and leaders in their communities. This gives corporations a considerable stake in the cause.
How can this be a win-win? The conversation emphasized that successful partnerships emerge from a culture of collaboration, where companies integrate their business goals with their social goals. Van Fleet cited the global health sector as the gold standard for successful partnerships with corporations, receiving 91% of corporate contributions to development programs. The power of public-private partnerships has not yet been unleashed on global education.
Through financial resources, employee support and volunteerism, in-kind contributions and specialized innovations, corporations can make a significant impact on global education. And what do they get in return? Certainly they get opportunities for brand recognition, a powerful new group of consumers, and the support of employees. And more. As labor economist Wendy Cunningham wrote in a recent World Bank report entitled “Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls,” investing in girls can transform national economies and increase their annual GDP by billions of dollars. In the end, that’s just plain good for business. All around.
GBCHealth will be hosting another conversation on October 6th in the series entitled “Status of the Girl Child,” as part of their Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative. If you’re interested in learning more ways to make an impact on girls’ lives, tune in!