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Chicago celebrates international women’s day

Tuesday 22 March, 2011

The Chicago Chapter of the Organization for Women in Trade invited me to  celebrate International Women’s Day, which was sponsored by the International Trade Club of Chicago, WorldChicago, & the Union League Club of Chicago.  The event opened with an expo/fair which included the following international organizations:

Following lunch, we heard from these speakers, our 2 foreign guests being hosted by World Chicago:

Nataliia Bondarieva, a Methodologist @ the Kyiv  Regional Center of Educational Quality Assessment in Ukraine.  She manages the External Independent Testing on Foreign Languages.  Nataliia positioned this day as a national holiday in her country which honors women between Valentines Day & Mothers Day.

Luise Amtsberg is a member of the German Parliament as a representative of the Alliance 90/The Greens Party.  Luise noted that despite this year being  the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day, women are still not treated equally with men, although the Greens bring them closer to equality in Germany.  There they have enacted controversial  quotas for women, but women are still underrepresented as members of boards of directors.  Since 51% of college graduates in Germany are women, they deserve 1/2 of the power & responsibility.  Luise continues to fight against discrimination not only against women, but also against homosexuals, & others.

As the keynote speaker, Deborah DeHaas, Vice Chairman & Midwest Regional Managing Partner for Deloitte LLP made the business case for equality & diversity.  Deb 1st acknowledged March is Women’s History Month, & that Women’s Day is a national holiday in 15 countries.  Aging of the world’s population will create a 6M person gap in replacing retirees.  58% of bachelors’ degrees & 60% of master’s degrees go to women.  In Europe, despite being 1/2 the workforce, women comprise only 11% of corporate executives.  Women start 41% of all businesses grow @ 2X the rate of all businesses.  Women control $20TR globally & influence 80% of all decisions.  Companies with women on their boards outperform competitors by 53% & earn an extra 10% Return on Equity.  While @ Arthur Andersen (RIP) in 1993, the firm only had 1 woman partner.  Deloitte has taken the lead with their Women’s Initiative.  1 important remaining issue is whether or not there is a pipeline of qualified potential women employees.

Q&A

  • women need access to mentors & sponsors to get recognition
  • education is still the highest priority
  • Ms. DeHaas role model was her own mom, who, while taking accounting courses @ Pitt many years ago, was handed a drop card (suggesting she drop the class) every class.

Chicago TV News personality Diann Burns acted as Master of Ceremonies.  To learn more about International Women’s Day around the world, check out this article in Today’s Chicago Woman magazine.

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