IBM’s Catherine Lord championed, “ regional women’s councils drawn from the workforce” and “the importance of including men and women in a way that is relevant to local cultural need, while reflecting the values of the corporation”. Examples from Russia and the Middle East were shared.
- Disney/ ABC Daisy Auger-Dominguez spoke of a positive policy of inclusion being reflected in Disney and ABC’s product output:
“Media must be reflective and supportive of gender inclusion, thus modelling culture positives. A recent study showed that we used more men than women in most crowd scenes, we have now taken steps to change this”.
- The importance of women’s networks in supporting the elimination of trade barriers by fostering a culture of economic diplomacy.
- Moving beyond gender bias occupations – Charles Jeannes, Goldcorp CEO shared how the 20% of women in his workforce of 19,000 and the level of female directors on his board contributed to this mining company’s growth and innovation, which of course was reflected on the very positive balance sheet.
So what are the messages here that are relevant to Iraq? The opportunity exists to turn a strong GDP into a phenomenal one, purely by government and private sector working together to promote inclusive prosperity, implementing some of the policy suggestions above. The eyes of the world are on Iraq, for very often the wrong reasons.
By creating a safer workplace for women and inclusive business practices, it is possible to leapfrog the negative and become a trailblazing emerging economy, as lauded by one of the world’s leading economists, Nouriel Roubini. However, if it is to live up to its potential, Iraq will need to depend on the readiness of a labour force that is skilled and willing enough to ensure Iraq’s natural resources are able to fund a better future for all.