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2013 Global Women’s Leadership Forum Addresses Advancement in CU Women Leadership
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:10 AM

More than 110 women credit union leaders from 12 countries gathered in Ottawa, Canada, yesterday for the 2013 Global Women’s Leadership Forum, held in conjunction with World Council of Credit Unions’ World Credit Union Conference, to discuss the advancement of credit union women leadership. Participants heard from keynote speaker Sheryl WuDunn, New York Times bestselling author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and the first Asian-American Pulitzer Prize winner, about women’s potential to impact global development.

Sponsored by MasterCard Worldwide, WuDunn presented research from her book on the varying degrees of women's oppression worldwide. In addition to women's education and jobs, she said that microsavings can provide women's economic empowerment, which is a key to solving gender inequity worldwide.  

"There's no silver bullet. We must try different strategies, and a lot of times what works is not always the sexiest," WuDunn said.  

WuDunn related her findings to the credit union movement during a panel discussion focused on the challenges women credit union leaders face. The panel discussed recent research on inequalities in executive positions held by women throughout credit union systems worldwide. Their studies and personal experiences revealed that a balance of men and women in top decision-making positions can accelerate an organization's economic success. Panelists suggested Network members could make a difference by raising awareness on the importance and benefits of women leadership at their own credit unions, especially among those in upper management.  

"Women aren't the problem. They are the solution," WuDunn said.  

The Network announced at the forum that it is partnering with Filene Research Institute this year to conduct a study that identifies obstacles to leadership that women face in the credit union industry worldwide.