Women in the Global Economy: Leading Social Change

Press Release

New IIE Book Explores Women's Role in Driving Social and Economic Development

Learn more about the publication

NEW YORK, March 5, 2013—A new book published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation reviews a broad range of issues concerning women in the global economy, including their contributions and impact around the world as agents of social change, as well as obstacles they continue to face.

Women in the Global Economy: Leading Social Change explores the landscape of women’s participation in the economy and the key role it plays in fueling economic growth by creating stable societies. The book notes the trajectory of transformation that has gained a foothold in recent years, where investing in women is increasingly seen as a driver for social and economic development.

In examining the role played by women from all walks of life, including farmers and informal sector workers, as well as business leaders and social entrepreneurs, the book offers global solutions for promoting growth. The publication also calls attention to significant challenges that continue to present themselves in the form of discriminatory laws, regulations and business conditions, along with women’s lack of property rights.

“Today, leaders in every field must embrace gender equity as critical to thriving communities in our increasingly globalized world,” said Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education. “We hope this book will encourage corporate leaders, policy makers and educators to learn about best practices and implement effective policies and programs to promote women’s participation in the economic and social sphere.”

“Those of us working in cultural exchange and international education have always been acutely aware of the important role of women in our global society. Cultural exchange and educational programs have helped shape many of the increasing numbers of women in leadership positions around the globe,” said William L. Gertz, AIFS President and CEO.  “We are very proud to have played a small role in providing opportunities for women to become a force for social change, equality and global economic development, and we are pleased to sponsor this important publication.”

Contributors to the publication include distinguished academics as well as leading intellectuals and practitioners in public policy, government and the non-profit sector. Women in the Global Economy: Leading Social Change is edited by Trish Tierney, the Executive Director of IIE’s San Francisco office, where she oversees IIE’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives and directs innovative programs linking the power of women and the power of technology. Through the Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, the Institute remains committed to supporting and partnering with emerging and established women leaders.

The introduction penned by Melanne S. Verveer, former United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and former Chief of Staff to First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton, contextualizes the significant role women play in the global economy and the role new tools such as social media and technology play in enabling them to serve as catalysts for change worldwide. Verveer asserts that “investing in women produces a multiplier effect” as women reinvest a large portion of their income in their families and communities, but also notes significant institutional as well as other barriers that confront them.

The book’s contributors include: Jeni Klugman and Sarah Twigg of the World Bank, Nüket Kardam and Fredric Kropp of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Martha Alter Chen of the Harvard Kennedy School, Ann Mei Chang, Senior Advisor for Women and Technology, U.S. Department of State, Arwa Othman of the Yemen Studies and Research Center in Yemen, Penny Abeywardena of the Clinton Global Initiative, Social Media Expert Beth Kanter, and Mary Ellen Iskenderian of Women’s World Banking.

Chapters in the book examine the following topics: gender and development – investing in women; women as social entrepreneurs; women and the informal economy; the convergence of technology and women’s issues; Yemeni women in the Arab Spring; the intersection of market-based approaches and gender; social media and women’s economic sustainability in the Middle East and North Africa region; and expanding women’s access to capital and microfinance.

Women in the Global Economy: Leading Social Change is the eighth book in the Global Education Research Reports series from IIE and the AIFS Foundation. Previous books have examined higher education initiatives and exchanges in China, India and the Middle East, as well as educational and economic development in Latin America.


About the Institute of International Education

IIE is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad. IIE’s Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education assists higher education institutions in developing and sustaining partnerships around the world. Some of its major initiatives include the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) and the IIE Global Partnership Service (GPS). Through its Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, IIE provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge training, professional development and exchange programs and pursue higher education.

About the American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation

AIFS Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity, was established in 1967 to help young people from many nations and diverse cultures to better understand one another. The AIFS Foundation provides grants to high schools and institutions to encourage international and educational travel. The AIFS Foundation also sponsors the Academic Year in America (AYA) program, which enables international teenage students to live with an American host family while attending the local high school.

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