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Promote women to end gender-based barriers, IFC urges

 April 30, 2013

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Esquire magazine editor Alex Bilmes dropped a bombshell when he recently compared women to cars.

"The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental," Bilmes said, speaking on a panel about feminism hosted by Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London.

"[Esquire] provide pictures of girls in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars," he said. "It’s ornamental. Women's magazines do the same thing."

"I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified."

But not everyone objectifies women -- who make up 40 percent of the world’s workforce, according to International Finance Corporation (IFC).

IFC, a member of the World Bank, started a Women in Business program in an effort to strengthen private sector development by focusing on the role of women as business leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, consumers, and economic stakeholders.

“Women in the private sector represent a powerful source of economic growth and opportunity,” IFC said.

“By strengthening women’s roles as leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, consumers and stakeholders, IFC . . . helps transform local and global markets.”

IFC also works towards creating business opportunities that help promote improved working conditions for women, support business skills training for women entrepreneurs and support diversity on boards.

IFC says it aims to increase the share of its nominee board directors who are women to about 30 percent by 2013.

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