The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders just released its first report; Ivanka Trump is a supporter
The United States and Canada want more women to succeed at work.
The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, formed after President Donald Trump met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year, has released its first report. The Council consists of 10 top female business leaders from both countries, including Accenture North America CEO Julie Sweet, GM head Mary Barra and Linda Hasenfratz of Linamar, a major Canadian autoparts maker. It is tasked with providing recommendations on five “pillars,” including increasing the number of women in STEM and supporting women-owned businesses.
The first report focuses on the latter and comes with four recommendations. First, they want all accelerators and other business organizations to commit to promoting women. This could include ensuring that more women hold decision-making roles and having more co-ed networking opportunities. Secondly, the Council also calls for large and medium private sector companies to expand “supplier diversity” programs, with a focus on buying goods and services from women-owned businesses. They note that 97% of Fortune 500 companies in America already have such programs, and that Canada should follow its neighbor’s example.
Thirdly, the council calls on both governments to expand their contracting of female-led businesses. Finally, they ask that U.S. and Canadian authorities focus on policies that lower the cost of “unpaid care” that is disproportionately carried out by women, such as by boosting paternity and maternity leave. That said, they note that both countries should proceed with solutions that work best in their respective contexts.
“We’re not seeing male leaders say they don’t want to do this,” Sweet, the council’s co-chair, told Moneyish. “What we recognize is that there are challenges depending on the size of your company and that even for large companies, change happens over time.”
Thanks to the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders for your recommendations on growing women-owned businesses. We value private sector input in advancing the success of women entrepreneurs in US & Canada. https://t.co/WXN1OzRd3L pic.twitter.com/OPG6Wy2aj0
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) January 17, 2018
The Council is an extension of the “progressive trade agenda” advocated by Trudeau’s Liberal government, which has said it wants to include gender rights and environmentalism in its international commerce agreements. In D.C., the report was backed by First Daughter Ivanka Trump, who has advocated for some policies friendly to female entrepreneurs in her father’s White House.
“What we’re really going to try to do is use the Council and the prominence of the women on the council to raise awareness,” says Sweet. “We created specifically the recommendations to be actionable, and we’re making ourselves available to give advice and talks” to business that want to implement the changes.
Reed Alexander contributed to this article.
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