Companies that include women among their executives and employees and do business with female entrepreneurs gain in terms of profitability, creativity, and sustainability, speakers said at the World Bank Group’s Gender and the Economy  event this week in Washington, D.C.
A convincing business case for gender inclusion was made by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah al Thani , chairman of Ooredoo Group; Cherie Blair , founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; and Beth Comstock , senior vice president and chief Marketing Officer at General Electric.
“Women are bringing new insights and experiences to workplaces and markets that were previously male-dominated,” said Comstock “Diversity breeds innovation."
Sri Mulyani Indrawati , the Bank Group's managing director and chief operating officer, said closing the economic gender gap and increasing opportunities for both women and men in the private sector are key to ending extreme poverty and boosting prosperity in developing countries.
While no country in the world offers a level playing field for women  to earn a living, the speakers said companies have a stake in helping to change that reality .
“Giving women the chance to become financially independent and make the most of their talents is the key to higher living standards and stronger economies,” Blair said.
The role of women’s in the economy of the Middle East and North Africa  is expanding, said Sheikh Abdullah. He shared insights from a recent Ooredoo report, “New Horizons – Young, Arab and Connected,” which makes the case for increasing young women’s access to and usage of the Internet to tap into their economic potential.
Watch a replay of the event .