Opportunities and Challenges for Equity, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability

Logo Logo

Logo Logo Logo

Traveler Information


Conference Agenda

Sunday – November 24, 2019

18:00 – 20:00

Session 1 / City Chambers

Conference Opening Event

  • Lord Provost of Edinburgh

Reception and Networking

Monday – November 25, 2019

8:00 - 9:00

Conference Registration / Breakfast and Networking
9:00 - 9:15

Auditorium / PLENARY

Welcome – Royal Bank of Scotland

9:15 - 10:45

Auditorium / PLENARY / Session 1

Drivers of Women’s Economic Empowerment: The Intersection of Culture, Politics and Economics

KEYNOTE: Keith Skeoch, CEO, Standard Life Aberdeen

This session will frame the discussions around women’s economic empowerment: What is it? Why does it matter? Why now? Data show the economic efficiencies and social benefits, yet the systematic under-valuation of women’s contributions persists in the formal and informal economy.

Key discussion points:
What are the pervasive gaps limiting women’s economic participation?
What are the constraints that limit progress and how do layers of disadvantage hold women back? This will include looking at the role of men as advocates for change
What is the role of the public sector, business, multilaterals, academia, and civil society?
Where are the success stories? What can we learn from disruptive behaviour that challenges gender bias in society?
What are the economic empowerment challenges and opportunities for Youth?
10:45 - 11:00

11:00 - 11:25


"The Rose Review finds that only one in three entrepreneurs are women, a gender gap equivalent to over 1 million fewer female entrepreneurs in the UK. Closing the gap between women and men could add an additional £250 billion in Gross Value Add to the UK economy, equivalent to 4 years of economic growth. Crucially women are also drastically under-represented in the most productive sectors with less than one in four entrepreneurs in sectors like transport and information technology being women."

“More than half of the world’s adult population does not have access to basic financial services, and one-third of adults are still unbanked. About half of them are poor women. As the digital economy increasingly becomes the mainstream economy, it’s more important than ever that we ensure our technological innovations, such as mobile banking, are not widening the gap but actually making the economy more inclusive, and as a result, helping people across the globe reach their potential and achieve financial security.”
Ann Cairns, LinkedIn, April 2019

11:30 - 11:40

11:40 - 11:50

11:50 - 13:00

Session 2 / Auditorium / PLENARY

Women’s Assets: Leveraging Financial and Digital Access for Entrepreneurship


Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs


  • Sophia Swire, CEO, Sophia Swire Ltd.

"Gender in finance has macroeconomic, moral and ethical implications extending across national borders, cultural chasms, and class divides .... of the 1.7 billion people who do not have a basic bank account, 1 billion are women.
David Lipton, IMF

Key discussion points:
• Women as an asset class
• Collective ability to account for and leverage assets
• Options for accessing traditional and non-traditional financing
• Implications for financial products and services (including insurance and remittances), delivery and scaling
13:00 - 14:00

14:00 - 15:15

Session 3.1

Digital Technology: Women in the Changing World of Work


  • Annie Mbako, The Heroworx Institute

"Despite the headway the world has experienced … in terms of a substantial increase in digital access, there are still significant challenges to overcome in ensuring women are included in the transformation to a digital society and leapfrogging productivity and social development.”
T-20 Task Force – GEE

"Digital skills are indispensable for girls and young women to obtain safe employment in the formal labour market," said Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, Founder of Women's WorldWide Web, a charity that trains girls in digital literacy."
Lin Taylor, 2018

Key discussion points:
• What is the digital divide?
• What changes in digital policies are required to increase access to digital resources targeting women, girls and under-represented groups? Who needs to do what?
• What are the implications for bridging the women’s entrepreneurship gap and increasing options for female entrepreneurs?
• Where are the success stories? What are some of the lessons or examples we can draw on?
Session 3.2

Financing & Financial Services for Women Entrepreneurs



"When it comes to transforming finance for women entrepreneurs, we’re looking at a complex landscape, both on the supply and the demand side. But there are significant opportunities that could make a difference."
H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA)

According to the IFC, "Access to financial and nonfinancial services is one of the key barriers for women. A recent IFC study noted that the SME finance gap for female entrepreneurs in developing countries at $1.48 trillion. The private sector’s role is indispensable to bridge the gap.i

Key discussion points:
• What are the critical barriers to women’s access to finance on the supply and demand side?
• What are the actions required for bridging the entrepreneurship gap with innovative financial products: Financing, Trade, Services, and Marketing & Branding?
• Where are the success stories? What are some of the lessons or examples we can draw on?
Session 3.3

Women's Entrepreneurship: Policies and Practices


  • Morag Malloy, Scottish Enterprises


"Female entrepreneurship represents a vast untapped source of innovation, job creation and economic growth in the developing world. The barriers to women’s entrepreneurship are various: Women face greater obstacles in accessing credit, training, networks and information, as well as legal and policy constraints."
Carmen Niethammer, Odebrecht1, 2013

"The Women’s Report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor noted that there are now 274 million women-owned new or established businesses in 74 economies (Kelley et al. 2017). Across all of these societies, women’s entrepreneurship can manifest in different ways, according to vastly different contexts and geographies, and women around the world have varied entrepreneurial experiences regarding their access to opportunities, markets, and resources (Welter 2011)……. Growth-oriented businesses, led by both women and men, are essential for economies to succeed, because they are more likely to create jobs, support communities, and achieve higher productivity, innovation, and exports (Mason and Brown 2013),"
Hechavarria et al, 2019

Key discussion points:
• What are the critical barriers to women’s entrepreneurship on the supply and demand side?
• What are the actions required for bridging the entrepreneurship gap?
• Where are the success stories? What are some of the lessons or examples we can draw on?
15:15 - 15:30

15:30 - 16:45

Session 4 / Auditorium / PLENARY

Communities as Engines of Inclusive Growth

"If we plan the city [community] for a woman, we plan it for all….. If pavements are more accessible for women with children, it's also good for men and it's also good for people with mobility issues."


  • Caroline Brown, Heriot-Watt University

SDG5 cuts across all of the other 16 goals. Women constitute half of the world’s population are vital for the propagation of human life and survival of our communities, yet they are systematically excluded from decisions on the shape, running and sustainability of communities.

The goal of this session is to discuss inclusive and sustainable development at the intersection of geography, politics, economics, social well-being, and health.

Key discussion points:
• How do we effect inclusive, transparent, and more impactful policy design, decisions, and implementation making across levels of the public, private, private, non-profit sectors for the benefit of our communities?
• How do we assure voice and representation of women, youth and under-represented groups?
• How do we create regional ecosystems to foster public/private/community partnerships for collective entrepreneurship, inclusive growth, and community resilience?
• What are the legacy effects of geography and how can geography help to drive change?
16:45 - 17:00

Auditorium / PLENARY

Key takeaways from the day


Dining Hall / DINNER

Salon: Gender Equity and The Role of the Media in Influencing Perceptions, Voice, Norms and Representation


  • Catherine Phiri, Co-Founder, Media 365
  • Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola, Birmingham City University, Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
  • Carol Cooke, Founder, Barefoot

How do visual, print and social media serve to frame and amplify women’s voices? What is the role digital technology in supporting the reach of women in enterprise by legitimizing and shaping the messages they share? What is the role of socio-cultural and religious leaders in changing norms related to gender equity?

Discussion Topics:
• Women as advocates and changemakers, shaping their narrative – how they are presented, represented and heard, across age groups
• The role of male champions

Tuesday - November 26, 2019

7:00 - 8:15

Conference Registration / Breakfast and Networking
8:15 - 8:30

Auditorium / PLENARY

Recap and Charge for the Day

8:30 - 10:00

Session 5 / Auditorium / PLENARY

Women’s Health as an Economic Value: The Role of Health Technologies

"Investing early in people’s health and wellbeing, and sustaining gains throughout life, can significantly reduce health challenges and promote human capital and sustainable development."
WHO, 2018

The health and prosperity of women are inexorably bound up with the social determinants of health and wellbeing of a population. The Ursuline Nuns dedicated themselves to educating women in the early 1700s based on the belief that “If you educated the mother, you educated the whole family.” The sustainable health and wellbeing of women and their families is dependent upon access to safe, good living and working conditions, and high-quality services. Health technologies can play an important role in facilitating the growth of health beyond health care. Digital health and emerging technologies are critical in achieving gender equity, empowerment of women, and the improved health of women and children globally.

This panel will discuss the intersection of women’s health, economic viability, and health technologies in addressing the social determinants of health.

Panelists and areas of focus:

  • Dr. Patricia Odero, Innovations in Health Care, Duke Global Health Innovation Center. Adapting health care innovations to improve the health and care of women – examples from the field


10:00 - 10:20

10:20 - 11:30

Session 6.1 / Library (Second Floor)

The Changing World of Work: Economic and Social Issues


" spending (social protection, health and education) is macrocritical and an essential policy lever to promote inclusive growth, fight inequality, protect the most vulnerable from life shocks, and smooth income during crisis"
Christine La Garde, IMF.

This session will examine women’s economic empowerment in the context of the changing world of work, taking into account population dynamics and whole of life issues.

Key discussion points:
• Family and intra-family roles as enablers or barriers to enterprise and inter-generational implications
• Undervaluation of care work and work conditions
• Home-based work
• Workers with disabilities
• Artificial technologies and artificial intelligence
Session 6.2 / Classroom (Ground Floor)

Town and Country, the importance of sustainable communities: Opportunities and Challenges for Women


This session will examine the future of urban and rural communities within the context of gender, inclusive growth and resilience.

Key discussion points:
• Urban, Peri-Urban and Rural communities and access to infrastructure
• Changing demographics and rural economies
• The impact of agriculture and extractives on rural economies and the rights of under-represented groups
Session 6.3 / Main Auditorium

Spatializing Health Research and Practice: Implications for the Health of Women and Girls


  • Dr. Emmanuel Tsekeleves, Design for Health, Lancaster University - The intersection of design, health, wellbeing, and technology


Key Discussion Points:
• Growing Urbanization: New Challenges for the Health of Women and Girls in Urban Environments
• The intersection of design, health, wellbeing, and technology: implications for women and girls
11:30 - 11:45

11:45 - 13:00

Session 7.1 / Main Auditorium

Empower a Girl, Transform a Community. The Role of Education: Challenging Culture and Norms


  • Jin Yi, Founder, Suzhou Bobi Family

"The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action …. calls for a world where every girl and woman can realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to attend and complete school, to choose when and whom she marries, and to earn equal pay for equal work."
UNICEF, 2019


Key discussion points:
• Education as a means to challenging norms that limit women’s economic empowerment
• Engaging community and thought leaders: young and old; male and female
• Innovations in education systems to support STEAM and build the skill base in the changing world of work
Session 7.2 / Classroom (Ground Floor)

Women’s Entrepreneurship in Non-traditional Sectors – Agri-Business, Construction, Logistics, Supply Chains, Extractives



Key discussion points:
• Opportunities and challenges for female entrepreneurs competing in non-traditional sectors Making the case for a gender focus in extractives policy frameworks
• Tapping into the procurement market: challenges and opportunities
• Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in Regional and Global Supply Chains
Session 7.3 / Library (Second Floor)

Strengthening Voice and Agency: Youth and Women


  • Simona Broomes, Government of Guyana


Key discussion points:
• This session will focus on mobilizing women and youth on issues of empowerment, sustainability, entrepreneurship and education for inclusive, sustainable development.
• The role of women and youth as activists and change-makers
• How do we develop future male and female leaders and what do we want from them?
13:00 - 14:00

14:00 - 15:30

Session 8 / Main Auditorium / PLENARY

Mapping Issues and Hacking Disruptive Solutions

Recommendations and Actions for Expanding Opportunities and the Enabling Environment for Women’s Economic Empowerment: Commitments and Actions, Networking, Collaboration, and Partnerships

Featured Speakers:

This interactive session will identify and highlight key themes and issues identified in previous sessions. Our goal is to provide participants with the chance to reflect on the discussions and measure the progress achieved across the conference against the aims and objectives that have been recorded throughout. Participants will be organized into small groups to discuss and hack solutions and report back during the plenary. There will be an opportunity for all participants to share with the group their personal next steps, commitments and actions that they will take away from the conference.
• What are the critical action steps?
• What can you do personally?
• What can your organization do?
• What can you do within your professional framework?
• Who can you influence through your personal and professional networks?
15:30 - 16:45

Auditorium / PLENARY / Session 9

Evaluation: Completion of online questionnaire

Conclusions: Call to Action

Closing Remarks:

17:45 - 19:00

WEI Board Meeting


Wednesday – November 27, 2019

9:00 - 12:00

Conference Centre Auditorium



Gender, Geography and Health


Logo Logo Logo
Logo Logo Logo Logo
Logo Logo
Logo Logo Logo Logo Logo Logo Logo Logo
Logo Logo Logo Logo

Thank you for actively participating in and contributing to this important work on women's economic empowerment

Background Image

Traveler Information

Royal Bank of Scotland Business School, Gogarburn, Edinburgh

Edinburgh EH12 9GF, United Kingdom

Getting from the airport to RBS Business School

It is just over 2 miles from the airport to the Business School, there are buses, taxis and trams available. See the options.

Taxis companies at the Airport. You should expect to pay between £6 - £8 fare.

City Cabs are the official taxi provider at Edinburgh Airport and have a large presence at the Airport, but if you would rather pre-book your taxi then you can call 0131 228 1211 when your flight lands and can have a taxi waiting for you by the time you get to the pre-booked pick-up point. Otherwise you can book online by using our Smartphone App or our online web booker. Please make sure that you provide us with a mobile telephone number and flight number so that we can monitor your flight arrival. Please call us on 0131 228 1211 if you are being held up in the arrivals hall. Payment will be taken by the driver at the end of your journey by cash, credit or debit card.

When you arrive please make your way to the pick-up point on the ground floor of the multi storey car park across from the main terminal.

If you have pre-booked your taxi then please make your way to the pre-booked pick-up point which is located in the multi-storey car park behind the main taxi rank.

Getting from Edinburgh Waverley station to RBS Business School

See the options.

1. Take the train from Waverley to Edinburgh Gateway station (10 mins) and walk 6 mins, or take a taxi. They run 3 or 4 times an hour. You should Pre-book a taxi to pick you up at Edinburgh Gateway, there are NO taxis waiting. The recommended taxi firm is Central Taxis 0131 229 2468.

Take a taxi directly from Waverley to the Business School, expect to pay £20/£25 it will take approximately 20 mins. Central Taxis can be pre-booked or there is a taxi rank outside the station.

Take a tram. Trams information.