San Francisco, October 3, 2018—Seventeen technology companies operating across the online marketplace, including Airbnb, Google, and LinkedIn, have come together to boost opportunities for women in emerging markets under an initiative led by IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group.
Under the 18-month Digital2Equal initiative, the companies agreed to take steps to expand women’s access to jobs, assets, and business opportunities across their online platforms. They will make measurable, time-bound commitments. These range from closing gender gaps in their workforce to goals aimed at boosting opportunities for female consumers or providers of services and products on their online marketplaces.
“This is a win-win situation—great for women because they can take advantage of online work and entrepreneurship opportunities, and great for the economy because more talented women will be able to contribute,” said IFC Chief Executive Officer Philippe Le Houérou “With this initiative, online platforms are taking concrete steps to close gender gaps in the digital economy.”
The Digital2Equal initiative builds on IFC’s recent research, Driving Toward Equality: Women, Ride-Hailing, and the Sharing Economy, which highlighted how ride-hailing apps have the potential to increase women’s mobility and ease their entry into the transportation industry, where men outnumber women.
The initiative seeks to ensure that emerging technologies and business models—including the platform economy—benefit both women and men. Women already lag behind men in access to crucial assets like the Internet or mobile phones, limiting their economic opportunities. The European Commission will participate in the launch of the initiative, which is aligned with the commission’s strategy of ensuring greater women’s participation in the economy.
The companies participating in the initiative consist of global travel company Airbnb, Inc., global transportation platform Didi Chuxing Technology Co., Brazilian online marketplace Elo7, social media company Facebook, South African recruitment app Giraffe, global technology company Google LLC, African e-commerce company Jumia, Southeast Asian marketplace platform Lazada, online professional network LinkedIn, Kenyan work platform Lynk, Latin American e-commerce site Mercado Libre Inc., Chinese online lender and Ant Financial brand MyBank, Indian e-commerce firm Myntra Jabong, digital payments platform PayPal Holdings Inc., customer relationship management platform Salesforce.com Inc., South African home cleaning service app SweepSouth, and global ride-hailing firm Uber.
IFC’s work with the technology companies is part of its efforts to create markets for all. We work with the private sector to close gaps between men and women as employees, entrepreneurs, customers, and leaders. More companies are increasingly recognizing that to remain competitive, they need to better serve women across their business operations, including on digital platforms.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.