ExxonMobil's She Counts programme builds on $120m of investment already made in an effort to improve the economic agency of women around the world
In an effort to empower women economically, ExxonMobil is planning to pour $5m (£3.8m) in grants to support local and global organisations dedicated to the same goal via its She Counts programme.
The announcement, made on International Women’s Day on 8 March, adds to more than $120m (£92m) worth of investment already made in the energy giant’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative, introduced in 2005.
The company has also partnered with multiple initiatives in an effort to improve the economic agency of women, almost one billion of whom lack access to financial services, in more than 90 countries across the globe.
“Research shows that when women manage their incomes, they invest in the health, education and well-being of their families,” said Suzanne McCarron, chair of the ExxonMobil Foundation.
“Our investments are specifically geared toward providing women with support to increase their productivity and financial resources, and realise their fullest potential.”
What is the ExxonMobil She Counts programme?
Part of its Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative, the ExxonMobil Foundation’s She Counts initiative encourages financial service providers in developing countries to design and offer products to help women business owners to save.
It feeds into the company’s overarching efforts to use data-based programmes to help women participate in the economic aspects of their community by boosting female entrepreneurship and providing greater access to new technologies.
In addition, the company and its foundation are providing funding to various organisations including ADPP, the Center for Global Development, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Counterpart International, the George W. Bush Institute, Kickstart, Kopernik, Solar Sister, Opportunity International, Technoserve and WEConnect International.
ExxonMobil’s She Counts programme was launched shortly after one of its employees, offshore risk, environment and regulatory supervisor for Australia Carolyn Thomas, was named a “Superstar of STEM” by Science and Technology Australia.
She said: “The Superstars of STEM programme raises the profile of women in the field and is changing the face of what an engineer or scientist looks like: a fresh-faced, dynamic woman who resembles your sister or your mum.
“As public perception of engineering and science changes, it opens doors for women seeking promotions or careers in these fields.”
Meanwhile, other large companies in the energy industry are taking measures to improve gender balance within their own businesses, such as Australian mining behemoth BHP and its bid to have 50% female workforce by 2025.