Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women and Children and Spouse of the Prime Minister of Belize, hosted the “First Ladies' Global Call to Action Conference on Women’s and Girls’ Financial Health”. The conference was a side event at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 25th, 2014.
Many of the World’s First Ladies share similar concerns about the situation of the world’s women and girls as it relates to their financial health. Mrs. Simplis Barrow was able to mobilize more than 25 First Ladies to attend. The side event was also attended by other eminent guests who have an interest in and can support follow up initiatives at the country and global levels-making this forum a means to catalyze partnerships with the First Ladies, UN officials, philanthropists, impact investors and NGOs focused on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. The conference included esteemed key note speaker, Madam President Joyce Banda, former President of the Republic of Malawi and founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation International as well as a distinguished panel of experts.
The conference was used to advocate for greater investments in women’s and girls’ financial health and to identify real-world steps to increase access to financial capital for women and girls globally. At the Global-Call-to-Action, Mrs. Simplis Barrow also proposed the establishment of a First Ladies Global Fund, a platform through which women of influence can come together to create and expand opportunities available to other women and girls, both in their own countries, and around the world. The First Ladies Global Fund will be a collaboration between First Ladies, philanthropists, NGOs, and experts, and will focus on issues that disproportionately affect women and girls, including access to financing, personal safety, health and education. Through an approach that promotes collective action, each member of the Fund community will play a critical role in championing women and girls empowerment.
The ultimate goal is the development of programs that will support women’s and girls’ financial health around the world, thus minimizing their marginalization and increasing their holistic well-being.