The Greater Good

Heard around the Trust Women Conference – Day 2

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Trust Women, which took place November 18-19, is more than just a conference. It’s a fast-growing movement to put the rule of law behind women’s rights through concrete action. Delegates from 55 countries, representing 260 international organizations are here to take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women. Weren’t able to attend? No worries. Check out the session recordings, conference news,  photos, and join the conversation using #twc2014. Here are some of the most salient quotes and media we heard on day two of the event: (more…)

Strengthening women’s land rights – Graphic of the day

Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world, yet women farmers receive only 5% of all agricultural extension services globally – including credit, training, marketing and research. A new infographic from Landesa is the first to document the wide range of benefits that flow from women’s land tenure security. The infographic (below) makes clear that women’s secure tenure can help us reach a number of our most critical sustainable development goals – from improved nutrition, education, and resiliency, to reduced domestic violence.

women's land rights

Heard around the Trust Women Conference – Day 1

Trust Women Conference

Trust Women, taking place November 18-19, is more than just a conference. It’s a fast-growing movement to put the rule of law behind women’s rights through concrete action. Delegates from 55 countries, representing 260 international organizations are here to take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women. Not in attendance? No worries. You can catch the livestream, see the session recordings, and join the conversation using #twc2014. Here are some of the most salient quotes and media we heard on day one of the event: (more…)

Choose to see

As you read this page, 5.5 million children around the world are losing their childhood to slavery. They are being beaten, abused and raped. They are forced to work in brothels, mines, brick kilns, fishing boats, and hotels. They work behind closed doors as domestic laborers. Many become soldiers, brides, and drug dealers. Child slavery is at an all-time high. Every day, children as young as five are sold on the black market at prices lower than cattle. Once in the hands of their masters, they are forced to work for up to 20 hours per day. Girls are particularly at risk, as they are the most vulnerable to sexual exploitation, one of the most lucrative forms of slavery.

#Choosetosee, a new strategic initiative to fight child slavery by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is part of End Child Slavery Week, an international campaign led by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who has helped rescue more than 80,000 children from slavery at brick kilns, quarries, factories, sweatshops and farms. To find out what you can do to help, visit choosetosee.org.

Most dangerous transport systems for women

In 2014, the Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted a poll in 15 of the world’s largest capitals and in New York, the most populous city in the United States. This short video explores the immediate impact of the poll as it was picked up by media around the world:

Foundation poll prompts global debate on dangerous transport for women

Most Dangerous Transport Systems for Women

The Thomson Reuters Foundation released a global poll this week ranking the most dangerous transport systems for women in major cities.

The poll triggered a significant debate around the globe, from London - which ranked worse than New York, Beijing, and Tokyo – to Bogota in Colombia, which ranked worst overall with women scared to travel after dark. (more…)

Girl Rising: Telling the stories of girls who could change the world if they had an education

Girl Rising

Girl Rising is a global campaign to educate girls. The organization uses the power of storytelling to make the point that educating girls can transform societies, and educating girls can break the cycle of poverty in a single generation.

In late Seprember, the Women @ Thomson Reuters New York Chapter sponsored a screening of the Girl Rising film, which features the inspiring, harrowing stories of girls in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Peru and Sierra Leone.

Some statistics: (more…)

How are you going to innovate without diversity?

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending an event hosted by the Thomson Reuters Black Employee Network. I have been involved in emphasizing the importance of Diversity & Inclusion through a series of workshops at our Canary Wharf office and my invitation to this event followed on from these discussions.

The title of the discussion was ‘The Colour of Representation’, and was presented by John Amaechi. John describes himself as a ‘Jedi’ Psychologist, and as he is 6’10″. For well over an hour, John discussed the pivotal moments in his life that led to his success, from childhood all the way through to where he is now, a psychologist, broadcaster, presenter, advisor and thought leader on diversity.

A couple of things that really resonated, especially when looking at the various diversity challenges we face as an organization. Some of the most important of these challenges are recognizing the value that can be added through a diverse workforce, ensuring we do not discriminate through our hiring practices and creating an inclusive environment for this talent to grow and flourish.

Firstly, John was clear in his personal objective. He is not in business to sit around holding hands, singing Kumbaya around the campfire. Much like our company, he is in business to win, and to do this, diversity is fundamental! (more…)

The women de-mining Sri Lanka

In 2011, Thomson Reuters Foundation correspondent Nita Bhalla went to Mannar in northern Sri Lanka and met a group of women who had taken on the unusual and rather frightening job of removing landmines. Three years later, she returned, with a camera, to document the work of these women, who are survivors of an almost three-decade-long war.

It is estimated that over one million landmines were laid in the Indian Ocean island’s north and east during the conflict which pitted separatist Tamil Tiger fighters against government forces. When the war ended in May 2009, around 2,000 square km of land was contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance. Now only 80 square km is left – making it one of the big post-war successes of Sri Lanka.

While most of the de-mining is done by the army, aid groups such as the Mines Advisory Group hire women, as well as men to the job, after providing training and competitive payments for their work. They attend a camp for three weeks learning about the types of explosives and landmines they are likely to encounter, plus skills and techniques to search and mark landmines.

Starting the conversation about diversity

I am lucky to be writing about a topic that I am sincerely passionate about. Lucky because I have the commitment from our organization to focus on it. Lucky because I am a female leader at Thomson Reuters and can be an example and role model to others. So, I would like to begin a much-needed discussion on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

No doubt you have seen the stats and headlines. The lack of diversity in the media, and especially in journalism, is a matter of concern. It should come as no surprise to anyone that taking diversity seriously these days is essential to being competitive, especially for a global news organization like Reuters.

Diversity in background, skill set, perspective, and how one thinks and processes information is a tremendous value to our company. It’s essential in helping us provide society with the news it needs and our efforts to become the greatest news organization in the world. If we don’t have a diverse news file that reflects the world we live in, we won’t remain relevant to our customers. Today, leveraging knowledge, culture and style is essential to growing any business.

The intent of our diversity efforts is to expand our reach, our mindset and continue to create an open and inclusive environment. This does not mean hiring or promoting individuals just because they are diverse. Merit should always be the determining factor. However, we can’t ignore the invisible headwinds and tailwinds that enable some and prevent others sometimes based merely on how they look or on how society has historically defined them. We must open our eyes to these barriers and remove them where possible. Are we stopping to consider why we are making certain hiring decisions or why some people are rising faster than others within the organization?

The business issue is simple – we’re a people business and we need the best.  My experience has taught me that in order to achieve sustainable high performance, employees need to be who they are, and express themselves openly and with confidence.

The moral issue is also clear to me. I can think of no good reason why we shouldn’t be providing opportunities and fostering a supportive, open environment to any and all talented and qualified people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background.

Discussing the facts and lack thereof

As an industry, we could be doing better when it comes to diversity. For example, data from the 2014 census released the American Society of News Editors and the Center for Advanced Social Research, revealed a higher proportion of men vs. women in journalism roles, especially at more senior, supervisory levels. And the percentage of minority journalists has remained between 12 and 14 percent for years. Globally, the situation is not much different, and you won’t be surprised that Reuters is not an exception. (more…)