For all the talk of progress, women remain the single-largest untapped economic driver in the global economy. Yes, untapped. Significant studies have found that trends toward gender equality have slowed and even reversed in recent years.

“The sphere of work for women is moving backward,” said Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College International. “Pay disparity continues. Women in leadership is declining. Access to decision-making roles is declining.”

The recent Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum found that women are indeed losing ground in the workplace. “Given the continued widening of the economic gender gap, it will now not be closed for another 217 years,” the report states.

Disrupting this trend and igniting the global economy through women is an obvious benefit and lies at the heart of Hogan Lovells’ three year partnership with Barefoot College.

Hogan Lovells Directors Talks on the Importance of Liberating Rural Women Economic Potential:

“To understand why we engage with Barefoot College is really to get to grips with the issue of gender equality,” says Yasmin Waljee OBE, Hogan Lovells International Pro Bono Director.

What I found very interesting is the concept that Barefoot College has of taking one person and really investing in that one person and the knowledge that that investment will spread right round through the community.

 Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner UK and Africa

As we’ve seen throughout the first year of this partnership, empowering women in last mile communities is good citizenship. By making women agents of change and leaders in their communities, not only do we secure the control of communal energy supply in the hands of the women, but we are helping them to fulfil their potential and advance their rights. It means to participate to the global movement towards the achievement of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, it means to build the foundation of solidarity and justice and returns balanced relationships between people. 

Besides, it’s also good business. Once unleashed, the economic potential of women could help rise global GDP and, in the meantime, local economies, giving a new light to the “think global, act local” motto that is embodied in grassroots actions all around the world. 

Hogan Lovells supports Barefoot College’s solution and approach because they see us challenging the status quo. Help us to continue provide rural innovation: