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In Bulgaria, Secretary Clinton Convenes Leaders for Action on Women’s Economic Advancement

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Secretary Clinton opens “Breaking Barriers: Investing in Women Entrepreneurs,” a CGI special convening in Sofia, Bulgaria.

 

  • At CGI Special Convening, “Breaking Barriers: Investing in Women Entrepreneurs,” Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Cherie Blair among leaders inspiring action.
  • Progress announced on several Commitments to Action making a difference in the lives of women and girls globally.
  • Special Convening in Sofia co-hosted by Kiril Domuschiev, member of the CGI Advisory Council, and Founder, Domuschiev Impact.

 

SOFIA, BULGARIA – Today, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton brought together public and private sector leaders for a special meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), to tackle barriers to women’s advancement.

“This is not just an open door that we help people walk through,” Secretary Clinton remarked at the event. “There are forces at work that want to keep that door closed, that don’t see the benefits of women’s full participation in society.”

At Saturday’s meeting in Sofia, leaders including President Vjosa Osmani of Kosovo and Cherie Blair convened to discuss the critical need to support women in leadership, and create more equitable access to capital, employment, and advancement.

“Everywhere in the world, there’s one simple way of making sure that we achieve economic growth and prosperity for all of our citizens — investing in your human capital, both men and women,” President Osmani said in a fireside conversation with Secretary Clinton. “But if you exclude women, half of your capital, obviously also the economic growth will only behalf as much as you can achieve.”

“So it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.”

Saturday’s meeting was held in partnership with Kiril Domuschiev, Co-Founder of Domuschiev Impact and member of the CGI Advisory Council. Domuschiev Impact served as a presenting sponsor for the CGI 2022 and 2023 Meetings in New York City.

“Entrepreneurs serve as a catalyst for innovation and progress, driving economies forward and transforming societies,” said Domuschiev in remarks opening the event. “Yet even today, the voices of women entrepreneurs are often unheard. More can be done to ensure their success, and through CGI’s efforts, enormous strides have been made to marshal resources, inspire action, and motivate changemakers.”

CGI is a community of established and emerging leaders who work together to create and implement Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable solutions to pressing global challenges.

Throughout the day, participants heard from members of the CGI community who are taking action on these challenges, and reporting the progress and impact of their Commitments. At the CGI 2023 Meeting, non-profit MeXoxo committed to educating 100,000 women around the world with entrepreneurship and leadership training.

Speaking to the audience about her journey, MeXoxo Founder and CEO Elpida Kokkota said, “Driven by the belief that empowered and educated women are thriving participants in economic and civic life, I founded Mexoxo, a non-profit organization dedicated to women’s empowerment. Along the way, I encountered countless setbacks and doubts. People told me I was too small, too young, too poor to make a difference.”

Today in Bulgaria, Kokkota announced that they had already exceeded their target. “Filled with gratitude and a vision to support 5 million women by 2030, I hold tight the young, small, and economically challenged woman I was once in 2013 — the woman who broke through her barriers and refused to believe that she couldn’t make a difference,” Kokkota told the audience.

Him for Her, an organization devoted to better representation of women on corporate boards, also launched their Commitment to Action at CGI 2023 in New York. “We know from hundreds of studies that having cognitive diversity at the board level means better business performance,” said Him for Her Founder and CEO Jocelyn Mangan. “The solution is simple, though the work isn’t easy. By diversifying the networks of those in the boardroom, we will solve board diversity.”

At today’s meeting, Mangan announced critical milestones — that Him for Her has built a network of more than 7,800 board-qualified women; partnered with more than 100 investment firms; and worked with more than 1,000 companies to diversify their boards.

Asking the audience to take action, Secretary Clinton remarked, “We hope that today’s program will inspire you to think about what you might do in your business, in your office, in whether the public or the private sector, what can be done to take advantage of the opportunities that are there.”

“And we also want to emphasize the role that making commitments at the Clinton Global Initiative provides. Whether it is supporting women entrepreneurs, increasing women’s participation on corporate boards, helping women gain more experience so that they’re prepared for these opportunities, these are all CGI commitment makers.”

The meeting in Sofia is part of CGI’s “Road to September” – year-round convenings to establish new partnerships and identify ways to take action, leading up to the CGI 2024 Meeting in New York City, September 23-24.

Last year, President Clinton convened members of the CGI community in Bulgaria meeting to drive action on Commitments launched at CGI 2023 in September in New York City – including projects around food security and Domuschiev Impact’s launch of a new Global Anti-Malaria Center focused on bringing a competitive, no-profit-no-loss treatment for malaria to market.