During a Women and Global Development Forum lunch, Fiorina discussed the state of women in the world and the strategies that can be used to unlock potential by engaging them. Fiorina described that major issues throughout the world such as poverty, illiteracy, and HIV/AIDs could be solved in a timelier and more peaceful manner with more women involved in the solution. “Women are the most underutilized and wasted resource in the world,” Fiorina said.
Fiorina also spoke about the great importance of investing in women and gave an example of the many successful programs that train women to be farmers. “When women are farmers food production goes up. The data is clear. You want more food? You need women farmers,” Fiorina shared. This is an outcome also discussed in the Girls Grow report from the Council’s Global Agriculture Development Initiative.
Fiorina discussed obstacles, such as the status quo, that can prevent women from truly unlocking their potential, especially in the United States. “There is no greater power than the power of the status quo. The status quo has huge power whatever it is. In any status quo there are people who have won, there are people who have succeeded, there are people who have invested. And they want to hang on to what they have.”
Looking toward the future, Fiorina expressed optimism in large part due to increased access to technology throughout the world. “This is a time and place in history where more things are possible for more people in more places than ever before. Technology unlocks the potential in people. So, when we look around and say ‘oh the problems are so immense and vast,’ I take heart in knowing this: there is a vast amount of human potential that we haven’t begun to tap. And now we have tools in technology with which to tap it.”
The Women and Global Development Forum is an initiative commenced by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs that aims to increase public awareness of global women’s issues. The forum works with local, national, and international partners to bring practitioners and thought leaders to Chicago for a series of public programs and private roundtables. The forum encourages open dialogue on successful development initiatives, emerging local and global challenges, and unique examples of leadership in the United States and from around the world.