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Power Shift 2014: Women and Finance

Reflections on Power Shift 2014 by Linda Scott

Last week, the second annual Oxford Forum for Women in the World Economy - more popularly known as “Power Shift” - gathered at the Saïd Business School for an intensive two days’ focus on financial inclusion for women. Once again, I was struck by the concentrated passion of the participants, their activist use of new data about women around the world, and their optimistic determination to improve conditions everywhere by closing the gender gap.

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About Power Shift 2014

Power Shift: the Oxford Forum for Women in the World Economy will return 27 - 29 May 2014 to investigate the relationship between women and the world of finance. 

For more than 2,000 years, women have been excluded from the system of money.  Often engaged in unpaid labour, usually barred from inheriting wealth, frequently forbidden to have bank accounts, and commonly unable to own property, women in the history of East and West have been effectively left out of the world of investment and credit.  Today, the prints of past exclusion can still be seen in laws and practices of developed and developing nations. 

Now, however, major institutions throughout the world are working together to create a more inclusive system to promote growth and equality. Power Shift 2014 will aim to uncover exclusionary practices, identify effective reforms, and celebrate champions of change.  

The Power Shift 2013 Forum created a community with a shared sense of urgency to take action on behalf of women-owned businesses.  The resolved 'next steps' from that event have been followed through the year, with results to report back in 2014.

– Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean, Said Business School.

We will build upon the success of the 2013 Forum by looking at conditions for women-owned businesses who seek capital, whether debt or equity. We expand our scope to include other points of contact between women and the money system:  consumer credit, savings accounts, inheritance law, philanthropy, careers in finance, even pyramid schemes.  Scholars from many disciplines will help us grasp the deep roots of present circumstances and contemporary leaders will show us paths to the future.

Our purpose will be to arrive at an action research agenda for governments, NGOs, and companies that want to support women’s inclusion in finance around the world. 

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