Deborah Gibbins, COO, says the company believes in investing on women through many notable partnerships.
The company has collaborated with change makers through impact-focused partnerships around the world to help dismantle barriers. Aligned with its mission to enrich women’s lives, Mary Kay and its partners are focused on advancing women entrepreneurship and supporting established or aspiring women entrepreneurs wherever they live.
Deborah Gibbins, chief operating officer at Mary Kay Inc., says, “Inspired by our mission as an entrepreneurship development company founded by a woman for women, we believe we must invest in and empower women to realize the full benefits of their economic participation not only on the economy but on society at large.”
Gibbons adds, “We are transforming the landscape for women entrepreneurs by addressing the barriers they face through key partnerships aimed at disrupting the status quo.”
Mary Kay’s notable ongiong partnerships to advance women’s entrepreneurship are:
- The SDG Pilot Village Project in China—the project focuses on reducing poverty for women.
- The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge—to supporting women social entrepreneurs
- The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator—eco-system that works for women entrepreneurs, created by Mary Kay while working together with six U.N. agencies. The agencies are the International Labour Organization, International Trade Centre, International Telecommunication Union, UN Global Compact, the United Nations Development Program, and UN Women.
“Advancing women’s economic participation is not only good for sustainable growth, but also ensures that no-one is left behind,” the company states, which is one of its key principles in its “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Mary Kay states that it recognizes that women’s empowerment and gender equality are critical enablers and accelerators in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals.
Mary Kay’s 10-year sustainability strategy, launched in 2021, “Enriching Lives Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow,” is underpinned by a strong gender equality lens and a key commitment to empower 5 million women worldwide by 2030 through key initiatives and partnerships.
Achievements through Its Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator
Mary Kay’s key achievements through its women’s entrepreneurship accelerator, are:
- Entrepreneurship Policy Development in Mexico and Brazil—Over the course of 2020 and 2021, ILO conducted and released a Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED) assessment of policy conditions that impact women’s entrepreneurship focused on the commerce and industry sectors in Mexico City in support of WEA. The assessment included a series of 19 actionable recommendations to address the institutional gaps that exist for women entrepreneurs.
- Launch of the Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO—In 2021, the first Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO, led by UN Women with the support of Mary Kay, organized a bootcamp across the Europe and Central Asia region to increase the capacities of women entrepreneurs to attract investment. This culminated in an Investors Pitch Finale in April 2022 where 25 women entrepreneurs from 9 countries pitched their early-stage startups and business plans to address one of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses – access to capital. This month, the second live Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO brought women entrepreneurs and business partners together to mobilize and take forward specific action to advance the landscape for women’s entrepreneurship development.
- Business Skills Development for Aspiring & Established Entrepreneurs—The first-ever free online Entrepreneurship Certificate Programme developed by ITC SheTrades in support of WEA was launched in January 2022. Powered by Mary Kay, the 27 module-digital curriculum covers the 7 key stages of the entrepreneurial journey.
- Release of a Global Advocacy Brief to Engage the Private Sector on Gender-Responsive Procurement (GRP)—In 2022, UN Women released an Advocacy Brief in support of WEA titled Procurement’s Strategic Value. The Brief highlights how economies have better opportunities to grow and are more resilient to crises if women and men have equal rights. It also presents compelling evidence of the benefits for strengthening the participation of women in private sector supply chains to bring about inclusive growth and sustainable development.
- Launch of an Innovation Competition to Create a More Gender-Inclusive Digital Eco-System—Supported by Mary Kay, ITU will hold an open innovation competition next month where an expert jury will select 10 digital best practices and digital solutions to create a more gender-inclusive eco-system for start-ups and scale-ups to address the many obstacles women entrepreneurs face in developing technologies. The winners will gain access to the Digital Innovation Eco-System Program where they will receive capacity-building and specialized mentorship.
Mary Kay operates in nearly 35 countries, and has empowered women and supported their entrepreneurial aspirations for almost 60 years.