ExxonMobil Foundation Funds Study by Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on Mobile Phone Use by Women Entrepreneurs

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Research on mobile technology to begin in the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria and Indonesia

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ExxonMobil Media Relations 972.444.1107

  • Groundbreaking study part of commitment to create economic opportunities for women through technology
  • ExxonMobil grant to help women entrepreneurs enhance business through mobile technology
  • Investment of nearly $50 million on women’s economic opportunities by ExxonMobil and ExxonMobil Foundation programs has helped tens of thousands of women

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2011 – The ExxonMobil Foundation today announced a $1.5 million grant for research into how mobile phone technology can enhance women’s economic opportunities and entrepreneurship in the developing world. The grant to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women will be highlighted at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.

The study, to be conducted in Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia, aims to identify various mobile services that can help women entrepreneurs enhance their businesses, and what barriers exist to expanding access to these services.

“We know that mobile technology has great potential for placing women in low-income countries on a higher economic trajectory,” said Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. “Mobile phone use doesn’t just help women earn more money, it can also bring great benefits to businesses and therefore to the wider economy as well.”

Mobile phone services are often cited as a significant tool in economic development.There are 300 million fewer female than male subscribers worldwide, and a woman is 21 percent less likely to own a phone than a man in low- and middle-income countries.

“Studies like this will help us understand how technology can best support women in the developing world,” said Suzanne M. McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “Success of women entrepreneurs is vital to building strong communities. Expanding the use of mobile technology for women will help raise living standards, leading to more prosperity for them, their families and their countries.”

“Our research shows that technology can be transformative for women, if we engage them in the process,” said Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of the International Center for Research on Women.  “This partnership does that and will help take women entrepreneurs farther, faster, as a result.”

The announcement builds on commitments made by ExxonMobil at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in 2009 and 2010 that were focused on accelerating women’s economic advancement through technology. In the last six years, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation have invested more than $47 million to support the economic advancement of women. As a result, tens of thousands of women have benefited. Initiatives include:

  • Providing new irrigation technologies to women farmers in Benin which enable farming throughout the country’s six-month dry season.
  • Training women in Ghana to use agricultural technologies to increase crop yields.
  • Helping Ugandan women access solar energy for their communities while growing their own businesses.
  • Offering business training, mentoring support and networking opportunities to more than 11,000 women in the developing world.
  • Providing Indonesian women access to solar lanterns which enable them to be more productive after sundown.

In addition to investing in high-impact programs, ExxonMobil partners with leading academics and think tanks to support research and advocacy efforts that raise awareness about the critical role women play in building strong, stable communities.


Mission Statement:

About ExxonMobil Foundation

ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) in the United States. Globally, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation provide funding to improve basic education, promote women as catalysts for development, and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries. In 2010, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $237 million in contributions worldwide, of which $110 million was dedicated to education. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contribution programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.

About Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women provides women with the skills, technology, networks and access to finance that they need to become successful small and growing business owners, so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice to their societies. Research by the OECD shows that women tend to invest 90 percent of their income back into their families, so their success is critical to the ability of their children to escape poverty too. And yet, women find it harder to obtain access to finance, the right training and good advice. The foundation is a response to these challenges. www.cherieblairfoundation.org

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI annual meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. The 2011 CGI Annual Meeting will take place from Sept. 20-22, 2011, in New York City. www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

About International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

ICRW’s mission is to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world. To accomplish this, ICRW works with partners to conduct empirical research, build capacity and advocate for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs. www.icrw.org