Through our business and in partnership with others, Abbott is working every day to empower women to build better lives and stronger communities in countries around the world.
One example of this work is a partnership to support the pioneering efforts of Nobel Prize nominee Sakena Yacoobi to improve health and provide livelihoods for women in Afghanistan. For nearly a decade, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have worked with Yacoobi’s Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Direct Relief to empower women as healthcare providers. The partnership has trained more than 75 midwives and supported women-staffed clinics, providing critical care and health education for more than 1.5 million women and children, and much-needed economic opportunity for women.
This important work was highlighted in a recent cover story in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, "Empowering Women at the Grassroots," including a comment from Abbott's Katherine Pickus on the impact of the partnership: "What we found within a year of their completion of training is that each and every midwife had a job and was making money for her family, investing that money in their girls' education, and really developing a cycle of empowerment."
Abbott and the Abbott Fund support the
work of Sakena Yacoobi (left), the founder
of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL),
to advance health care and economic
opportunity for women in Afghanistan.
Advancing Women in the Workplace
Of course, our work to empower women starts in our own workplace, where we depend on the vital leadership, insights and expertise of women across our company, at every level. Women make up nearly half of our global workforce, 45 percent of management, and 36 percent of our Board of Directors. Earlier this year, Abbott was recognized as one of the top companies for advancing women leaders by the National Association of Female Executives – read more about this honor in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune.
"The advancement of women ties closely to our identity at Abbott," said Stephen Fussell, executive vice president, Human Resources at Abbott. "To be relevant in today's global marketplace, we need a broad array of perspectives from all people. As the global gatekeepers to healthcare, the advancement of women is critical to help families and societies live more financially secure and healthy lives."
Investing in Women to Strengthen Our Business
Beyond our own employees, investing in the advancement of women also can deliver a competitive advantage to our business. One example: in India, we’re starting a new initiative to provide targeted support to women dairy farmers to strengthen our supply chain.
In many households, women conduct the vast majority of dairy activity but have little decision-making power, and little training on farming techniques and business literacy. We’re aiming to help address these gaps, sharing expertise in business management, animal care and other skills, with the goal of delivering an immediate return in better income, competitiveness and strengthened position in society for women. Longer term, this also will help them deliver high-quality milk for our new nutrition production plant in India to meet the needs of local consumers.
Advancing Health, Education and Opportunity
Abbott and the Abbott Fund also work in partnership with leading nonprofit organizations to improve women's health and expand opportunity for women through educational and economic development initiatives. A few examples:
- Abbott and the Abbott Fund support the Asian University for Women (AUW), an international university in Bangladesh that provides world-class higher education to tomorrow’s women leaders. The Abbott Fund provides scholarships to promising students, and top Abbott scientists have served as mentors to AUW students, sharing their expertise and insights on careers in science; Abbott also has provided critical laboratory equipment and materials.
- In Myanmar, the Abbott Fund works together with the U.S. Secretary's International Fund for Women and Girls to advance health, education and economic opportunity for women and girls. The partnership strengthens the work of existing grassroots organizations to expand health awareness, prevention and treatment; support education; provide economic opportunity and income generation for women; and help women at risk of trafficking.
- In India, the Abbott Fund is a longtime supporter of Corstone’s Girls First initiative, providing more than 2,000 marginalized adolescent girls and young women the knowledge, skills and training they need to improve their mental and physical health, as well as educational outcomes and self-sufficiency.
- The Abbott Fund is providing a $2 million grant to the International Diabetes Federation to conduct a four-year pilot project to address gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a significant issue affecting more than 6 million women in India. The model aims to improve awareness, care and monitoring of GDM, as well as reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and improve pregnancy outcomes for both mother and child.
For more examples of how Abbott is unlocking the power of health to build a healthier, thriving society, please visit our global citizenship website: www.abbott.com/citizenship.