Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day
last week, today’s Commonwealth Day
has the theme ‘women as agents of change’.
It has been selected to encourage investment in women, to speed up social, economic and political development around the world. As the Queen says in her message today
: “As governments continue to search for new ways to tackle these important challenges, let us all give a thought to the practical ways in which we, as individuals or as groups, can provide support to girls and women.”
Buyers are in a better position than most to provide this support, by contracting with women-owned businesses or championing innovative ideas. In Swaziland (itself a Commonwealth nation) last year, for example, there was an effort to encourage politicians to legislate to discriminate in favour of female firms
. And last week the Australian government said it wanted public sector buyers to drive social policy goals with their spending power
There will be arguments from some that such contracting provides worse value for money, or that policy goals should not be a concern of private companies (although, increasingly they are). Even so, there will undoubtedly be opportunities for buyers to get the best deal for their organisation and help improve lives at the same time.
Perhaps today would be a good time to start considering how you can change the world.