Cathy Stahl, Managing Director, Global Head of Marketing: Nate, can you talk a little bit about the philanthropic work that we do to help empower women around the world?
Nate Brown, Sr. Vice President, Director of PIMCO Foundation: Sure. We’re investing where need meets the greatest opportunity for impact. We’re invested in the economic empowerment of vulnerable women and girls. And gender inequality begins at birth. It makes sense to invest in the economic empowerment of women, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.
We know that women spend 90 percent of their income on their families, and this is in the form of nutrition, healthcare, and education.
It not only has long-term social benefit, but long-term economic benefit. Any serious conversation about the most vulnerable women and girls has to contemplate the issue of about modern slavery.
There are currently 40 million people in the world who are living enslaved lives. And when you take into account trafficking, where 71 percent are women and girls, they're not only being denied the fruit of their own labor, but they're also being denied agency over their own bodies.
This is a worldwide problem. 62 percent of it, is happening in Asia. And India happens to have 8 million of those slaves. And this is why we’re so happy to partner with the NOMI network, because they're boldly tackling this issue, and they're seeking to eradicate modern slavery by economically empowering women.
Under Diana and her cofounders’ leadership, this organization has dramatically improved the life and outcomes for over 8,000 women since 2009.
Cathy: So, Diana. Can you tell us a little bit more about the work that NOMI network does, and specifically the impact to address some of the issues that Nate just outlined?
Diana Mao, President and Co-Founder, NOMI Network: Yes. Thank you so much, and thank you for your support.
Well, this journey started 10 years ago, when I was in a rural village in Cambodia, and I met a single father and he was living in utter poverty with seven children to feed.
And, we knew what he had, and he had nothing. And those are the same areas where traffickers pray on women and girls. So, fast forward to two years later, NOMI network was birthed with the mandate to provide training and job opportunities for survivors, and women at risk of human trafficking. And so, beyond the thousands of women that we’ve impacted, it’s really about one woman and the ripple effect she makes in her family and in her community. Women that now have a voice, have a choice, have income earning at least 250 percent more than what they were earning prior to our program, which in many cases was zero. And now have the ability to pay for tutoring services to upgrade the education of their girls.
But most of all, seeing the value in themselves, and seeing the values in their daughters, and sending them to school as opposed to marrying them off at the age of 12, or sending them to work in a brothel or be a domestic servant.
Cathy: Nate, you've seen firsthand the conditions and the work that NOMI network is doing. What observations can you share?
Nate: We saw really strong examples of how this program changed women’s lives, and helping them establish independence.
Photographs of women and girls that have been assisted by the Nomi Network.
Also within the community, we saw how employers value NOMI women. So, these both are examples of how successful the program is.
Cathy: What stood out the most for you?
Nate: I’d say the resilience of these women. I mean, these were not women who presented themselves as victims.
Photographs of women and girls that have been assisted by the Nomi Network.
I think another thing that stood out were the examples of innovation that we witnessed. And finally, I say that we saw evidence that women are taking this experience and reinvesting in their communities, thus breaking the cycle of poverty.
Cathy: How can other people support this investment in, in growth and the future of the women in the region?
Diana: Sign up for our listserve, and you'll receive updates about our trainees that you can share with your network and tell their stories, and advocate. You can advocate for her, host home parties to raise awareness. And then of course, donate, run a marathon for NOMI, host a birthday campaign for NOMI, and finally, we really appreciate PIMCO’s professional bono services. We’re always looking for advisory board members that can lend expertise strategically, and help lift the organization.
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