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Women leaders inspire

To mark International Women’s Day this Friday, and World Consumer Rights Day a week later on 15 March, Consumer International’s Raquel Baetz brought together women leaders from the consumer rights movement to talk about inspiration, leadership and the fight for consumer justice.

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Globally, women hold only one in five senior management roles and barely one in 10 businesses can boast a female CEO. This may be the case in a lot of professions, but the international consumer rights movement bucks this trend in a big way.

At Consumers International, the world federation of consumer rights groups, 50 percent of the executive board are women, four of the nine senior management positions are held by women (including the director general), and since its inception more than 50 years ago, almost half of its presidents have been women. Our own CEO is a woman.

It is perhaps not surprising that women are drawn to the consumer rights movement, having traditionally held a pivotal role in family health, safety and finances. Indeed, women control 70 percent of consumer spending worldwide.

From local shopping groups run by housewives and mothers, to individuals like Rhoda Karpatkin, former head of Consumers Union in the US; to Ruby Hutchinson, co-founder of Choice in Australia; to Sheila McKechnie, former head of Which? in the UK, women have been instrumental in building the consumer rights movement.

Consumer International’s discussion panel:

  • Consumer International Director General, Helen McCallum
  • Consumer International Head of Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Dato Indrani Thuraisingham
  • Consumer International Head of Africa, Onica Makwakwa
  • Product Standards Expert and Consumer International Senior Policy Advocate, Sadie Homer
  • Emeritus Consumer International President and Founder of Idec (Brazilian Institute for Consumers Defence), Marilena Lazzarini

Read about the discussion.