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The Goldman Sachs Foundation recently awarded The Asian University for Women Support Foundation (AUWSF) a $1.4 million grant to fund operations of the Asian University for Women’s Access Academy in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The Access Academy is a pre-collegiate bridge program to prepare talented young women from across Asia, and especially from socially and economically marginalized backgrounds, for entrance into the new University slated to open in the fall of 2009. Students enrolled in the Academy receive intensive training in English, mathematics and computer science. Upon successful completion of the one-year program, they will be eligible to enter the Asian University for Women as first-year undergraduates. All 130 students at the Access Academy attend on full scholarship, which covers all their needs, including tuition, room and board, health care, and travel from their home countries.  The Access Academy opened in April, 2008, with students from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The full five-year University program will open in August 2009 with students from these and additional Asian countries.  “At Goldman Sachs, we recognize both the exponential impact of investing in women and the transformative power of education,” said Dina Habib Powell, global head of Corporate Engagement. “Many of our philanthropic efforts are anchored in these tenets, including 10,000 Women, a signature initiative launched this year to provide a business and management education to deserving women in developing countries around the world. 10,000 Women seeks to marry potential with academic opportunity, and we commend the Asian University for Women for opening the door of opportunity to so many others. The Access Academy is creating the next generation of women leaders, and we are proud to support AUW in this endeavor.”

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It’s shopping as a full-contact sport and this year’s ‘Running of the Brides’ at Filene’s Basement in Boston (August 22) had a little something extra for the brides-to-be.  Filene’s teamed up with online wedding planning site WeddingWire.com to offer four lucky brides the chance to win a free wedding dress at the event.  “WeddingWire is about simplifying the wedding planning process, and what better way then to help future brides find their wedding dress,” says Sonny Ganguly, chief marketing office at WeddingWire.  “The Running of the Brides is one of the most distinctive and fun bridal events in the U.S., and the perfect way to find a great wedding dress at an unbelievable price.”  As soon as the doors opened at this annual event, hundreds of brides made a mad dash to the racks to find their perfect wedding dress at a rock-bottom price.  

BlogHer has announced the launch of its Reach Out Tour to take place in October 2008, stopping in six U.S. cities for lively one-day conferences that will bring highlights of its popular sold-out annual conference to a more local stage. The success of the annual conferences prompted BlogHer to embark on a two-week tour to meet the growing demands of its online community of women, and give local bloggers a more intimate environment to discuss blogging basics, lead sessions on local themes and network with their community.  The three BlogHer co-founders will kick off the tour in Boston on October 11 and then continue on to five additional cities. The tour schedule includes:

  • Washington, DC – October 13
  • Nashville, TN – October 16
  • Greensboro, NC – October 18
  • Atlanta, GA – October 21
  • New Orleans, LA – October 25

“What started as one annual conference has now grown into eight diverse events that are driven by BlogHer’s commitment to listen and respond to requests from our community,” said BlogHer COO and co-founder Elisa Camahort Page. “For this Reach Out Tour, we want to bring the most energizing and educational highlights of our annual conference to community members who were unable to attend, so they too have the opportunity to grow their blogging communities, learn from one another and help shape the broader community dialogue.”  General Motors, a returning Platinum Sponsor from the past three annual conferences, will also be sponsoring this inaugural event by providing attendees within 200 miles of each scheduled city with Saturn hybrid vehicles for carpools to the event. Participating carpoolers will blog about their experiences with the vehicles on BlogHer.com. In addition, GM will bring back their popular “ride and drive” events at each tour location, where bloggers will have the opportunity to test drive varying cars on site.

EMILY’s List has released the 2008 Women’s Monitor Study — “From 18 to 80: Women on Politics and Society.” This national study commissioned by EMILY’s List and executed by Garin-Hart-Yang Research, talked to more than 1,400 women voters in four distinct generational groups: Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers, and

Seniors. A fascinating look at the gaps and bridges between generations and what they mean for the next president of the United States, the study banishes myths about women voters and reveals key opportunities and challenges for the candidates in the presidential race.  “Women are the key to victory in the fall,” said Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY’s List. “They will dictate political fortunes and reshape the government of this country at all levels. Anyone who wants to understand the political landscape must examine the mind and motivations of the women’s electorate.”   Conducted by a variety of respected Democratic pollsters, the EMILY’s List Women’s Monitor program has focused on a range of topics and key voter targets to build a comprehensive data file on the political views and voting behaviors of American women. In addition to survey research and focus groups, the Women’s Monitor has pioneered other innovative techniques to dispel myths about women voters and explain how they take in and digest political information. To view the entire report visit http://www.emilyslist.org.

Dove has unveiled the second issue of Shine Magazine, a publication featuring images of real and diverse Canadian women who have a love affair with their hair. Over 50 real Canadian women from coast to coast can find their photograph in Shine’s pages. Shine Magazine shows that how a woman feels about her hair when walking out the door in the morning affects her daily outlook and self-confidence.  None of the women featured in Shine’s pages are professional models or actors, in keeping with Dove’s policy of using real women to depict real, genuine beauty.  Shine Magazine is full of beautiful, self-confident Canadian women who feel wonderful when their hair is just the way they like it,” says Alison Leung, Dove marketing manager. “These women know that starting their morning with beautiful hair sets the stage for the rest of the day.”  In Spring of 2008, Dove invited women across Canada to participate in an online casting call. The only restriction was that candidates could not have previous modeling experience. Women of all ages, all ethnicities and all hair types submitted their favorite photos to take a shot at representing real Canadian women and celebrating real hair.  Shine Magazine will be available with select subscription copies of September and October issues of Transcontinental magazines, along with 50,000 copies available on newsstands with Elle Canada magazine. Alternatively, the magazine can be viewed in its entirety at dovehair.ca as of August 27, 2008.

It is no secret that today’s women are paying closer attention to their finances and represent an ever-growing segment with increased purchasing power. What is overlooked, however, is how purchasing power is related to the development of more sophisticated relationships and inherent levels of trust with the professionals who assist women with health, wealth and long-term financial security decisions.  A recent study from State Farm Life Insurance Company offers an in-depth look at women’s attitudes toward financial security issues and what women want from their professional service providers to develop the trust that leads to a business relationship.  The Musts of Trust Study found that while today’s women are reporting high levels of confidence in handling their finances, the same women admit they are not really in control of their personal finances. In fact, according to the study, they’re waiting for major life events to occur before getting a grip on their spending, saving and life insurance planning.  Further, as financially assured as they claim to be, women have a trust barrier with the professionals who can help them manage their money. The study found that American women do not fully trust the professionals who can guide them through fiscal turmoil.  “Women are telling us that they distrust financial advisers and tend to wait for something significant to affect their lives before getting serious about their finances,” said Susan Waring, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of State Farm Life Insurance Company.  “However, it is crucial for women to be aware and in control of their personal finances at all times, no matter what is going on in their lives.  We’ve seen the economy take unexpected turns and women must be prepared for the unexpected.”

As the battle for women voters heats up, one national survey has revealed that women business owners may hold the key. Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the nation’s largest bipartisan women’s business group, commissioned the 2008 “We Decide!” bipartisan survey of 400 women entrepreneurs.  “Women will play a larger role than ever in this year’s presidential election,” said WIPP president Barbara Kasoff. “The We Decide! survey shows that women entrepreneurs from both parties are active, engaged and influence other women voters; making women business owners the key to winning the 2008 elections.” Released 88-years after women gained the right to vote, WIPP’s survey reveals not only are women entrepreneurs a powerful voting bloc; they are also more likely to influence other women voters. Many of the women surveyed said they are already engaged in the upcoming elections and place a significant degree of trust in the candidate endorsements of other women business owners. So, who will they be voting for come this November?  The survey shows women entrepreneurs are virtually split regarding the presidential candidates, with 43% supporting McCain; 41% for Barack Obama and 17% undecided.  Of those questioned, a majority said that the economy is a major hurdle for their businesses and will be a consideration at the ballot box. Health care also remains a priority, with 69% stating they would be more likely to support a candidate who offers tax credits to offset health care costs. And, although they strongly believe the country would be governed better if more women were elected to office, seven in 10 women entrepreneurs stated they would prefer their daughter become the president of her own company rather than the president of the United States.

Despite heightened financial concerns for their families’ futures, working women are less likely than men to have adequate life insurance coverage. The sixth annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends reveals that, in general, female employees who have life insurance own only two times their household income in coverage. Male employees with life insurance, however, generally have three times their household income in coverage. This gender gap is surprising given that almost two-thirds (64%) of working women (vs. 52% of working men) are very concerned about their families’ financial futures in the event of their own premature death.  In addition, nearly half of full-time working women (46%) have not taken any steps to determine their life insurance needs. Plus, more than half (56%) of the women surveyed who have life insurance coverage don’t believe, or are unsure, that the amount of their coverage is adequate. “With the increase in dual-income families and single women heads of households, as well as child and elder care responsibilities, many people may depend on a woman’s income,” notes Graham Cox, vice president, MetLife Life Products Management. “While many male employees with life insurance are very likely to be underinsured given personal circumstances, the fact that female employees generally have even less coverage is disconcerting. Fortunately, there are some easy ways for employers to address the underinsured issue for all their employees.”  How can companies help women build stronger personal financial safety nets?  “Working Americans are asking for education and advice,” adds Cox. “MetLife is helping them become better buyers of insurance by enabling them, through online tools, to become smarter, more confident and more empowered during the insurance decision-making process. Helping employees gain greater understanding of their benefits options allows employers to address their employee loyalty and retention goals. It’s a win-win situation.”

Glam Media, Inc. has announced Yukihiro Yamamura has joined the company as CEO of its newly formed subsidiary Glam Media Japan KK, and as a vice president of Glam Media, Inc. Glam plans to officially launch its Japanese site and publisher network later this year. Yamamura joins Glam from DoubleClick Japan where he was CEO and most recently from Excite Japan, where he was CEO since 1999. “It is an honor to join Glam Media as it continues its global expansion into the Japanese market,” said Yukihiro Yamamura. “Glam’s vertical content model and its relevance to brand advertisers, agencies and publishers will enable the company to take a leading role in Japan’s sophisticated online advertising market.”  “The appointment of Yukihiro Yamamura is a strategic addition to the Glam team as we continue to leverage the fragmentation of the Web globally,” said Samir Arora, chairman and CEO, Glam Media. “With an accomplished background in online advertising and operations from DoubleClick and Excite Japan, Yamamura brings local expertise that will be invaluable as Glam Media expands its position as the leading vertical content network.”  Glam’s executive team including Samir Arora, Ernie Cicogna, CFO, and Ralf Hirt, vice president of international will serve on and help expand the board of Glam Japan KK together with Yukihiro Yamamura. Glam Media’s global expansion follows the demand by advertisers for its pioneering vertical content network model. When Glam launched its UK and German operations in June and July of 2008, Glam was already number one and two in reach for women online in those markets at launch, respectively.

AlphaWomen.com is taking great exceptions to the recent Meredith Corporation study regarding the emergence of Gamma Women (as reported in M2W® E-ssentials on July 28th).  The study found that an estimated 55 million American women are “Gammas” and share and exchange information, ideas, opinions, contacts and recommendations with their wide-reaching network using multiple media and channels of communication—a sharp contrast to the ‘Alpha’ style of communication.  According to a recent press release from AlphaWomen.com, “Contrary to Meredith’s insinuations, today’s Alpha woman is a stronger force than ever before.  She is the buying power behind the family of consumers; she is the decision-maker in the boardroom and she is getting what she wants in the bedroom.  She is not afraid to speak her mind or to be herself.  She is an Alpha, and that is enough.”     To view the entire release, visit http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-14-2008/0004867510&EDATE=

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