Empowering women challenges poverty - CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation

Tuesday 05-03-2013 05:42 PM
Empowering women challenges poverty - CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation

CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation Monique Villa at an Aswat Masriya conference on March 3, 2013. Ahmed Hamed/Aswat Masriya


By Dina Kabil

The Chief Executive Officer of Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique Villa, said on Monday that helping women know and defend their rights tackles the very root of poverty.

In an interview with Aswat Masriya, Villa said, "The big difference between a man and a woman is that the woman spends most of her salary...70 to 75 percent on her family. The man doesn't always do that. If you help women know their rights and find a job, you tackle the very root of poverty and this is what we try to do."

Monique Villa visits Egypt within the framework of participating in a celebration and a seminar organized by the Aswat Masriya website of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Villa said her visit to Egypt was positive, since she met with many lawyers and social entrepreneurs.

Monique Villa, ranked 43rd in Ethisphere's list of the world's 100 most influential people in Business Ethics, considered Aswat Masriya to be "one of the big successes in the foundation," saying that within a year the website has done an incredible work to be one of the most unbiased and most recognized news websites right now in Egypt.

Villa referred the success of Aswat Masriya to the need for accurate and totally independent information.

"We decided very quickly in six weeks to create Aswat Masriya according to the principles of Reuters; freedom from bias, total independence and total accuracy. It is a huge success because you have the biggest traffic possible on a news website. I wanted to do it only for a year...but it has been such a success that it continues for two more years," Villa said.

Villa also created TrustLaw Connect two years ago. TrustLaw is a pro bono service that provides an electronic marketplace to connect lawyers willing to work at no cost with NGOs and social entrepreneurs in need of legal assistance.

She said that it has become the biggest market place for pro bono in the world, "We have more than 270 law firms worldwide, we're making a difference to a lot of NGOs and social enterprises."

Villa also launched Trust Women within the framework of Thomson Reuters' programs on journalistic coverage, where they cover issues that nobody else covers, world crisis, humanitarian issues and women rights.

"We help women know their rights and defend it... and in the end get a job," she said.

Speaking of Aswat Masriya's future, Villa said, "The future is big because we had no idea for instance when we launched Aswat Masriya 15 months ago that it will be this successful, so now that it has grown, we are now adding business coverage to cover business and finance in Egypt."

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