This Sunday marks the fourth Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with Yemen, Morocco, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai joining the celebration of women in business hoping to alleviate poverty for the first time.

Founded by social entrepreneur and humanitarian Wendy Diamond, the day was first celebrated in 2014 and saw 144 countries and 22 universities participating, with the latter going up to 65 in the last two years.

Convening at the United Nations in New York today (17 November), the event includes a conference, speakers and a Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Awards.

The chief executive of Beauty Evolution Bobbi Brown, head of benefit auctioneering for Christies’ Lydia Fenet, and Guinness record holder Tao Porchon Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga instructor are all speaking at the event today.

The initiative sees the collaboration of business leaders and government officials to discuss issues in areas of eco-systems, education, and policy.

It also attempts to tackle four of the UNs sustainable development goals:

  • Ensure inclusive and quality education;
  • Achieve gender equality;
  • Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all, and
  • Revitalize global partnership for sustainable development

It does this through the promotion of six so-called pillars of growth for women in business:

  • Celebrate our heroes;
  • Support leadership;
  • Empower economies;
  • Create a network;
  • Inspire leadership, and
  • Be an advocate

Diamond said:

Women worldwide have historically been underpaid, undervalued, underrepresented, underfunded – and underestimated…and still are. We need to change the status quo because lifting women creates economic opportunity and vitality locally and globally.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day claims that “an educated woman is one of the single most powerful forces for change on this planet”.

According to the group women are more likely to reinvest earnings in their families and communities and have a higher loan recovery rate than men, at 97 percent in contrast to men’s 89 percent.

The imbalance

At present, 40 percent of the world’s food supply is produced by women, and globally they take on 66 percent of work (both paid and unpaid). However, they own only one percent of the land, and earn just 10 percent of the world’s income.

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According to the Global Poverty Project, of the 1.3bn people living in poverty worldwide, 70 percent are women.

Currently, women make up less than 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs in the US though women are becoming increasingly active in local and global economies, and in the US 38 percent of new businesses are founded by women.