Sponsored by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe and the Département of Bas-Rhin

20 November 2018 - 9.30-11.30 - room 11 - Interpretation: FR/EN

There is strong evidence that incentives for women’s economic empowerment stimulate the economy as a whole. Less understood are the effects of women progressively taking up leadership roles and/or becoming entrepreneurs, and of equal working conditions being established for men and women, on general democratic practice. The lab will identify the conditions for a strong ecosystem for female employees to thrive, and will analyse the linkages between economic and political power, as well as its prospects to promote active citizenship.

initiative 1

Talent naar de top, Talent to the Top foundation, Netherlands

The “Talent naar de top” (TndT) is a foundation with a social mission, namely, to achieve greater talent and diversity in the boardroom and senior management. It was established in 2008 by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, civil society, VNO-NCW and the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands. Its goal is to increase the percentage of women in top positions in Dutch organisations. TndT developed the Talent to the Top Charter: an employers’ code to make a voluntary commitment for an effective and sustainable gender diversity policy. This approach is based on the belief that change must come from within. Employers must recognise the need for more women at the top and transform this view into policy that works for their organisation. Commitment, target setting and annual monitoring are at the core of the initiative. Since 2008, over 260 organisations and companies have signed the TndT employer’s code.




Advisor at TNdT Foundation


Dirk Hamaker studied political science at Leiden University. He has more than 15 years of experience in the field of gender diversity and has been an advisor at the Talent naar de Top Foundation since 2011. He has extensive experience with training, presenting keynotes, holding workshops and conducting cultural studies within companies. Dirk advises the network of Talent to the Top (more than 250 companies) in developing and implementing their diversity policy in order to realize a better gender balance at the top.



Managing Director of ‘Talent naar de Top’


Yelly Weidenaar is Managing Director of ‘Talent naar de Top’ since April 2017. The goal of this foundation is to increase the percentage of women in top positions in Dutch organizations. It is the only initiative in the Netherlands in the field of gender diversity combining a charter with longitudinal monitoring and implementation of effective measures and instruments within organizations. Prior to this Yelly worked as auditor for PWC and spent over 20 years in the financial sector (ABN AMRO) in various global/international roles and management responsibilities in the area of finance, business development, sales, HR and strategy. The last 8 years she spent working as (global) Head of Sustainability and Diversity & Inclusion within ABN AMRO before switching to Talent naar de Top. Yelly is a member of the advisory board of the yearly ‘Top woman of the Year’ election in the Netherlands. She holds a Master’s degree in financial & business administration from the University of Groningen.

initiative 2

Fearless Futures, United Kingdom

“Fearless Futures” is an educational not-for-profit organisation. Their “Design for Inclusion”-programme provides participants with a powerful learning opportunity that:

  • Facilitates participants’ critical thinking & learning;
  • Builds a community that is deeply cognisant of inequalities and commonalities among their lived experiences; and
  • Develops the tools to re-imagine power relations, build up collective power and grow leadership for transformation.

To date the “Design for Inclusion”- initiative has delivered a 3.5 day programme to senior professionals at Facebook, Hyperisland, Comuzi, M&S, Goldman Sachs, Global Witness, Accenture and many more.




Director of Programmes, Fearless Futures

United Kingdom

Sara Shahvisi, is of Kurdish-British heritage and is the Director of Programmes at Fearless Futures. She is a former teacher in inner-city state schools and her expertise lies in pedagogy, research, social policy and facilitation. Alongside programme leadership, she is responsible for ensuring high quality delivery from our facilitators. She is brilliant at facilitating complex concepts for groups of young people and adults alike and creating transformational learning experiences. Alongside her BA in Politics, Psychology and Sociology from the University of Cambridge, she has an MSc in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.

initiative 3

Cercle InterElles

The initiative is a “network of networks” that aims to foster professional equality, gender-balanced conditions and performances in technological and scientific companies. They draw their experiences from activities in companies such as Air Liquide, Canon, Engie or IBM. Network members share common objectives such as to promote women's access to positions of responsibility, career development and a balanced professional and personal life, and to share good practices, promote bridges and exchanges with other networks and associations. The “Cercle InterElles” facilitates focused group discussions and makes use of videos and role-plays to make lived experiences more tangible for participants.


LADOUSSE Catherine

Catherine LADOUSSE

President, Cercle InterElles


Since 2005, Catherine Ladousse has led the communication of Lenovo EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), a global leader in technological innovation and the world's leading IT manufacturer, born of the acquisition by Lenovo China of IBM's microcomputer division. on the PC market, tablets, servers, smartphones and connected objects. She is in charge of institutional communication, brand and CSR and in particular programs on diversity and diversity as well as events. She is also a co-founder and member of Lenovo's internal network "WILL: Women in Lenovo Leadership". She is a member of the Executive Committee and reports to President EMEA. In 2001, she co-founded, with other women executives, the Cercle InterElles, which she chairs and which brings together the networks of women from 14 companies in the technological environment committed to gender diversity and diversity.


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.



Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank

Rosa María Sánchez-Yebra Alonso was appointed Vice-Governor for Social Development Strategy in June 2016 and began her five-year mandate on 19 December 2016. Before joining the CEB, she was Secretary General of the Treasury and Financial Policy in Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. In that capacity, she represented the Ministry in numerous European and international financial fora, such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the G-20, and served as Deputy Minister at the Eurogroup and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). She also served as Member of the Board of the Bank of Spain, Member of the Board of the Spanish Securities Supervisor (CNMV), Vice-President of the National Banking Resolution Authority (FROB), and Vice-President of the National Guarantee Deposits Scheme (FGD).



Chair of University Women in Europe and Vice President of the Council of Europe’s Conference of INGOs


Phd in law, attorney at the Bar of Versailles, she teaches at Paris 1-Pantheon-Sorbonne University. She is committed to equal rights between women and men, she has led Graduate Women International in about 70 countries, founded in 1919, accredited to UN agencies, advocating for education and women's rights. Anne Nègre chairs University Women of Europe who has applied as Gender Equality Expert of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe where she was elected in January 2015 and re-elected in January 2018 as Vice President in charge the Equality of this pillar of the Council of Europe.



Directorate of Legal Advice and Public International Law, Council of Europe

LAB 7 - Will closing the gender gap in the economy lead to greater political equality?
Palais de l'Europe - Room 11 20 November 2018 - 9.30-11.30
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