The power of partnerships for early childhood education

A decade of social impact towards financial inclusion with the Roger Federer Foundation

For the past ten years, Credit Suisse has partnered with the Roger Federer Foundation as part of our commitment to building trust and deep relationships for social impact. Based on the belief that education is a great equalizer and a powerful force for social and economic change, and in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, Credit Suisse supports the provision of education and pathways to financial inclusion. In 2010, the Roger Federer Foundation identified rural communities most in need in Malawi. Together, we committed to a long-term partnership for change. From a starting point of a shared purpose, the comprehensive and systemic Early Childhood Development Initiative was designed to support local innovation of sustainable solutions, trust and relationships to offer quality early childhood development and nutrition to children aged 3 to 6 years.


Partnerships with shared goals make carefully considered contributions for enduring societal impact. Working together over a sustained period has meant that young children are being offered a better start on their journey to being included as the future custodians of our planet.

Empowering girls to achieve gender equality: Girls Take Over campaign

We help girls and young women unleash their potential through a variety of projects in collaboration with Plan International


Credit Suisse is committed to gender equality and the education required to break down barriers of discrimination and prejudices. We have been a partner to Plan International, an independent and humanitarian organization that works to advance children's rights and equality for girls, since 2008. In 2014, when we launched the Financial Education for Girls program, we continued our collaboration with Plan International to deliver financial education to girls. This program aims to increase awareness of girls' social and economic rights and help them build financial capabilities for a better future. 

The Financial Education for Girls program is implemented by Plan International in Brazil, China, India, Rwanda and by Room to Read in Sri Lanka and Tanzania

This year, to further demonstrate our commitment to inclusion and mark the International Day of the Girl, Credit Suisse organized a "Girls Take Over" campaign with Plan International. We gave four young women the opportunity to step into the shoes of a senior executive and show the endless potential of girls.

The Problem

Gender inequality in management roles 


More than 130 million girls are currently deprived of their right to an education and therefore prevented from gaining the necessary skills to be independent and successful in life. As a result of this and other barriers, such as social norms, gender roles, and stereotypes, women are less likely to be active in the business world on a par with men. Although corporate organizations are striving to increase the number of women employees, the barriers and glass ceilings still exist in management roles. Our research shows that, between 2015 and 2021, the percentage of women in the boardroom increased by 8.9%. However, women are still underrepresented in managerial positions. Leadership roles continue to be male dominated, and this stands in the way of inclusion and equality. 

The Solution

Empowering girls starts at an early age 


The empowerment process to increase the number of female senior managers and executives starts with education. In an inclusive and equal society, educated women:

  • Feel confident to make their own personal and professional decisions.
  • Tend to marry later and are less likely to become teenage mothers.
  • Prioritize health and education while raising their children; this breaks the cycle of poverty.
  • Participate in the labor market.
  • Can progress in their careers and step into decision-making roles.

In this regard, global organizations have the power to drive broad-based change and offer women an upward career trajectory. We need to acknowledge that our systems and policies should be more inclusive. By embracing the Girls Take Over campaign, we aim to amplify girls' voices, as well as elevate their position in society by inspiring and empowering them to aim high.

How it works

Stepping into the shoes of executives


Four young women stepped into management roles:

  • In New York, Ava worked with Lydie Hudson, CEO of Sustainability, Research & Investment Solutions. They prepared interview questions for Malala Yousafzai.
  • In Zurich, André Helfenstein, CEO Swiss Universal Bank, welcomed Susanna, who joined two different meetings and moderated a group discussion.
  • Poppy replaced David Mathers, Chief Financial Officer and CEO of CSI/CSSEL, in London. At the UK board meeting, she made remarks on young people's working preferences and how to deal with "peak days" in the office.
  • Cassy took over the role of Carsten Stoehr, the Greater China CEO and Chair of the Board of the APAC Foundation in Hong Kong. She shared her insights on the potential hardships that finance students face and how companies can use digital platforms to support young learners.

"Meeting Ava was a moment to reflect on the impact we can all have on young women's lives and see first-hand the pipeline of talented women we have the opportunity to engage, mentor, and promote." 

said Lydie Hudson

The Impact

An equal and inclusive future is possible


The Girls Take Over campaign showed our support and encouragement for young women to flourish. Given the opportunity, they were able to be influential in high-level conversations. The stimulating experience revealed that the powerholders in global companies like Credit Suisse do not always need to be male. The young women perceived that an equal and inclusive environment is possible; thus, they felt motivated to follow their dreams and overcome hurdles they might face on the way.

"While participating in the Girls Take Over day, I realized how important it was to speak up about the issues concerning diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Even though we have come a long way, there is still a lot of work ahead of us. It felt very empowering to take part in these conversations with top management. It has inspired me to work harder so that more women will be represented in these positions and a GTO day won't be necessary in the future." 

concluded Susanna, who took over Zurich


GENDER 3000 report