FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Partner Coca‑Cola Hosts Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai to Champion Gender Equity Beyond Sport and into the Workplace


SYDNEY, Australia Aug. 18, 2023 - Building on its legacy of supporting the FIFA Women’s World Cup and coinciding with the final matches, The Coca‑Cola Company is hosting a one-day diversity, equity and inclusion summit in Sydney, Australia, on Friday 18 August, featuring Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai alongside other influential business and societal changemakers.

Coca‑Cola has been a proud supporter of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ since its inception in 1991, which is now the biggest female sporting event in the world.  In the spirit of the tournament, and to drive continued conversation and progress around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Coca‑Cola is hosting the ‘Level the Playing Field’ summit featuring more than 20 local and international speakers, including:

  • Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Activist Malala Yousafzai

  • Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Manal Al Sharif

  • Australian Paralympian and former Australian of the year, Dylan Alcott AO 

  • Former Socceroo and Human Rights Activist Craig Foster AM

  • Australian Paralympian Ellie Cole OAM

  • Public speaker, Fulbright scholar and author Holly Ransom

  • Educator and indigenous campaigner Dr Lois Peeler

The president of Coca‑Cola ASEAN & South Pacific, Claudia Lorenzo, said The Coca‑Cola Company strives to be as inclusive and diverse as its millions of consumers around the world. The company is committed to fostering equal opportunity in its workforce and in the communities it serves. Mrs Lorenzo said that operating with a strong focus on DEI is not only good for society but makes Coca‑Cola and other companies stronger and better as businesses. 

“The FIFA Women's World Cup has been breaking the record books and is a significant milestone in women’s sports, embodying the belief that anything is possible,” Mrs Lorenzo said. “Our Level the Playing Field summit aims to give visibility and fuel progress for women and under-represented groups more broadly in society and workplaces. 

As part of the company’s broader push for progress for women and under-represented groups, the summit will also be a platform to announce a new, multi-year partnership between The Coca‑Cola Foundation, the global philanthropic arm of The Coca‑Cola Company, and financial access nonprofit Kiva. The Coca‑Cola Foundation will fund Change Make Her, a new five-year partnership with Kiva, aiming to support up to 45,000 under-represented entrepreneurs globally.   

The president of The Coca‑Cola Foundation, Saadia Madsbjerg, said the new partnership will be supported by a USD $1.1 million grant from The Coca‑Cola Foundation that will establish a revolving five-year loan fund to empower budding female entrepreneurs in emerging markets. 

“We recognize that one of the key barriers to equality, particularly for women, is opportunity, including access to economic resources, including credit, finance and business training,” 

 “That is why, together with global micro-loan platform Kiva, The Coca‑Cola Foundation is thrilled to announce our support to the Change Make Her program, she said. 

Over the next five years, up to 45,000 borrowers across Southeast Asia, South Pacific, Latin America and Africa can access funds via a revolving loan fund, opening doors for those who struggle to qualify for commercial banking services and helping empower future female entrepreneurs.”

Coca‑Cola’s Level the Playing Field summit has been created with the support of DEI consultancy The Dream Collective Global. 

“Coca‑Cola’s Level the Playing Field DEI Summit is going to be a landmark event in recognising the progress already made in promoting equity and inclusion in business but also highlight the changes we need to continue to build,” said Sarah Liu, Founder and Managing Director, TDC Global. “At the heart of this is the need to rewrite the narrative around women in leadership - not by altering women to fit into the mould but by reshaping the mould itself.”