March 07, 2012 08:30 ET

Kiva and Dermalogica's joinFITE Program Crowdfund Women's Economic Empowerment With a $100,000 Free Trial Program

International Women's Day in the Participation Age

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Mar 7, 2012) - On March 8, millions of people worldwide will celebrate the 101st International Women's Day, marking the second century of such celebrations. While many gains have been made, many challenges remain. Almost three billion adults worldwide are unbanked or under-banked -- and most are women. Without access to resources to attend school or grow a business, their potential and dreams are far too often wasted. This affects us all.

As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said just a few months ago, "A rising tide of women in an economy raises the fortunes of all families and all nations... we don't have a person to waste and we certainly don't have a gender to waste."

As we embark on this second century of International Women's Day, new technologies are helping to usher in a "Participation Age," in which every individual, regardless of gender or location, is poised to become a contributing and valued member of their economy. Rapid expansion of Internet access and the growth of mobile banking are empowering more women entrepreneurs, even in the world's most remote villages, to connect with a global network of lenders. Imagine a day when no woman is too remote to tell her story to an online global community of people who want to participate in her success as she lifts her family, her community and her nation out of poverty. That day is within reach.

"The promise of women's financial freedom to transform lives and economies is not just in the hands of governments and humanitarian organizations. It is also in the hands of everyday people like you and me, who for as little as $25 can help crowdfund loans for specific women to jumpstart their small business or begin their education," said Premal Shah, president of Kiva. "Through our collective actions, we can change the lives of millions of women and ensure that the Participation Age truly shines in every corner of the globe."

In honor of International Women's Day, Kiva will launch on March 7 to spotlight the power of women to create sustainable change when everyday people lend their support. In partnership with Kiva, Dermalogica's joinFITE program is funding a $100,000 Kiva Women free trial program. Free trials enable new users of to direct a $25 loan to the woman borrower of their choice. The ripple effect of change begins with that loan to a woman who is creating financial independence through entrepreneurship.

"By contributing to the success of an entrepreneurial woman who has overcome obstacles most of us cannot even truly imagine, we discover so much more about our own resiliency, possibility, and potential," said Jane Wurwand, founder of Dermalogica and the inspiring force behind the company's joinFITE program. "Each of us has a part to play and together we can have a personal impact on thousands of women's lives this International Women's Day, and every day."

About Kiva and Women

Kiva is the world's first and largest microlending website where anyone, anywhere can help alleviate global poverty and empower women through loans as small as $25. Since Kiva's launch in 2005, more than 80% of the loans funded through Kiva have been to women borrowers in 60 countries including the United States. Kiva has connected more than 600,000 women borrowers to nearly 650,000 lenders, crowdfunding more than $200 million in loans to women. Loans through Kiva have a 98.9% payback rate and have proven to be a significant resource for women worldwide.

About Dermalogica and the joinFITE Program

For over 25 years, Dermalogica has been helping women achieve greater financial independence by championing the professional skincare industry. In this time, Dermalogica has trained more than 100,000 women to become professional skin therapists, and is now championing joinFITE to help women in any industry find economic empowerment. Since January 2011, Kiva and Dermalogica, through their joinFITE program, have partnered to advance women's financial independence through entrepreneurship and have already helped 10,000 women around the world to start or grow a business. Adding to their initial investment of $500,000, Dermalogica's $100,000 support fuels the Free Trial program.

More data can be found at:

A woman entrepreneur's story can be found at:

Note to Editors: Kiva lenders in your area may be available for interviews. Data, borrower stories and photos available on request.

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