The tragedy of 276 girls being abducted from a boarding school in Nigeria has highlighted how some emerging markets still lag behind its western counterparts in terms of the opportunities and safety women face in obtaining an education.
Speaking to IBTimes TV, one of finance's most inspirational senior women in finance, Mastercard's President of International Markets revealed how companies can actually do a lot more to help raise awareness and provide the resources in getting more women into education abroad.
"I think education for women is vitally important [in order to get them into the workplace and senior positions]," said Ann Cairns.
"We've got that situation happening in Nigeria right now and at the crux of that is the idea that women should not be educated and it's not just Nigeria, it extends to other parts of the world.
"I'm really proud that at Mastercard we have a foundation that we put 10% of our stock in educating women, school level and scholarships of women around the world. It's madness in some countries that women shouldn't have women in the workplace.
"A lot more companies are now becoming socially aware and are putting money towards the same funds which will help change these situations across the globe."
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $6bn in assets. It collaborates with other organisations across 49 countries, mostly Africa, in creating "opportunities for all people to learn and prosper," and has a heavy presence in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Cairns spoke to IBTimes TV about women trying to break through the glass ceiling in the Western world and how more needs to be done to get women "not just at the top, but on more equal footing across companies."
Before Mastercard, Cairns started off as an award-winning research engineer until the head of Offshore Engineer-Planning for British Gas, managing a team of 50 plus engineers. She was also the first woman qualified to go offshore in Britain.
After that, she was a managing director and head of the Financial Industry Services group for Europe with Alvarez & Marsal in London.
From 2008 to 2011, Cairns led the European team managing the estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings International through the Chapter 11 process.