Part of the driving force of the Feminine age are organizations like Women's World Banking, who support women around the world with micro-loans and other forms of financial support and guidance. I was on a panel last night honoring the work of WWB, with Melanne Verveer, former Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues at The White House and Anne-Marie Slaughter, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton moderated by Too Big to Fail author Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times.
One of the dominant themes last night was recognition for women as a case for greater prosperity for all. Take for instance The Citifoundation’s Excellence in Leadership Award, the Microfund for Women. Their mission is to provide sustainable financial and non-financial services to entrepreneurial poor, especially women, in order to empower them socially and economically, and to help them achieve a better quality of life. In their words, “women are disproportionately impacted by poverty, yet they are more likely to think of the family needs, and reinvest their profits in improving the quality of life of their family.”
We saw the exactly same thing in our travels for The Athena Doctrine. Farouk Jiwa, founder of Honey Care Africa, told us that women make up 40% of his workforce, and he “sees the benefits accruing to their children, who now live in homes with proper roofs and attend school every day.” This sentiment is also supported in our data, which showed that women are more often long-term thinkers than are men
The type of leadership that women are able to offer is essential for our future. We witnessed it again in Medellin, where 62% of the city’s budget is una puesta- a bet- on the future, money that the government is spending on schools and other programs for children. The idea is to change the culture of violence, money, and drugs and construct a generation of educated and involved citizens.
Melanne Verveer said most notably, “We must not only lean in, but also lean on.” The narrative of supporting women as 'handouts' is remarkably shortsighted. Our investment in their advancement serves our our collective betterment. If you'd like to support Women's World Banking, please see their website.