As businesses and political leaders struggle to fix the global economic machinery, like invisible fairy dust, feminine energies create new approaches.
Four social entrepreneurs, Sruthi Narasimha, Shiza Shadid, Janet Salazar and CJ Peak, have a passion to facilitate a vibrant, diverse and harmonious world. These women have an inclusive approach to empowerment.
In India, a young adult offers her education and training to service the world. With a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and experience in industry and marketing, Sruthi Narasimba developed a luxury fashion line with social cause. “I believe the greatest impact can be made by developing a business model which is profit-based, environment-friendly and socially conscious,” Narasimba explains. This young designer uses agricultural waste to create luxury fabrics while employing local weavers and artisans. Her new-world vision for business includes care for the environment, strides to eliminate poverty and raising the standard of luxury.
Next door to India in the historically political rival nation of Pakistan collaborative sisters-at-heart extend their energies to join the new world vision. Hearing the cry of millions of women in her heart, social entrepreneur, Shiza Shadid joined the fight of an 11-year-old Malala Yousafzai aiming the spotlight on the issue of girls’ education for the world to take notice.
Allowing girls to grow into their potential as women is the first step to get the vehicle of humanity fully functioning. Over 100 million of the world’s children do not get a basic education – most are females. Many young girls are married to older men before reaching puberty. “So from a young age, I knew that education was my only way out of a life that the vast majority of women in my village had known for generations,” writes Susan, a young girl in Kenya. “Investing in women proves to be the most effective means to bring a society out of poverty,” attests Martha Adams, director and Chief Creative Officer of Girl Rising.
With a degree from Stanford University and experience in a top global management firm, Shadid initiated the Malala fund to advocate for education rights. The Malala Fund is a collaborative organization partnering with local officials and other charities. “We started the non profit organization so that we could advocate for education solutions,” Shadid clarifies.
In October 2014, Yousafzai was honored with the Nobel Peace prize and she is known to the word as Malala, the girl from Pakistan who fights for all girls to be allowed to go to school.
Across the ocean in the place that could easily be called the center of the developed world, New York City, Janet Salazar and CJ Peak aim to get humankind to peak performance through “Conversations with Men,” a discussion series for gender balance in leadership roles. “For the most part suppressing women is miss education – not being aware of what the other gender has to offer. ” says Salazar, explaining that the ignorance goes both ways impeding optimal leadership with both masculine and feminine input to problem solve.
“Conversations with Men” is a project of IMPACT Leadership 21, which works in collaboration with organizations such as Columbia University School of International Public Affairs to transform leadership frameworks. Co-Founders Salazar and Peak use their experience in consulting business relationships and cross-cultural, strategic alliances to host these interfaces above the glass ceiling. IMPACT stipulates, “It’s not that women or men are “better” but that diverse groups – where both men and women are at the table – make better decisions than non-diverse groups.”
Not that women are better than men, counting women as part of the body from top to bottom enhances society. “Women are creating, designing and manufacturing things that are saving lives. It’s time that we talk about it!” exclaims Michelle Patterson, President of the California Women’s Conference and Global Women Foundation. From selling luxury products made from agricultural waste that leads a community out of poverty to facilitating international conferences that expedite effective problem solving, women are making changes with a collaborative consciousness.
When the world seems like a wreck, a forgotten half is coming forth with new hope in women such as Sruthi Narasimha, Shiza Shadid, Janet Salazar and CJ Peak with their creativity, voice and collaboration.