A friend passed this article on to me a few weeks ago, and I thought it was worth sharing: Meet the League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who are Changing the World. Some people on the list are “big names” such as the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer. Both of these women are behind big conferences that are both promoted by and influential with the UN Headquarters, as well as in smaller conferences with NGOs and non-profit organizations.
Other women included in the list are those in high level corporate positions, such as Maria Eitel, who is CEO of the Nike Foundation, and Charlotte Oades, who is the global director of Coca Cola’s 5 by 20 project. These women do not just inspire other women through leading by example, but they have raised awareness of girl and women issues, and gotten their corporations backing to make this the focus of their efforts.
Many other women cited in this list that are part of the “league” go to developing countries and do extensive research as to what they can do to help other women get jobs or open their own businesses. Their projects have tremendous success because they go hand in hand with empowering the women that they are helping to then further help themselves. Several of these leaders cited success coming from their having one on one talks with them and really find out what they want, what they need, and then how to fulfill those wants and needs.
And certainly, beyond the more high profile efforts that are cited in this list, there are many organizations where women are providing a helping hand to one another. Women Helping Other Women, Inc. is a good example of this. Their work is simple – they have a place where other women can find work baking a variety of gourmet holiday cakes. While this is a relatively simple business model, I’m sure it makes a huge difference in empowering and providing a step in the right direction for those that it employs. Another non-profit organization is the WHO Foundation which stands for Women Helping Others. This foundation reaches out to other women who would like to volunteer their services of expertise to other women, children and families in need.
What I think is pretty awesome in all of these initiatives is that they are set up to not just make an immediate difference, but to make a real change that has a long term impact. And on top of that, as Oades of Coca Cola said, “Whatever income they (women) earn, they disproportionately reinvest in the education and health of their children.”
Women helping women also reminded me of a saying I had heard, that is cited by Christine Bork shared in this article. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that “There’s a special place in hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.” While we aren’t all going to start new organizations or lead major initiatives, I think we can all keep that reminder in the back of our mind to lend a helping hand to one another in simple ways.