Philanthropy

Women Connect4Good Working For Parity

On December 20, 262 women (and men) came together to effectively change the world. That was the day that Women Connect4Good Inc. partnered with Take The Lead Women in an exciting and monumental 24-hour crowdfunding campaign to support them in their effort to propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. As a part of the effort, we had 24 hours to raise $300,000. Women Connect4Good Foundation pledged to match every dollar up to $300.000. Other sponsors also pledged to match additional funds to achieve $600,000 in 24 hours.
We not only met that goal, we surpassed it. Through crowdsourcing we were able to raise $312,160!!! Take The Lead will use these funds as well as the Women Connect4Good match to support program growth, provide more free community resources, and give more women the training, mentorship and coaching they need to take the lead in their own lives and careers.
Take the Lead founder and Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt was thrilled with the response, and touched by the Women Connect4Good contribution. “I don’t think I personally can ever honor and thank her (Dr. Nancy) enough. The money is great and essential, but it’s what the money MEANS for the future of this leadership parity movement that is most significant.”
“We were just at the place where we couldn’t possibly deliver on our mission in a truly significant way without building an infrastructure to support it. I was trying to do everything and that was just not sustainable,” Gloria added.  “This campaign, which could only have happened because of Nancy’s vision and collaborative spirit, is enabling Take The Lead to kick start the future. People love matching gifts because they know their own contributions will be doubled in value, and in this case, they were quadrupled in value, then Nancy matched them all!!”
The parallel missions of Women Connect4 Good and Take The Lead intersect with women’s empowerment, gender parity by 2025 and the support of women to work together to create a better world. It has always been Women Connect4 Good’s mission to educate people to develop women-helping-women networks to raise the status of women and change the world. And that runs perfectly with Take The Lead’s work.
Gloria, and Take The Lead’s co-founder Amy Litzenberger, a former investment banker with extensive experience in strategic planning and funding of start-up and emerging growth companies, came together in 2013 to form the organization. Amy was questioning why women had stalled at 18-20% across all sectors. Gloria, who had spent over 30 years advancing women, including having served as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, had been so obsessed with the very question Amy asked that she had literally written the book on it, No Excuses, 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power.
We both wanted to build a better world for the women we loved and respected,” Gloria said. “We did it for our friends and colleagues, women we watched hit the glass ceiling again and again. We did it for our daughters, hopeful we could create the right tools to help them embrace their power and live their lives without limits. We did it because we wanted to see women reach leadership equality and pay equity in our lifetime.
As Gloria says, as a community, we are united by our shared commitment and vision for equality. And as individuals, we must each do our part to support this movement and to build a better world. At Women Connect4Good, we can think of no better way to start a new year than to join hands with other women and together, change the world.
Donations to Women Connect4Good and Take The Lead Women are both tax deductible if you want to join us and help push these issues forward.

Five Ways to Make 2017 A Year for Women!

It doesn’t matter how you ended 2016, I think we can all agree that it was a rough year. At the end of a particularly brutal – and for some heartbreaking – political cycle, many women felt a range of emotions from fear to desperation and hopelessness. As a result, the prospect of a new year didn’t feel promising, to say the least.
But others have rolled up their sleeves and dug in to re-energize their efforts to help empower other women. Our WomenConnect4Good team is ready to put our time and talent to work and make this the year for women.
The dynamics that come into play when women come together is profound. Doubt it? Look what a very committed group of women were able to accomplish in just 24 hours for Take the Lead Women! December 20-21, 2016, men and women joined in a Charidy.com crowdfunding event to help Take the Lead in their mission to propel women to parity in all sectors by 2025. They didn’t just meet the goal they beat the goal and raised $312,160. Helping other women along, and strengthening the communities we live in drives all women. It’s our nature to want to help others and doing so fulfills our sense of purpose in a real and authentic way.
Here are five great ways we can come together and change the status quo this year.
Volunteer with an organization that helps women. There is no shortage of organizations and causes that need our time, talent, or treasure. In fact, there are many, many organizations who could use your help today. From the work we do with Women Connect4Good, to Take the Lead Women, to Convoy of Hope, find and plug into an organization that fights to protect and advance women’s rights or ensure women are able to get the help and support they deserve.
Be a mentor. Mentors matter, and many women can attribute part of their success to lessons learned through a mentoring relationship. On one level, a mentor helps women become empowered, with more self-confidence and resolve. On another, mentors serve as a guide, role model and advisor. The benefits of mentoring go both ways. Both the mentor and the woman being mentored learn from each other during the mentoring process. Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and helping them with their own experience, and through mentoring relationships, we can help women to top management and beyond.
Support female politicians or run for office yourself. I recently read at Care2 Causes that one important way to make sure women’s rights are protected is by making sure women are equally represented in government, which currently, they’re not. As Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider recently told me, having only 19% women in the US Congress creates lopsidedness in legislation and a lack of diversity that hinders good governing. No one is leader by herself. Elected officials need a group and coalition to lead. It’s a two-way process of leadership and support with everyone working for the greater good.
Look at the global picture. Yes. Things are a mess at home, and your community and your country need your help, but things are also pretty scary for women and girls all over the world. There are so many worthy programs that can make a difference. For example, my Leading Women co-author, Rebecca Tinsley’s Network for Africa is doing amazing work. Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Program is also having an impact through micro-loans, job training, and education – helping women and girls gain self-esteem and build self-confidence. In Ethiopia 1,000 women have attended the program since 2010. As a result, these women have experienced a 240% increase in income since joining the program. The Women’s Empowerment Program is proof that when women are given the opportunity to generate income, it not only impacts their families, it impacts their country’s economic standing.
Support other women. Find out what the women in your life need, and look for ways to help them. My Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt works to inspire and propel women to reach parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025. Gloria has always supported other women, starting with providing birth control for teenage girls in a west Texas Planned Parenthood and rising to become President and CEO of Planned Parenthood’s national organization.  Gloria debunks the idea of a finite “you-win-I-lose” pie. The pie is actually infinite, she says.  “The more there is the more there is.” Her approach can be duplicated. We can reach out to women in the workplace and in the community to give them the tools they need to advance. That’s what the women-helping-women movement is all about, and when one woman wins, we all win.
Keep in mind as we go into the new year that mentoring, advocating, and volunteering provides you with opportunities to stretch yourself and step outside of your routine. It provides the opportunity to make a positive impact on the greater community.
Is there an organization in your community that resonates with you? A place where you can donate your time, treasure, or talent? You don’t have to donate a million dollars to make a difference. Instead, focus on what you can to do to improve the status of women and girls in today’s society. We are all sisters, and women need help all over the world. It’s our job to help them. When we do, we have an impact, not only on their lives, but on the lives of their children and future generations, entire countries, and indeed the world.
 
 

This Season is the Perfect Time to Invest in Women

10498411_621812561264504_955884005606031384_oAt the recent Fortune-TIME Global Forum in Rome, Cherie Blair and Bineta Diop joined New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to discuss the ways that the private sector has both a moral and commercial interest in harnessing the power of women and girls to grow their business. All three speakers agreed that focusing on girls’ education and female economic empowerment is not just a matter of social responsibility but is instrumental in driving growth.
“It’s not just about doing good,” said Diop, Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security for the African Union. “It’s also doing the smart things because women have the capacity and knowledge and competence to bring another dimension into the workplace.”
There has been extensive research suggesting that investing money in women, whether in education or supporting women as entrepreneurs, is highly cost effective. USAid, a U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty, reports that aid programs that provide women opportunities to better their health, education, and well-being have effects far beyond a single individual. In fact, a woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community.
Melinda Gates has found that helping women and girls is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to global development. She recently was quoted in Fortune Magazine as saying, “If you want to make life better for a community, you should start by investing in its women and girls.”
“When I talk to women, a universal desire is to bring every good thing to our kids. Women tend to spend their resources on their families—prioritizing things like healthcare, nutritious food, education, and all the building blocks of a thriving society,” Gates said. “The way I think about it is that when we invest in women, we invest in the people who invest in everyone else. So, when we match their commitment with our own, great things are possible.”
On the global front, Convoy of Hope and their Women’s Empowerment program has a tremendous impact helping women around the world to realize their value and reach their potential through job training and education. As a result of the program – which features a Women’s Micro-Enterprise Program, Mother’s Club, and Empowered Girls components – many women throughout El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Tanzania now own businesses that enable them to feed and care for their own children. This matters because of the 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty, 70 percent are women. As Kara Edson, director of the program says, “That’s unacceptable. We’re helping women break the cycle of poverty.”
On a business front, it boils down to encouraging female participation in the workforce and clearing the way for women to reach leadership positions. Morgan Stanley research teams recently reported that calls for more female participation in the economy have grown louder, often based on political or cultural arguments founded on fairness. Yet, a persuasive argument for diversity and equality is also anchored to the bottom line. Quantitative analysis showed that ensuring that more women are working and leading in the workplace is simply good business, especially for investors who not only care about the ethics, but also want returns.
One way you can invest in women is by advocating for women in the workplace and by being a mentor. Mentors matter, and many women in business today attribute part of their success to lessons learned through a mentoring relationship. On one level, a mentor helps women become empowered, with more self-confidence and resolve. On another, mentors serve as a guide, role model and advisor.
When women win, we all win, which is why now is the perfect time to reach out and look for ways to help. It is up to all of us to build strong support systems, and help one another while connecting in the workplace, the community, and the world at large. And bottom line, the best investment you can make is a personal commitment to help a woman step into her own power and create the life she deserves!
 

Shelter and Support for Expectant Mothers

pexels-photo-54289-largeFor most expectant mothers, pregnancy can be a source of great joy as well as a cause for physical and emotional challenges. Those challenges multiply exponentially for the women who are both pregnant and experiencing the hardship of homelessness. There are approximately 8,000 pregnant women in Los Angeles County seeking shelter and support on any given night, yet there are only 69 beds available for them. Located in Santa Monica, Harvest Home provides eight of those beds as a part of their residential program for women and their babies. For over three decades, the organization has been providing care and resources needed, not only for healthy and successful pregnancies, but also to help these women become wonderful mothers for their children long term.
Leigh Flisher currently serves as a member of Harvest Home’s board of directors but started volunteering with the organization as a part of a community service project through her daughter’s school. As a mother herself, Leigh observed firsthand the impact of the work Harvest Home was doing with these women and children and was compelled to invest more of her time and energy in that work. She transitioned from volunteer to mentor, which allowed her to provide counsel and encouragement through personal relationships with the mothers involved in the program. As a board member, she now spends her time advocating the work of Harvest Home in the community and fostering supportive relationships with local businesses. Leigh even returned to school to earn a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in order to expand her ability to help those in need.
Passionate about helping the mothers at Harvest Home, Leigh helps them become the best mothers they can be, achieving success in their lives. She also recognizes the lasting influence the program is having on mothers. Harvest Home has developed an alumni program to give those who have successfully completed the program the opportunity to pay it forward. In fact, Leigh notes that roughly 90% of alumni stay involved in the alumni program. This not only speaks to the effectiveness of the program, but it’s also another shining example of women helping women. When we are able to grow through the difficult lessons life teaches us and pour our care and wisdom back into others, we all reap the benefits of the sisterhood of success.
Women Connect4Good is honored to support Harvest Home with a donation of $20,000. When asked what this donation might to do to support the organization, Leigh said that it will allow them to move their offices off-site creating space for more open beds. She also noted that the organization is hoping to open another location in the near future to be able to meet the needs of more women and children in the area.
To learn more about the work of Harvest Home and help us support them with you’re your own personal contribution to their work, visit their website at theharvesthome.net.

Adolescent Girls Hold Power To Create Global Change

Cheryl because I am a girlBy Cheryl Benton, “Because I am a Girl” Private Sector Development Committee
Here are some sobering facts about girls in the developing world:

  • 65 million girls are NOT in school
  • 41,000 girls are forced into early marriages EVERY DAY
  • Childbirth is the leading cause of deaths for girls between 15-19
  • Being young and female in many areas of the world means you are denied the most basic human rights and your very life can be in peril.

Research findings from Plan International reveal that violence against girls is frighteningly pervasive – girls expect to be victims of violence, and the levels of violence that they experience are seen as ‘normal.’ They seldom feel free from violence at home, in their communities, or at school. For example, 80 per cent of girls in one area of Ecuador, and 77 per cent of girls in an area of Bangladesh, said that they ‘never’ or ‘seldom’ feel safe in their community. In West Africa, 30 per cent of girls said that they never or seldom feel as safe as boys on their way to school.
We must change this, because we know that:

  • For every 10 percent increase in female literacy, the economy can grow by 0.3 percent.
  • For every additional year of education that a young woman has, child mortality decreases by 9.5 percent.
  • And we know that when we support girls to be strong, these soon-to-be women will be able to uplift their entire families and communities.

“Because I am a Girl” Gives Girls a Brighter Future
Earlier this year, I, along with four colleagues who have worked together in a voluntary role with global organizations that are helping women and girls, was introduced to Plan International USA and a program they launched four years ago, called “Because I am a Girl.”  We were so impressed we asked how we could get more involved and help support the program. The result: we are now Plan USA’s first ever-Private Sector Development Committee. Our (voluntary) role is to build awareness of Because I am a Girl and raise funds for their programs. Let me tell you why we got so excited about their work. We hope you will get excited too and will join us by becoming a “Champion of Change.”
Because I am a Girl is changing the future of some of most marginalized and at-risk girls in the world. The programs are helping girls to “Learn, Lead, Decide and Thrive.”  It’s one of the few programs that focuses on adolescent girls with programs that enable them to realize their own power as they transition into adulthood. It also has created gender awareness programs for boys, which is also critically important. Women cannot eliminate these inequities alone. The results are life-changing, not only for these girls but for their families and communities.
Here are highlights of a few of the programs:
Ethiopia: Girls’ Empowerment Through Education – Improving access to and the quality of education for 5,000 schoolgirls outside of Addis Ababa.
Egypt: Safer Cities for Girls – Educating and empowering girls through savings and loan groups, mentoring programs and leadership training.
Sierra Leone: Girl Power – Promoting Equal Rights and Opportunities for Girls – Protecting girls and young women from gender-based violence.
Nepal: Fighting Against Child Trafficking – Preventing the practice of child trafficking through educational programming and the creation of rehabilitation centers for trafficking survivors.
El Salvador: Girls Promoting Gender Violence Reduction – Prepared 1,800 girls and 180 boys to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in their communities.
The Impact of “Because I am a Girl”
Since the program was launched in 2012, it has changed the lives of 4 million girls directly through “Because I am a Girl Programs,” 40 million boys and girls through gender awareness programs, and 400 million girls through policy changes.
Become a Champion of Change
We invite you to join us. We are building a community of women who want to support this global movement for the rights of adolescent girls. I truly believe we have a moral imperative to help these girls. If not us, who?
With your support of “Because I am a Girl”, we can change their future.  For example, a gift of $1,000 can keep 5 girls in school, and education is key to lifting girls out of poverty. Please contact me if you would like to learn more. cbenton@thethreetomatoes.com
About Plan International
Plan International is a non-profit global development organization that has been lifting children out of poverty since 1937. Today it is a billion dollar organization, working in 50 countries, with top ratings from Charity Navigator. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 development groups in the world. Plan USA is one of 21 fundraising offices.
 
 

Women Helping Women Through Philanthropy

city-people-woman-streetWomen philanthropists are driving the ever-growing number of advocacy and charitable organizations seeking to advance the well-being of women and girls. The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at Indiana University-Purdue University has found consistently that women and men give differently. In almost every income bracket, women give more than men: baby-boomer and older women gave 89% more to charity than men their age, and women in the top 25% of permanent income gave 156% more than men in that same category.
In trying to explain the gender giving differences, WIP has found that women tend to be more altruistic and empathetic than men, partly because of the way men and women are socialized regarding caring, self-sacrifice and the well-being of others. Men tend to give when an appeal frames the donation as being in the man’s self interest or as a way of maintaining the status quo, while women tend to give to promote social change or help those less fortunate, research suggests.
Women often focus on helping other women. For example, the Maverick Collective, founded by Kate Roberts and Melinda Gates, recruits high-net-worth female philanthropists to invest more than just their money to support women and girls around the globe. In addition to cash donations (starting at $1 million), the participating women also share their bright ideas and remain heavily involved as key leaders over time, even traveling to help evaluate the progress of a project.

Women Have a Long History of Helping

Women helping women and men is nothing new. In fact, women in America have always been agents of change – even when they had few officially recognized rights. In Colonial times, women tackled issues like moral reform, care of widows, children and the mentally ill, conditions for women prisoners, aid for soldiers, temperance, abolition of slavery, suffrage, libraries, the environment, culture, health issues, and more.
Women’s sense of their “place” changed dramatically in the 1800s, and they started to transition to a group of skilled fundraisers, passionate advocates, powerful leaders, dedicated volunteers, irresistible forces for social change, and tireless workers. Women of every ethnicity joined voluntary associations to raise money and especially to care for women and girls.
Women have done amazing things in terms of giving, and started Mount Holyoke Seminary, Smith College, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, American Red Cross, and YWCA to name a few. Women also established three-quarters of the public libraries in the United States, many before Andrew Carnegie became involved and later to raise the 10 percent match he required. Women in the Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families started the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of Art. Despite a slump in women’s philanthropic activities from the 1920s to the 1960s, women took an active role in the Civil Rights effort, feminism, and infiltration of the workforce. The 1970s saw formation of the Ms. Foundation, the first women’s fund in the United States.

Supreme Court Helps Women’s Efforts Expand

The philanthropy arena expanded for women in the 1980s when the Supreme Court ruled groups like Jaycees, Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis could no longer exclude women. It wasn’t long before women were serving as the officers running these philanthropic clubs. More recently women have organized to support equal rights for women, drunk driving laws, breast cancer research, economic development and employment opportunities for women, and many more.

Help Where You Can

Today more than 100 women’s funds around the globe belong to the Women’s Funding Network (WFN), representing a collective $465 million in working assets and invest over $60 million per year. WFN is is the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to improving the lives of women and girls. All across the US, 131 United Ways have developed women’s leadership councils. Every year, more than 56,000 women volunteers in women’s leadership councils raise more than $155 million just from other women.
Giving isn’t limited to wealthy women. Small donations can yield big results. Is there an organization in your community that resonates with you? A place where you can donate your time, treasure, or talent? You don’t have to donate a million dollars to make a difference. Instead, focus on what you can to do to improve the status of women and girls in today’s society.
Seeing women find a better way of living proves our efforts are all worthwhile. We are all sisters, and women need help all over the world. It’s our job to help them. When we do, we have an impact, not only on their lives, but on the lives of their children and future generations, entire countries, indeed the world.
I am so honored to be a part of the work done by the many organizations Women Connect4Good supports. I urge each of you to find a way to reach out and help a sister somewhere in the world today. When women help women, we all win.
 

Gift to Paris in Support of Freedom

3419504638_f51bde6682_bWhen the people of Paris were attacked on November 13, the world mourned and reached out to them. Messages poured in to support them in both their loss and their determination to maintain their free society in spite of terrorist threat.
We the people of the United States are reaching out, too. For the past few years, I have served on the board of The Responsibility Foundation, Inc (501c3). Our mission is to bring into reality the vision of Victor Frankel, a Holocaust Survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, considered to be one of history’s 10 most important books. Victor believed that liberty was only part of the freedom equation. We must also exercise personal responsibly to remain free. He envisioned a Statue of Responsibility to be installed on the Pacific Coast to bookend the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast as a symbol to complete the image of a free society.
We also want to gift the French people a Statue of Responsibility to honor their commitment to liberty, remind us all we are all connected and our hearts are with them. Their loss and pain is ours as well. Help us promote this campaign to build a Statue of Responsibility for them, a symbol of reciprocation and gratitude for their gift of The Statue of Liberty.
Gofundme has an ongoing campaign to build the statue and gift it to France. This is an amazing thing we can do. Go to this link to find out more and share it with your friends. We can do extraordinary things for one another when we work together.
To find out more about the inspiring artist commissioned to create the statue and the larger plan for the Statue of Responsibility, go to The Statue of Responsibility website. It is more than a monument; it is a movement for the future of liberty in our time.

Donation To Provide Take The Lead Training for Experienced Presenters

ttl-logo-websiteI don’t know about you, but I’m tired of waiting for women to step into their fair and equal share of power. It’s taking far too long for women to rise. Even though we’re more than half the population, we’re still stuck at around 18% of top leadership positions in business and politics. That’s not nearly enough. Think of all the talented amazing women who are left out of the leadership of the world. It’s time to give them the opportunities they deserve to make a difference.
That’s why I recently donated $50,000 to Take The Lead Women, whose mission is to prepare, develop, inspire, and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership across all sectors by 2025. I’m sponsoring a Train the Trainer workshop in Santa Barbara in January 2016 for my co-authors of Leading Women and other successful, experienced leader-trainers. Workshop graduates will become certified to teach Gloria Feldt’s core “9 Leadership Power Tools” curriculum in addition to their own material.GloriaFeldt.jpeg
Women Ready to Change Relationship with Power
When women truly understand and embrace Gloria’s Power Tools, they change their relationship with power. They lose their fear of claiming and using their power to make positive change in the world. That’s what I want for all women everywhere. As more professional trainers become certified to teach these transformative principles, the movement will expand to include exponentially greater numbers of women and men. That’s 70 years earlier than the World Economic Forum predicts! Please join me in the women’s movement for today to make this happen!
We announced my gift at a Take The Lead Presents event in New York City in July. Actress Kathleen Turner (now THERE’S an empowered woman!) spoke on “The Power of a Woman’s Voice” and I was delighted to be in the presence of so many smart amazing women. Together, we can quickly bring women to parity.
11230112_720710524708040_8831881620541749267_n
The missions of Take The Lead Women and Women Connect 4 Good are completely aligned. My foundation has always worked to educate women to advance in their careers, improve relationships, mentor other women, and conduct research and publish results. Going forward, we plan to do all of those things together. We are working out the details of how our two organizations will collaborate to advance women to leadership parity by 2025. Watch for more announcements of this collaboration as we move forward.
~Dr. Nancy

Why Reach Out To Empower Women Worldwide?

3Empowering women is my mission, whether those women are in California, Ethiopia, or Tanzania. I support today’s women-helping-women movements because we create our greatest impact when we work together; that is how we can transform our lives and the world. That’s why I was so excited to connect with the Women’s Empowerment Program through Convoy of Hope. The program works to help women around the world to realize their value and reach their potential through job training and education.

Women’s Empowerment Program

When women are given the opportunity to generate their own income, they not only lift up their families, they raise their country’s economic standing. The current goal of the Women’s Empowerment Program is to advance women in Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines. Through the program women learn to make strategic, independent life choices. They receive community-based training in peer-oriented cooperative savings groups and develop non-traditional micro-enterprises.

This requires a multi-faceted approach. Through the Women’s Micro-Enterprise Program, Convoy of Hope equips women with financial education, vocational training, cooperative saving groups and even start-up capital. Through the Mother’s Club, women learn nutrition, health and hygiene, literacy, small-scale community agriculture, and craftsmanship/cooking. Convoy of Hope also reaches out with Empowered Girls, which educates in schools and communities.

Women Helping Women Can Change The World

Seeing women find a better way of living proves this effort is worthwhile. We are all sisters, and women need help all over the world. It’s our job to help them. When we do, we have an impact, not only on their lives, but on the lives of their children and future generations. I am so honored to be a part of the work that Convoy of Hope is doing, and I urge each of you to find a way to reach out and help a sister somewhere in the world today.

Four Great Ways To Give This Season

DNOTreeWebHappiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give ― Ben Carson
For many of us, this time of year revolves around parties, shopping, gifts, and spending time with friends and family. In the quest to find the perfect gift or attend the next party many of us can lose sight of what’s truly important. While we focus on, “Holly, jolly, and bright,” many women see today as just another struggle.
As women, it’s imperative that we work together to create a better world, and in just looking around it’s apparent that there is no shortage of targets that need improvement.**
All the power in the world means nothing unless we use it to help others. I firmly believe that the best focus for helping the world this holiday season is to lift up women and girls. While we are focused on giving, sharing, and caring this season, we need to take the hand of one of our sisters and do what we can to help them along. A huge act or donation of time, treasure, or talent isn’t required to make a difference. Little things add up to a lot.
‘Tis the season to ring that bell, serve that food or deliver those meals, so reach out to help someone else.

  • Shop Smarter – whether it’s buying gifts from a female owned business or looking for ways to support female empowerment through your purchases, you can make your dollars count this season. Look for opportunities to support women in your area. Huffington Post recently rounded up some presents you can give loved ones this season that benefit women around the world.
  • Support A Charity – is there a charity you would like to support? Now is the perfect time to make a donation. A donation to a worthy cause that will directly benefit women and girls is always welcome. Also, in many areas you can “adopt” a family for the holidays and help with the purchase of a holiday meal, necessities, and even wish-list gifts. If you don’t have the means to adopt a family, call the charity and volunteer your time sorting donations, serving meals, or delivering baskets. You can also volunteer your talent by helping them in other ways. Charities value all of the ways we can help them, and all of our donations help them expand the ways they can help others.
  • Mentor – is there a woman in your life that could benefit from a mentor relationship? Could you help her grow in the workplace or community? Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and helping them with their own experience, and through mentoring relationships, helping women step into their own power. The best part is, the benefits of mentoring go both ways. The holidays are the perfect time to reach out and develop a relationship.
  • Reach Out – is there a woman in your life that is suffering this season? Has she recently gone through a loss or divorce? Or maybe she has a schedule that doesn’t permit travel? If there’s a woman in your life that is hurting or lonely, reach out and invite her to lunch, or to celebrate the season with you in some other way. Helping her will not only make you feel better, it will make you grateful for your challenges and opportunities.

It is important, especially during the holidays, to reach out to other women. Each of us needs to support other women everywhere – in our homes, workplace, community, nation, and the world. None of us are as creative, skilled, and powerful as we are together. There is a deep satisfaction and meaning that comes from helping others, so this season, wherever your passion lies, reach out and help make a difference in our world.
** Targets that need improvement: I don’t mean to depress you because of course you already know all this, but just for the record – the majority of women in the world are denied education, freedom from violence, economic security, and a voice in their communities. In fact, equality for many of the world’s women is still firmly set in the Dark Ages. Here in the U.S. poverty continues to be a women’s issue. Nearly six in ten poor adults are women, and nearly six in ten poor children live in families headed by women. Poverty rates are especially high for single mothers, women of color, and elderly women living alone. Women also still earn less than men and are bringing in only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, fill few government leadership roles, occupy less than 20 percent of corporate C-level jobs, and in their “personal time” assume the bulk of the responsibility for household and family chores. In all walks of life, many women struggle for equality, parity, education, and support on a daily basis.
 

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