Connect4Good

Girls Inc. Empowers Girls to Be Strong, Smart, and Bold

girls_inc_logoBy definition, a bill of rights is a document or piece of legislation setting out the rights or entitlements of a particular group or class of people. More than 25 years ago, national Girls Inc. codified the Girls’ Bill of Rights, outlining certain truths the organization sees as fundamental. Their mission–then, now and always–is to support girls and to ensure that their rights are recognized and respected.

Girls’ Bill of Rights

  1. Girls have the right to be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes.
  2. Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.
  3. Girls have the right to take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success.
  4. Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies.
  5. Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world.
  6. Girls have the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence.

Girls Inc. focuses on the development of the whole girl, and as a result, girls learn to value themselves, take risks, and discover and develop their inherent strengths, and the Girls’ Bill of Rights helps them do that. This important work is crucial for girls and young women to develop healthy self-esteem. Case in point, DoSomething.org reports that, “seven in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.” The organization also reports that, “75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem.”

Girls Inc. is making a difference for girls nationwide through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and evidence-based programming that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The organization is also heavily involved in advocacy work. At the local affiliate and national levels Girls Inc. focuses on policies and practices that support girls’ health and wellness and fosters school climates that are conducive to learning, particularly those from underserved communities and those who face discrimination and other obstacles because of their race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or religion.

Even without a local Girls Inc. organization, the Girls Inc. Bill of Rights applies to all girls. Jen Faust, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s CEO, urges everyone to keep the Girls’ Bill of Rights front and center in supporting and advocating for girls. She wrote in May, “If you want to do something impactful in your day-to-day, please remember our Girls’ Bill of Rights and help infuse and reinforce these rights in our society when you interact with girls — and boys. When girls are given the tools and opportunities to succeed, not only do they change their own circumstances, they also are empowered to change the circumstances of others around them. By equipping our girls and all youth with skills that are part of the Girls Inc. Experience, the idea is that they will be immersed in school environments where they can make a difference knowing how to advocate for themselves and for their peers.”

To learn more about Girls Inc. or the Girls’ Bill of Rights go to girlsinc.org or  girlsincsb.org.

Investing in Leadership Returns Global Good

Contributed by The Global Good Fund

With a $100 gift from a mentor and an idea, Carrie Rich set out to create an organization to serve as a catalyst for social good, and The Global Good Fund was born. Nine years later, The Global Good Fund has supported 188 Social Impact Fellows, raised $119 million in capital, created over 3,000 jobs, and collectively impacted 9.9 million people around the world.

The Global Good Fund believes that growing leaders is the best strategy for solving complex social problems and achieving global good. They identify high-potential entrepreneurs and accelerate their success and impact through a year-long, virtual fellowship.

Global Good Fund Fellow Spotlights

The Global Good Fund invests in young innovators solving our world’s most pressing social challenges by way of executive mentorship, leadership coaching and targeted capital. Below are just a few of their stories.

Autumn Adeigbo, founder of Autumn Adeigbo Fashion, 2013 Fellow

When Autumn became a Global Good Fund Fellow, she was living in New York City, working as a hostess by night, freelancing as a fashion stylist by day. She had designed a few collections that received top tier press attention, and was trying to find a path towards building a sustainable business. Today, Autumn is a successful Black female business owner devoted to positively impacting the lives of women across cultures by utilizing female-owned production facilities in the U.S., and providing global artisans with meaningful employment and living wages. In 2021, Autumn launched at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom, as well as specialty boutiques across the country. She closed $3 million in seed funding, allowing her to expand the team and dig into principles of diversity, while developing her skills as a leader. Autumn also receives follow-on funding from The Global Impact Fund II.

Margo Jordan, Founder + CEO, Youth Enrichments, 2018 Fellow

Margo Jordan is a venture-backed award-winning serial social entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Youth Enrichments. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she served 10 honorable years in the United States Army. Margo’s passion for social impact compelled her to develop self-esteem-based solutions to help children reach their full potential. Starting with hosting amazing youth conferences featuring celebrity teens and tweens as guest speakers she  also built the first self-esteem-based learning center for girls, and expanded her platform internationally. To date, Margo has impacted over 20,000 children around the world. Her most recent venture, Enrichly, was born out of the global pandemic and is a self-esteem-based digital health/e-learning SaaS platform and gaming app that uses machine learning, gamification, data and onsite curriculum for k-12.

Samir Goel and Wemimo Abbey, co-founders and co-CEO’s of Esusu, 2017 and 2019 Fellows

Samir and Wemimo were named The Global Good Fund Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2022 at the organization’s Gala in May. Esusu, a financial tool that empowers communities to save better, manage their cash flow, and build credit, is one of the first Black and brown-owned start-ups to reach Unicorn status and be valued at $1 billion. Growing up living paycheck to paycheck in the slums of Lagos, Nigeria, Wemimo’s family was excluded from the traditional financial system and turned to rotational savings to pay for school fees and put food on the table. He understands firsthand the power of community savings and digitized this process to make it easy for people to use. Prior to Esusu, Samir co-founded and remains the Chair of Transfernation, a nationally recognized 501(c)3 social-profit that uses technology to ensure excess food from events gets distributed to underserved communities across New York City.

Immigrants in America often do not have robust credit profiles, and Samir and Wemimo aim to build financial resilience and provide access to those marginalized people.

Soumya Dabriwal, founder of Project Baala, 2021 Fellow

Project Baala is a social enterprise focused on tackling the main problems of menstrual hygiene in India: expense of commercial menstrual products, menstrual waste mismanagement and societal myths and taboos. Soumya, a native of India, was a student at the University of Warwick, England when she volunteered in Haryana and Ghana as a teacher. During this time, she discovered the common issues of menstrual hygiene problems in both countries. Troubled by girls missing out on school and following unhygienic practices like using cloth rags, Soumya started Project Baala while still in college. After returning to India in 2016 and visiting rural parts of the country, she understood the magnitude of the problem – only 12% of women in India have access to sanitary napkins – and Project Baala became a company. In the next three years, Project Baala is positioned to impact 1 million girls with better menstrual hygiene knowledge and menstrual product access.

You can read more amazing Global Good Fund Fellow stories in Carrie’s new book, Impact The World, a Wall Street Journal best-seller as well as at https://globalgoodfund.org/fellowship/entrepreneurs/

 

 

Social-Profits Work for Social Good

Since its inception, Dr. Nancy has referred to the Women Connect4Good Foundation as a social-profit organization rather than a non-profit or not-for-profit organization. Women Connect4Good is only one of thousands of 501(c)3 organizations which Dr. Nancy believes should be described as social-profits, for the value they provide to their communities beyond the limitations of financial measurements. The many ways they do good – by providing resources, guidance, or just a hand up to the people they serve – are innumerable.

“The term ‘not-for-profit’ suggests financial gain is an organization’s only worthwhile value,” Dr. Nancy said. “I much prefer to describe our important community groups as ‘social-profit organizations.’ I believe these vital groups are our path to changing the world, and that we need to change the term to reflect the true nature of the work that most 501(c)3’s do.”

However, social-profits do make a definite financial impact. Currently there are approximately 1.5 million 501(c)3 organizations based in the United States alone. The social-profit sector retained its position as the third-largest employment sector in the U.S. in 2020, employing approximately 12.5 million – or one in every 10 working Americans. In 2018, roughly 63 million Americans volunteered their time with social-profit organizations. In 2020, charitable giving in the United States grew by 2% compared to 2019, totaling $40.7 billion.

More importantly, social-profits also make the world a better place. There are numerous social-profit organizations making a difference in our communities each day. From cultural centers to food banks to disaster relief organizations – think Red Cross, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, Convoy of Hope, and so many others – and they deliver important services, strengthen communities, and facilitate civic engagement. Whether we’re aware of it or not, these organizations play a vital role in our lives, and we all “profit” from their activities in countless ways.

“I had the opportunity to speak to a group of representatives from various 501(c)3’s and referred to their organizations as social-profits,” Dr. Nancy said. “There was some initial confusion until I defined what a social-profit is, and the impact it has. I said, ‘What will we be? What would our society be without the work you do?’ That changed everything.”

Despite growing employment numbers, rising donations, and immeasurable social benefits, many social-profits need our support. Especially since state and local governments have come to depend on 501(c)3 organizations to help solve pressing social problems. And in unpredictable times like these, social-profits – often understaffed and underfunded – continue to provide a host of critically needed services and help hold communities together.

“Social-profits benefit when we all come together to help those who need us, whatever the circumstances may be,” Dr. Nancy concluded. “All of us can help. All of us can serve. All of us benefit when we support our social-profit organizations.”

Switch your perspective when thinking about organizations that are set up to spend their profits on fulfilling their missions to support the greater good instead of filling the pockets of their investors.  Think about how these organizations create immeasurable profits that make our communities more welcoming places to live and support work that aligns with our values. Our communities “profit” when we hear the call to action and serve as volunteers and donate our time, treasure, or talent to social-profit organizations. Check out your local community website for social-profits in your area, or go to GreatNonProfits.org or VolunteerMatch.org to get connected with the organizations that make your community strong. Together, that’s how we make a difference with abundant profits that benefit us all.

Power Forward and Register

Level Up – The Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference

There’s still time to register for the 15th Annual Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference, which you can attend virtually October 8-9, 2020. As in years past, this event will attract women business leaders of all races, cultures and backgrounds, and features amazing speakers, exhibitors, content, coaching and a virtual program like no other. Recognized as the premier women’s leadership conference for racial, ethnic and gender diversity, attendees can expect to hear and learn from some of the most influential thought leaders and executives across the nation and the world.

Dr. Nancy will be on hand and will be joined by Trudy Bourgeois, Founder and CEO, Center for Workforce Excellence, during the general session to discuss “supporting one another across differences.” Together they will explore privilege, and how white women have been the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action while Black women have been left behind. Their conversation will reveal the ways we can boldly reach across differences as allies for other women.

This conference is incredible each year, and this year’s virtual event makes attendance easier than ever. Check out last week’s interview with Dr. Sheila Robinson for more information.

Power Forward We've Got the PowerWe look forward to “seeing” you there, and together we’ll Power Forward!

Here’s a recap of last year’s conference:

Since its inception, Diversity Woman Magazine has recognized the importance of leadership development and empowerment for diverse women. Aiming to educate and support diverse and multicultural women leaders and to facilitate their continued growth and success, the organization more than delivered through their annual Business Leadership Conference in November.

Attracting diverse and multicultural business leaders from the world’s largest corporations and entrepreneurs from successful women-owned businesses, the Conference not only served as the perfect place for women to make connections, it also provided plenty of information for women to further their development. Boasting notable speakers and powerhouse panels, attendees were able to gain wisdom and insight from some of the most influential women leaders in the nation.

Take The Lead’s Co-Founder and President Gloria Feldt provided a flash talk on the Conference’s first day. With “Intentional Woman: Be BOLD and Carry OUT!” Gloria told attendees that the real secret to reaching their full leadership potential while helping all women get their fair and equal share of leadership roles starts with “I.” But it’s far from selfish. It is all about embracing the power of your own intention. Of taking those elements of female socialization that have traditionally held women back and turning them into assets, superpowers even.

Level Up – The Diversity Women’s Business Leadership ConferenceAdditional presentations and panels guided attendees on strategies for advancing in business, such as “Bold Moves for a Disruptive World” and “Three Rules for Winning in Corporate America”, and Leadership Coaching helped attendees do everything from navigating a project to developing their personal brand.

The Women Connect4Good Foundation was a diamond level sponsor of this year’s event, and Dr. Nancy was on hand to host the Conference’s Opening Reception and along with Dr. Sheila Robinson, Founder of Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference, delivered opening remarks on day two – helping attendees get supercharged for a day of powerful learning and inspiration.

Dr. Nancy recalled the first time she attended the Diversity Women Business Conference, and said it was the most amazing experience she’d ever had. It was the first time she truly understood the words inclusive and sisterhood. In order to deepen that understanding, Dr. Nancy had to look first of all at privilege, and how with privilege comes responsibility.

In her latest book, In This Together, we quote Michael Kimmel who said in a TED Talk, “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” His point was that we have unconscious biases that prevent us from recognizing our own privilege. In fact, we are privileged if we don’t even see our race or gender when we look in the mirror.

This week’s podcast guest, Trudy Bourgeois, founder of The Center for Workforce Excellence said it best when she told Dr. Nancy, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” She said that if we are to create equality for all women, we have to name our biases and talk about them. Her recent book tells how we can transform our work environments by admitting our biases and engaging in tough, uncomfortable conversations. It’s called EQUALITY: Courageous Conversations about Women, Men, AND Race in the Workplace to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough.

Trudy and Dr. Nancy met a few years ago at the Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference, and Trudy point-blank confronted Dr. Nancy with the question, “What’s wrong with you white women?” Trudy’s question had to do with the advantages that white women have had and squandered. Now, Dr. Nancy believes what’s wrong is, “We’re afraid to step outside the lines for fear of retribution ourselves. While we have to be twice as educated and work twice as hard to get half as much as our male counterparts, we realize it is our responsibility to make sure that no woman has to work twice as hard to get half as far as her white sisters.”

Chelsea Handler has said that when it comes to privilege, it’s about taking responsibility, about having those difficult conversations and doing something actionable about it. Dr. Nancy agrees and says we all have to learn how to be better. “We can do that in part when we realize that racial and gender bias impacts every aspect of work, and that includes our own path to leadership and how we lead once we get there. We are our own worst enemies because of the biases we have towards other women, and the biases we have towards ourselves. We’ve got these measurements and comparisons, and we need to recognize them and realize, nobody is winning. We need to learn to recognize that we have biases, and we all have them.”

Dr. Nancy also pointed out the fact that it’s really all about relationships. Women build relationships. We are good at it, and we can use this strength to help ourselves and our companies succeed. Study after study shows that when women hold top positions, an organization does better. She said that in order to build relationships that work for all of us, we need to realize that our differences can be challenges, but they can also be opportunities.

“I think that when we talk about how we are different we begin to understand each other better and better and realize that we’re more alike than different. We all want the same things.” Dr. Nancy said. “We also need to remember, no more US and Them. We truly are in this together and that means ALL of us, all colors, races, and our male allies too.”

Dr. Nancy concluded her opening remarks on the topic of support. After all, when we support each other, anything is possible. “This conference is a perfect example of what happens when we support each other.”

“We need to realize that we are ALL in this together and we’ll get there faster when we work together – side by side—to make the world a better place. I think that’s why we’re here is to have better lives and to make it better for other people.”

Dr. Nancy is already making plans to attend next year’s Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference, October 7, 8 and 9, 2020, and urges other women to do the same. Attendees will have the chance to spend time with some major players – real leaders who understand just what it takes for organizations of all sizes to be successful as well as discover great opportunities to learn from and share with one another and create new and rewarding relationships. To learn more about Diversity Women and next year’s conference, go to DiversityWoman.com.

 

Women Connect4Good Challenges Young Women to Succeed

Women Connect4Good Challenges Young Women to SucceedEach year young women around the world take their first college classes and build the foundation for their careers and future earnings. According to the Department of Education since 1982 women have earned more bachelor’s degrees than men, more master’s degrees since 1987, and more doctoral degrees since 2006. That’s why Dr. Nancy O’Reilly has put her foundation, Women Connect4Good, Inc., to work to help these young women move forward and succeed.

A college education has become increasingly important for a woman’s success (45% of all jobs currently require a degree) but increasing costs and inadequate financial aid can present significant barriers for many. At Drury University, a private liberal arts university located in Springfield, Missouri, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly and other female leaders are working to change that and make a difference for a number of women who otherwise may not be able to attend the private college.

Dr. Nancy O'Reilly and Judy Thompson

Dr. Nancy O’Reilly and Judy Thompson

In the Fall of 2019 Judy Thompson, Drury’s Executive Vice President of Development and Campaign Director, approached Dr. Nancy, a Drury alumnus, and asked her for a donation of $25,000 to challenge women in leadership to provide a new or increased gift for scholarships for women. Those who were challenged stepped up.

“We sent the challenge to Drury alumnae who were in leadership roles, and raised over $27,000 from women in leadership positions, including an international scientist and an Ambassador.” Judy said. “We now have over $52,000 in financial aid to support women students at Drury.”

Drury University breaks the mold of single majors and rigid formulas most often associated with traditional education. Students receive a blend of life and career credentials, which allows them to pursue their intellectual passions while giving them the tools they need to be technically proficient and career-ready. Through this combination of professional and non-professional studies, and with the generosity of Dr. Nancy and other alumnae, a number of young women will learn to be flexible, innovative and creative problem solvers with their equally innovative degree program at Drury. They will go beyond traditional education and thinking by blending career, calling, life, community, self and service.

“Dr. Nancy O’Reilly has once again provided an avenue to bring women together to support young women and provide an opportunity for many to choose to study at Drury who might otherwise not have had that choice,” Judy concluded. “It is exciting to think what these women might accomplish in their lives. Thank you, Dr. Nancy, for providing this wonderful challenge!”

Together in This Time of Crisis

Together in This Time of Crisis“It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.” – Michelle Obama

This last week has been difficult. The country is reeling. We’ve seen the anger from racism being ignored for too long spill out into the streets in the form of protest. Right now, it would be easy for us to turn away and ignore the pain and rage that is exploding in our cities. It would be easy for us to feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed by what is happening. But what we need, instead, is to come together in support and unity. We need to stand with our Black and brown sisters and brothers, so that we can make sure we are lifting our country up toward equality and justice.

This goes far deeper than you may imagine. Several doctors’ groups — the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and American College of Physicians — are emphasizing that racism is a public health issue and they’re calling for police brutality to stop. The American Psychological Association has also issued a statement calling racism a pandemic.

“We are living in a racism pandemic, which is taking a heavy psychological toll on our African American citizens. The health consequences are dire,” said APA president Sandra Shullman. “Racism is associated with a host of psychological consequences, including depression, anxiety and other serious, sometimes debilitating conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Moreover, the stress caused by racism can contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other physical diseases.”

Gloria Feldt, Co-founder and President of Take The Lead, recognizes that current events lead to high tensions, grief and rage on top of the coronavirus pandemic, but pointed out that Take The Lead stands firmly for equality and parity, and against racism and injustice. Women Connect4Good stands with them. Racism and injustice cannot be tolerated, and discrimination in any form is not okay.

“There’s a special kind of leadership that the world needs now—positive, inclusive, and empathetic leadership that embraces power as the ‘Power TO’ change the world for the better,” Gloria said. “Perhaps this is the moment when together we can lead from the power TO create more justice and more abundance instead of leading from fear—whether fear of losing privilege or fear of losing our lives. We can change the narrative and show the world that there is no finite pie, and when we help each other we all can have more.”

She’s right. When we shift the narrative and help each other, we can use our collective power to move change forward. Hashtags and online discourse aren’t going to cut it anymore. We have to take steps – literally – to change things for the better, and to create a world that is equal on every level.

Dr. Sheila Robinson, Publisher and CEO of Diversity Woman Media, said in Dr. Nancy’s recently released documentary that we need to focus on the things we can learn from and focus on creating more solutions. “I think that what we all want is the same thing – every woman, every race, every culture, every background – we want a safe place where we can work and we can be valued for what we’re worth so that we can share those rewards with our families. We want our children to have great educations. We want safe homes for our families, and we want to be able to support our partners.”

To our Black and brown sisters and brothers, know that we are with you. You matter to us. Your lives matter. You, your family and your friends make our communities better. Together we have the power TO change the world. We stand with you and are working alongside you for change.

 

Girl Up Initiative Uganda is Changing Lives

Black Woman SmilingMany young girls living in the urban slums of Kampala, Uganda, struggle with a lack of educational and economic opportunities. In a culture where a male’s education is prioritized, a disproportionate number of girls do not complete school, are often forced marry early, feel like they don’t matter, and lack the skills needed to contribute to their families, which lowers their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Monica Nyiraguhabwa was one of those young women struggling to complete her education until a chance encounter with Kimberly Wolf, a young American woman passionate about girls’ rights and leadership, changed everything. While their backgrounds and circumstances were different, they both related to the challenges that come with growing up as a girl in today’s world and the power of having someone believe in them.

Together, they dreamed up the idea of Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) after visiting Monica’s community and identifying the need to advance educational and economic opportunities for young women and adolescent girls in these slum areas. They named it “Girl Up” because they wanted the name of the organization to reflect their commitment to lifting girls out of a life of poverty and gender inequality. Just as boys are taught to “man up,” the two wanted girls to be taught to “girl up” and realize their power and strength as girls.

What started out as an idea with $100 seed money has grown into a movement in just eight short years. Each year, the number of girls and young women that GUIU helps increases as the organization grows. This year, Girl Up intends to directly help 15,000 girls and young women and equip them with the skills, knowledge, tools, and provide mentorship and support to develop their self-confidence and voice to thrive as leaders in their schools and communities.

“We aim to contribute to systematic change in the community by ensuring that girls are recognized as active agents of change,” Monica said. “By empowering girls, both individually and collectively, to challenge the patriarchal social order, they become spokespersons for girls’ rights and become drivers of systemic gendered change in the community.”

Girl Up Initiative Uganda is changing livesGirl Up has directly helped over 70,000 girls and young women through various programs since 2012 and encourages the girls and young women to share their learnings and acquired knowledge with others who do not benefit from the programs. The girls are also eager to use the leadership skills and confidence they have gained through the program to mentor other girls. Girl Up estimates that each girl will reach an additional five girls, creating positive ripple effects throughout their schools and communities.

Its mission is to create a gender equal world by equipping girls and young women with the confidence, mentorship, skills, and knowledge to reach their full potential. The organization currently has Coaches (facilitators) who not only train girls, but act as positive role models for at-risk girls. Programs include:

The Adolescent Girls ProgramGirl Up Initiative Uganda is changing lives

GUIU has run the Adolescent Girls Program (AGP) as its flagship program to advance the educational opportunities for adolescent girls aged 9-15 living in urban slum areas in Kampala since 2013. An in-school program, AGP focuses on building adolescent girls’ capacities for individual empowerment and social survival, especially in patriarchal environments that do not value and respect the rights of girls and women. It consists of a cluster of synergistic activities to ensure that girls receive the skills, knowledge, tools, mentorship, and support to develop their self-confidence and voice to thrive as leaders in their schools and communities.

The Big Sister Network

In 2016, GUIU launched The Big Sisters Network, as they recognized that graduates of the AGP needed continued support and opportunities to grow their leadership and influencing capacities. It now ensures that AGP alumni continue to access female- focused education and stay involved and engaged with GUIU and their fellow graduates. In 2019, GUIU realized one of its biggest organizational dreams – the Big Sister Camp – where 210 girls converged for a residential camp full of learning, laughing, and playing. It was a magical four days to honor and further develop the leadership potentials of our Big Sisters. In 2020, they plan to have another Big Sister Camp for 260 promising girl leaders.

Mazuri-trainees-in-their-clothesMazuri Designs Hub

Mazuri Designs Hub was first launched in 2015 in recognition of the limited economic opportunities for out-of-school young women in the communities GUIU works with. Uganda’s  70% youth unemployment rate leaves them financially dependent on men and struggling to support themselves and their families. Therefore, Girl Up launched a social enterprise to offer young women skills training that could provide them with a sustainable income. Today, the Mazuri Designs Hub training program offers a one-year vocational training course in fashion, design, and tailoring that is combined with entrepreneurial and personal skills training for young women, ages 16-35 years. The young women are trained by experienced tailors and given the opportunity to showcase their products at the fashion show graduation at the end of the course.  The project advances economic opportunities for the young women and has had a positive impact on their incomes. In GUIU’s 2019 post-project survey, 67% young women reported that their average weekly income had increased after participating in the program, all due to selling products they sewed.

Ni-yetu-drama-performanceNi-Yetu Youth Program

GUIU has partnered with Plan International Uganda since 2015 to implement the Ni-Yetu Youth Project in all five divisions of Kampala. The aim of the project is to empower young people, ages 13-24 years, with correct knowledge, attitude and skills for reducing gender-based violence and improving their sexual and reproductive health and rights outcomes. The Ni-Yetu Youth Project is a gender transformative project that looks at challenging negative social norms and practices that affect SRHR outcomes amongst young people. It uses youth innovative approaches such as street theatre performances, youth-friendly health camps, peer-to-peer education, music campaigns, and sports outreaches. While the project reaches out to both genders, it benefits young women specifically by changing attitudes towards gender inequality in the communities they live in. Even though girls and women constitute GUIU’s focus group, the organization understands that boys and men must also be engaged in the fight for gender equality given that they are the other half of the equation when it comes to advancing girls’ rights and ending gender-based violence.

Girl-sewing-padAs Girl Up’s programs have grown over the years, their staff has too. “We are proud of the growth of our young, female-led, Ugandan team. Girl Up now employs 20 full time Ugandan staff, 76% of which are female and 85% under the age of 30 years. Providing employment and volunteer opportunities to aspiring and dedicated young Ugandans is an essential part of our mission and the way we work,” Monica said. “These vibrant young people make up the GUIU Dream Team – we dream together, create ideas together, and make change happen together! Each team member brings their own unique skills, talents, and ideas to enable the organization to grow and transform more lives.”

“We have achieved many exciting milestones, and I have been blessed to work in a job I am extremely passionate about. My biggest highlight is seeing the growth and development of our girls as they become powerful and confident young women in my community. Many of them are now in university and secondary school, and stay in touch with me. I love to see how GUIU has impacted their lives in positive ways,” Monica said. “Because I work in the same community that has seen me grow up, they are now seeing me in this position as a woman and a leader. I love going into the community to engage with the adolescent girls and tell them my story to inspire them to re-write their stories so they can achieve their dreams.”

Monica and Kimberly have garnered some international attention for their efforts too and have appeared on NBC’s The Today Show with Michelle Obama in 2018 (see here) and were invited to meet Oprah Winfrey at her home last year. Monica has also had the opportunity to speak up for girls through the Obama Africa Fellowship, Cordes Fellowship, iLEAP Fellowship, and African Visionary Fellowship with the Segal Family Foundation.

People can help Girl Up Initiative Uganda by following and sharing updates through social media platforms (@girlupuganda on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and by subscribing to their newsletter at www.girlupuganda.org. You can also support GUIU’s work to change the lives of young women and girls and donate to their cause at www.girlupuganda.org/donate.

It Is Time to Lift Women Up!

Lift Women UpWomen have long been the drivers of change in our communities, and lifting them up into positions where they can make the world a better place benefits all of us. Our history is built on women’s work as powerful leaders, passionate advocates, and dedicated forces for change. Right now, we’re perfectly positioned to become leaders in the communities we call home, in the workplace, and in the world.

Today in the dawn of a new decade it is time for women to come together, amplify each other and fully step into our power. To further that, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly and the team at Women Connect4Good, Inc., are launching an exciting new campaign, Lift Women Up, which will focus on the steps — big and small— that we all can take to continue marching towards gender parity.

Over the course of the campaign – which will coincide with the release in March of a new documentary featuring Dr. Nancy’s work championing women’s equality and advancement – we will ask women to share their stories of how women sponsor, mentor and help each other, and in turn, inspire more women to do the same.

We Lift Women Up when we:

  • Support women running for office with our time, treasure, or talent.
  • Sponsor, mentor, or help a woman get her foot in the door at work.
  • Work together to close the pay gap and raise women and girls out of poverty.
  • Train and elevate women to leadership positions.
  • Engage our #maleallies to build an environment where every person – regardless of gender – is valued, respected, and equally compensated.

Throughout the year while the documentary airs on PBS, we’ll highlight different influential women and their powerful stories to inspire our audience to #LiftWomenUp in their everyday lives, as well as moving stories of everyday heroes who make their corner of the world brighter. Each month we’ll be introducing an issue that impacts women greatly, and in our newsletter we’ll also share easy, actionable steps that we can all take to lift the women in our own lives.

Join us, and together let’s #LiftWomenUp, step into our power, and claim equality for all!

 

Push Her Forward and Vote Her In

Rebecca Sive

Rebecca Sive

Rebecca Sive was raised to work hard, get educated and in turn, teach others. Most of all she was raised by parents who thought it was important to advocate for democratic values and help get people elected to create equal opportunities and fairness for all. Since the 2016 election, and the subsequent Women’s March, Rebecca has been inspired to increase her advocacy for women and write her newest book, Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President.

#VOTEHERIN

Vote_Her_In_Book_CoverConvinced that the time is now, Rebecca points out that a woman already got elected to the presidency by the popular vote. A fact she uses to make the case that the American people, both men and women, are ready for a woman president. In Vote Her In, she helps women – especially those who did not vote for the woman for president – see how they actually voted against their own interests.

Rebecca explains that the road to better health care, improved child care and education for all is by electing a woman president. Women understand the need for these things, which is why it just doesn’t make sense to vote for someone who does not address the issues in their policies. She also explains the ways that a woman president would help women reach parity sooner, first by demonstrating the ways that women make great leaders, and second through policies to promote equal pay and status in the workplace.

“When A Woman Leads, Everyone Wins.”

Women are proving that they can lead every day. In fact, as a result of their leadership, companies are more profitable, and policies are more beneficial to all.  Originally recorded in October, 2018, Dr. Nancy asked Rebecca who might run for president and Rebecca pointed out that women have been running and winning for years. Although only one-fifth of the Senate are women and there are only six governors, there are a number of women who have executive experience. She predicted that after the 2018 mid-terms, a pool of women would start to throw their hats into the ring. Early next year (2019), they will begin fundraising and announcing their intentions for 2020.  She predicted that regardless of where you stand ideologically or politically, you will have a choice and begin to see women leaders speaking out. (Rebecca was absolutely right. At this update, the field of six women running for President has thinned to four, but that’s still more than ever before at this stage of the campaign.)

In the second part of Vote Her In Rebecca encourages women to get behind the woman they choose and help her get elected. This how-to section of the book gives readers advice and direction for how to engage with the political process and push that deserving woman toward the presidency. Rebecca says women do it all the time. We lift each other up and help one another achieve our goals. We can elect a woman president and the country is very ready for it.

Listen to this interview for more inspiring comments and insights. Check out Rebecca’s website and get her book. Use #VOTEHERIN whenever possible and get this movement moving. If all of us push together we can Vote Her In!

 

Women Drive Change

Women Drive ChangeWomen in the U.S. have always been agents of change, even when they had few officially recognized rights. In Colonial times, women tackled a host of issues, and showed themselves to be tireless workers.  They built upon that in the 1800’s to become skilled fundraisers, passionate advocates, powerful leaders, dedicated volunteers, and irresistible forces for social change. Women of every ethnicity joined voluntary associations to raise money and especially to care for women, widows, and girls.

While times may have changed, women’s desire to make the world a better place has not, and today many women are putting their money behind their motivations. The Women’s Philanthropy Institute reports that, “In order to tackle challenges large and small, our world needs more strategic philanthropy. Women can lead this charge, harnessing their growing wealth and influence to create a more just, equitable, and healthy society.”

It’s easy to understand how women can be a powerful force driving change when you remember that women are responsible for 86% of household’s consumer purchasing decisions, now control 51% ($14 trillion) of personal wealth in the U.S., and are expected to control $22 trillion by 2020.  As Fidelity Charitable points out, “Women today play a central role in philanthropy, leading charitable giving within their families, using their time and skills to advance causes within their communities, and embodying the purpose and heart that underpin philanthropic goals.”

Representing a new era of resources by and for women, Women Moving Millions (WMM) is accelerating progress toward a gender equal world by sharply focusing those investment goals with a gender lens. This community of 320 women is committed to organizations and initiatives benefiting women and girls, and using the power of our voice and influence to inspire and show how women can support women with their philanthropic influence. . Activities in today’s world shows us how leveraging collective strength, networks, and voices can illuminate issues we need to change to make our world a better home for us all.

The recent 2019 WMM Annual Summit in New York, themed “The Power of You,” explored the unique values and vision that each individual philanthropist can bring to the field and how together, we can create an opportunity for unparalleled systemic change. With the opportunity to critically hear from diverse changemakers and reflect on individual values and philanthropy with the needs of the greater movement, we looked at everything from “Building a Supermajority to Organize for Gender Equality” to “Supporting Women’s Movements for Peace, Justice, and Equality.” The topics were engaging, and the speakers diverse. It was an exciting gathering of women dedicated to equality and making change.

However, a summit isn’t the only way we can all come together and drive change. We’re perfectly positioned to become today’s and tomorrow’s leaders in philanthropy, in the workplace, and in the communities we call home. We can donate our time, treasure or talent to support women running for office. We can sponsor, mentor, or help a woman get her foot in the door at work. We can work together to close the pay gap, and to raise women and girls out of poverty. We can join forces to train, position, and elevate women to leadership positions. We can engage our male allies to work with us to build an environment where every person – regardless of gender – is valued, respected, and equally compensated. We can do all of this and more when we remember that we’re in this together.

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