If you haven’t seen this video, watch it. Go ahead. I’ll wait. It’s amazing and inspiring.
The Girl Effect is a philanthropic movement to value girls and women in developing countries. Why girls? Because the stats show that when girls are valued by their culture poverty, illness and low education levels begin to recede – naturally – to be replaced by relative prosperity, health and education. (Watch the original Girl Effect video that makes this point and is equally inspiring.) Why? Because women invest their time, energy and resources differently than men – putting more energy into their families and their community, and this kind of energy investment pays off tangibly. Everyone benefits when women are supported – communities are transformed. NOT because men are evil, but because the value of men and women is out of whack in the developing world and when the balance is more equal, a strong women’s influence creates a healthier culture and economy. You can read some fascinating stats about this here on the Girl Effect site.
And guess what? This isn’t just a philanthropic effort anymore. The Girl Effect and others began to raise awareness on the impact of women a few years ago, and it got people’s attention. Just this month, the World Bank validated this way of looking at the economic benefits of valuing women in developing economies. All I can say is, it’s about damn time and GO GIRL EFFECT!
Here at home, it’s time for the Woman Effect
I’m writing this post because I’m joining a movement today as bloggers all over the web will write posts in support of The Girl Effect. You can see some of them here. But that’s not the only reason I’m writing this post. I believe that the Girl Effect is in effect here in our country too – and everywhere. Here in the U.S., we’ve solved the “girl problem,” to a larger extent than the developing world, but now we have begun to recognize the Woman Effect. If you follow mywomen-in-business blog posts and coaching practice, you know that I believe passionately that women are a big part of the solution to our economic problems. The data is in. Women in an organization’s leadership increase it’s chances for economic success and sustainability. Period. The only reason this isn’t happening more quickly is because we all (men and women) buy into too many stereotypes about what “leadership” is. As soon as we open ourselves up to new definitions of leadership to include the strengths that women bring – naturally – we’ll see the same affect in our economy that the developing world will see when it starts to value girls.
We matter everywhere
Although I don’t write about it much, I don’t just think this is an issue for the boardroom of the big companies trying to make bazillions. I think it matters just as much or more at the other end of our world, and everywhere in between.
I sit on the board of the District Alliance for Safe Housing. DASH houses survivors of domestic violence with a unique and forward-thinking housing model that doesn’t just talk about empowering women who have lost everything – it actually does it. Unlike many housing shelters that are mandated to kick survivors out after 60 days (many of whom become homeless or return to their abusers because they have no where else to go), DASH takes a different approach and houses them longer, providing them resources and the respect they deserve so they can take back their own personal power – which their abusers tried and failed to rob them of. Once they have a handle on their own power, they rebuild their lives more frequently and more successfully. I’m very proud of DASH and the work they do to invest in the Girl Effect right here in our own back yard. They’re blazing a new trail in women’s empowerment where it matters most and becoming a national model we hope takes off throughout the U.S. Want to be inspired? Watch this video and if you’re motivated, please donate to DASH.
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