News – Page 5 – Welcome to World Woman Foundation


Investing in Women is Key to Ending Global Hunger and Poverty

tact with Heifer International’s team in Zambia. We provided training over a period of eight months, and 20 women were given 20 heifers, which proved to be the start of a much bigger dairy business. With ongoing support from Heifer and other organizations, the women went on to form Fisenge Dairy Cooperative Union, the first women-owned and run cooperative in Zambia.

 This was back in 2005. Since then, the women have grown their business into a much bigger operation. Today, the cooperative has more than 400 members with 4,000 cows. It has established a series of satellite collection hubs – so farmers travel shorter distances to deliver their milk, reducing the risk of it spoiling – which then connect into the main milk collection hub. Milk is collected twice a day, quality checked, chilled, and then sold directly to Parmalat – one of the world’s largest dairy companies.

By selling directly to the dairy through the cooperative, the women get a better price for their milk. They also get access to credit, farming inputs, and other goods and services needed to grow their businesses. With the income from the milk, the women have been able to expand their farms, build new houses and send their kids to school. And as their farms have continued to grow and incomes increase, their husbands have been able to leave the mines and join their wives’ farming businesses.

 Beyond income, studies have also shown improvements in nutrition, and women now have a greater say in household and community decision making. “Poverty has been reduced and the women in the areas have gained self-confidence and independence,” said Effatah Jele, a founding member of the cooperative.

Fisenge is one of the thousands of cooperatives we work with in 21 countries around the world, including the United States. Whether they raise chickens, goats, cows, or grow crops like basic grains and vegetables, membership of a cooperative helps farmers get a better price for their products and gives them access to other services like quality feed, veterinary care and credit.

We focus on women farmers in particular, because we know they invest up to 90% of their income back into their families. When women have control over farm assets and the income their businesses generate, whole communities flourish. In India, Kenya and Mexico we’re working alongside women farmers as they expand their poultry farms in a sustainable way, producing nutritious eggs and meat that are eaten at home or sold in local markets. In Guatemala, we’re partnering with indigenous women as they build businesses producing fibers and dyes for textiles, organic vegetables and free-range poultry – profitable markets they themselves have identified.

These are some of the hundreds of thousands of women farmers around the world we work with every year who are #Redefiningrules, supporting them as they transform their farms into thriving businesses that deliver living incomes.

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Women Feeding the Future. It will take brains, not brawn, to feed the future

participating in agriculture, from the field to the food supply chain to the retail store.

More women are involved in feeding the future as awakening is happening in modern agriculture. Gone are the days you needed forearms the size of a fence post to drive a tractor – the modern farm is run by technology, drones, and sensors. It takes brains, not brawn, to understand trade issues and highly volatile commodity markets, and to manage the ups and downs of consumer trends and demand. Women with business experience are leaving the C-Suite to become full partners and owners in farming operations and leaders in agribusiness. An increasing number of female leaders are making tough decisions when it comes to food purchasing, logistics, and governmental regulations.

With 9 billion mouths to feed on this planet by 2050, we need agricultural leaders of every size, shape, and gender. As more women enter the male-dominated field, they’ll be managing an even bigger share of land. This requires a newfound focus on sustainability for the longevity of the land, and to meet consumer demand for sustainably-sourced food.

That consumer demand is rising….a BCG survey of 9,000 consumers in nine countries found that most (86%) want food products that are “good for the world and me”—items that are labeled organic, natural, ecological, or fair trade. Indeed, according to another BCG study completed another study that reports 70% of US sales growth in retail chains comes from sales of sustainable products.

As demand for sustainable, nutritious and safer food increases, farmers are implementing new practices to produce higher-quality crops. Women represent ownership in more organic farms than any other type of farm across the world. Globally, especially in regions where farmers don’t have access to modern technologies, women are leading sustainable co-ops to share resources and building education centers around sustainable production techniques. Combine this with the fact that women make up half of the consumer dollar and workforce, and you have a powerful force in supporting sustainable agriculture.

It should be empowering for women to know they have a role in feeding the future. Female collaboration and communication will bring new ideas to the discussion on strategic, sustainable farm systems. Women will be key to leading and supporting modern agriculture

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Purposeful Philanthropy Must Empower Through Mentorship 

sions that balance revenue growth and profit-making with the core values of respecting and supporting its environment and stakeholder network and influencing culture. Philanthropic at their core, social enterprises are rising in response to the global political environment. Where governments are unable or unwilling to address the multiple layers of social ills that exist in communities social enterprises are filling the gap, triggering social growth while contributing to the economic stability of communities through purpose-centric and profit-maximizing business practices.  

Social enterprise is playing a growing role in support of women’s empowerment – as a source of funding advocacy programs, a means of delivering training and creating employment, and as a way of empowering women socially and economically. The status of women in social entrepreneurship importantly disrupts the patterns of gender inequality. According to the British Council, there are approximately 210 million social entrepreneurs working to address social and environmental challenges. In the U.S., 31% of for-profit companies are led by women, but they are leading over 55% of social enterprises. Globally, social enterprise is changing the dichotomy between ‘the empowerer’ and ‘the empowered,’ giving women opportunity for and authority in decision-making. This requires a shift in how women are trained and elevated into leadership positions. Talent management experts, Development Dimensions International, found that while nearly 80% of women in senior roles had served as formal mentors, few of them had mentors of their own. 

The networks of successful male and female leaders are different. Men benefit not so much from size of network but from being central in the network and connected to multiple “hubs.” Io achieve positions with the highest levels of authority and pay women require centrality in the network but also need an inner circle of close female contacts, even when their education and experience is similar to their male counterpart. The Harvard Business Review reported research that suggests women especially benefit from mentoring relationships: “Because women seeking positions of executive leadership often face cultural and political hurdles that men typically do not, they benefit from an inner circle of close female contacts that can share private information about things like an organization’s attitudes toward female leaders, which helps strengthen women’s job search, interviewing, and negotiation strategies.” This leads to gender balance and equity across social and professional lines. 

Where gender balance in leadership is increased, there is a rise in productivity, innovation, and transparency. These corporate characteristics are important to American consumers. A Cone Communications study indicates half of Americans would prefer to work for a female-led company. The majority says women in leadership develop companies that are: 

  •    more purpose driven (56%),  
  •    more likely to include access to childcare (78%), and  
  •    more likely to offer equal pay (75%). 

As women recognize the link between social enterprise, transformation of self, and influence over community, they must identify their personal level of responsibility to shape and participate in philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and mentorship. Traditional community-based interventions focus on women as beneficiaries, but mentorship empowers women as leaders, consumers, and contributors as innovators and agents of change.  

Philanthropic dollars, then, must focus on driving authentic connection between women leaders and their rising counterparts.Mentorship is an investment in future talent, creating a pipeline from which prepared leaders can be selected, protecting succession and mitigating risk – critical to the health of the future philanthropic and purpose-centric industries and the societies they serve.  


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Glocal Agents of Change: Role of Businesses Beyond Profits

xt-decoration: underline;”>The world is a small place; by working glocally—together, across borders, with people and organizations who know their home markets but are global in their thinking—companies can help stakeholders succeed in a complex world while contributing to positive change and progress. Since its inception, APCO Worldwide has been on a mission to use its strength and global platform to not only service clients but serve as a catalyst for bringing people together across complex problems and thereby contribute to a better world.

As the largest majority women-owned communications company in the world, championing the progress of women and girls globally is a part of APCO’s DNA. APCO has been deeply involved in projects—both our own efforts and in coordination with clients—that center around the advancement of women and their economic independence, even when it wasn’t popular to do so.

Despite some progress, it is still a world with profound gender inequality. According to the World Economic Forum 2018 Global Gender Gap report, we still have over two centuries before the economic gender gap is closed everywhere. Companies have already been asked to take a stand, accelerated by the rise of #MeToo in 2017, and doing so will continue to engage and inspire employees, generate customer loyalty and help businesses chart a course for sustainable growth.

That’s why we’ve built empowerment and advocacy into our business model from the beginning, with pro bono efforts and service offerings that help our clients create their own solutions to these challenges. For companies to truly be the glocal agents of change, convictions must be organically born within, and from the top, of organizations.

 Future leaders must have passion, fight for what is right, think big and encourage other leaders to do the same. The next generation of leaders is more diverse and more connected than ever before—holding companies to new standards of equity—and their voice, input and leadership will lead us to worldwide balance.

The journey starts glocally.

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The Art of the Pivot

ploy them in other areas that hold greater promise. The pivot allows one to rescue and make use of every single life lesson. Rather than to shrink back pivoting allows us to move forward and embrace what is still possible.

Considering the current state of our society and the harsh realities that face women at every turn in business and industry we must be nimble and wedded to nothing. Thus, allowing flexibility and adaptation we are armed and ready to embrace whatever challenge life throws our way.  Heretofore,   women have had only two options:  lean in or opt-out of various leadership roles.  Today, a growing number of us are refusing those limitations.  We can now be seen hard at work reshaping and remolding the rules of the game while at the same time crafting pathways for those who are bringing up the rear.  Redefining success and its meaning involves being able to align ourselves with new priorities while moving away from limiting beliefs and past failures. 

The work is to redefine the various metrics of success in business while at the same time increasing the power and place of women in corporate America.  In fact, the two ideas are mutually reinforcing. When we reframe the definition of success in a way that better includes and celebrates women executives in leadership roles in business and industry, we curate an ecosystem that is more likely to inspire and nurture women changemakers. This increased presence, in turn, inherently leads our metrics closer to a positive frame about the unique ways in which women lead and create impact globally.     

Regardless of the context as women, we are still in the position of having to fight for what we deserve while maintaining our executive presence.   We must gracefully accept the obligation as female business leaders to assist and lift up our female leaders of tomorrow. 

The glaring gender biases such as wage gender disparity, representation inequity, and under-representation of senior-level women in the boardroom will not be enough to deter our resolve to pivot in new directions.  Through our collective power, we must set out and build a platform capable of reaching and shattering the glass ceiling that dares to hold us back. We have the power.

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Dangerous Times Call For Dangerous Women

r, but I do mean using and sharing your power to empower others — speaking up and showing up for those without voice or representation. I don’t mean being reckless, but times of danger require taking more risks—and becoming an active, engaged and informed participant in the shaping of a better world than the one we have today. You can’t be dangerous from the sidelines.

In my work with global women leaders, I have witnessed the positive change that women activate when they acknowledge their personal and collective power — speaking out, speaking up and showing up for one another.

Their stories of courage and resilience — women literally on the frontlines of conflicts working together for peace, rising up for rights and protections, and innovating solutions for their families and communities — demonstrate the power of women to problem solve. This is especially true when women are connected to each other for shared learning and experiences. What’s possible when women leaders from around the world come together, listen and learn from each other, make connections and commit to actionable solutions?

One such new collective, Supermajority, started by dangerous women Alicia Garza, Ai Jen Poo and Cecile Richards, recently announced its Majority Rules, the values women want to see reflected in our homes, work and society. I’m focusing on these new “rules” for engaging women to become dangerous and to approach their supermajority power differently.

They are: Our lives are safe. Our bodies are respected. Our work is valued. Our families are supported. Our government represents us.

These rules are grounded by the Super Rule, which demands the lives and experiences of women – particularly women of color – be front and center in addressing all of our nation’s challenges.

As former president of Ireland Mary Robinson observed at the Connected Women Leaders Forum that I co-convened earlier this year, “We have many women leaders. We have many networks.” But the potential for what we can achieve if we all work together is “something we haven’t seen yet.” I truly believe this is how we’ll change the world, one dangerous woman at a time.

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From the Ground Up

e finally opened her own school. Pascale Setbon is the founder of the, Language & Laughter Studio”, where young children learn a bilingual education.

Before starting her own business, Pascale Setbon taught at various schools. However, she wanted the freedom to teach in her own unique way using her desired techniques and structure. She wanted to veer away from traditional teaching methods in order to implement her own progressive methodology. Her students are able to learn through discussion and expression of ideas, which truly separates her school from the standard way of learning. Through her method of learning, Pascale is able to mold both American and French students into bilingual, expressive individuals.

Prior to the, “Language & Laughter Studio”, Setbon worked in a few environments that included many men that allowed her to recognize the true power of women within the male-dominated work world. Setbon states that women “are often abused in many fields, but they also have a lot of power if they know how to use it.” Setbon understood her use of this power as part of a “game,” and she did not want to play. She instead wanted to step away from the male-female tensions in the workplace and begin her own businesses that allowed her to operate according to her individual standards. Fortunately for Setbon, her gender did not hinder her from building the, Language & Laughter Studio,” although she understands that oftentimes there is a greater challenge for women to begin their own businesses. She finds that in the world of education, which is generally more female-dominated, that she does not find herself struggling based on her gender.

Setbon’s French background is a vital element of her business journey, as she comes from a place in which women are provided with a greater opportunity to have children and also work. The government provides funding to women with children, while the work world is very understanding of familial obligations. Unlike America, France really helps women who have both jobs and children. In addition, in France gender inequality is not nearly as prominent, which is very important to Setbon’s business ethic. Back in Europe she did not have to experience gender-based ridicule, and this allowed her to enter the work world without holding the predisposed notion that men dominate the business world. Much of her journey can be attributed to her French culture, as she was given a sense of confidence that American women struggle to obtain.

With her French perspective, Setbon also offers a unique understanding of how to address gender inequality in the workforce. Today women are fighting for their rights, both in the workforce and in general, at a very fast and urgent pace. Just as the women in France are true fighters, American women are now ready to push their way into a work world with equal opportunity and gender blindness. Setbon believes that in order to end gender inequality, we all must become feminists. To not identify as a feminist, Setbon claims, is to be sexist and therefore both men and women need to address feminism as a way to equalize the work world. Setbon’s teaching methods can be applied to the issue of gender inequality, as she provides a space in which children have the opportunity to be who they want to be without the constraints or ideals of society. Her hope is that our world will become a place that, “is not about individuality, but about sharing resources being more compassionate.” If we all had this opportunity, or if our society implemented this way of being, individuals would be judged based on their character rather than their gender.

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Ingrid Vanderveldt plans to empower women and back them with cash

s in a box” platform with back-office software. The new business also includes $100 million in available credit — through several lenders including Dell Financial Services — to be dispersed during the next 12 months.

Best known for her motivational speeches and support of entrepreneurs, Vanderveldt said Empowering a Billion Women goes further by providing budding executives with practical tools.

The Austin-based venture includes a foundation focusing on women-related policies and women in the developing nations. The business side of the startup provides mentors and business plans in addition to software products designed to provide entrepreneurs with tools Vanderveldt has already tried herself.

The company, which employs four workers, is providing three subscription levels. The first is free and enables members to get discounts combined with access to videos and webinars. The company also offers a $19-per-month subscription that includes access to the platform, training programs and a private Facebook group.

The premium membership, which requires a $299 setup cost and $49 in monthly fees, features the platform coupled with training in addition to a mentor who provides 30-minute monthly coaching sessions and develops a business plan with the entrepreneur.

Vanderveldt began working on the Empowering a Billion Women model while at Round Rock-based Dell. She announced the mentorship program at the South By Southwest festival in March. At that time, she said the goal was putting a mobile device in the hands of every woman globally.

The singular issue that keeps women from leadership is lack of confidence, she said. And the mentorship segment of Empowering a Billion Women is a crucial part of the equation.

“People build confidence when they can take action,” Vanderveldt said. “And people can take action when they find a mentor.”


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Celebrity Artist Gilda Garza and Woman Foundation Join Forces to Empower One Million Women By 2030

ric moment in the United States, Gilda Garza and the World Woman Foundation donated the amount of $80,000 and have an ambitious plan to accelerate women’s leadership in a bold new way that is about dignity, choice, and equality.

Gilda describes Kamala Harris’s portrait of the queen in her own words such as “ You came here to give women hope, to teach us that dreams come true if you’re willing to fight for them and pour your heart into it. That there are no limits in life. Because of you, we all know female superheroes do exist. You have earned your own crown and we are all proud of you. The Queen I painted bears the colors of her flag, as she looks upon the stars that represent her dreams. Her hair pridefully represents the LGBTQ community, and decorated with the color of her roots ( La India and Jamaica ) In her heart lives her mother, who created the foundation making her into the strong woman she is today. Thank you Kamala for fighting so hard, your accomplishments will be written in the pages of history. Although I am not the only artist painting you, you will be my forever big inspiration.”

We are so excited about our partnership with Gilda Garza to drive awareness of women’s and girls’ critical issues globally. The World Woman Foundation would like to thank Gilda for her extraordinary contribution to the foundation’s work to provide educational access through her art piece Queen Kamala Harris. Art does have the power to bring empowerment, transformation, and advance gender equality. Gilda’s commitment to women and girls is the heart of all the world she does globally. We are excited to work on this as a global partner and deliver real change in the most challenging times.” Says Rupa Dash, CEO, World Woman Foundation

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Bayou Bennett on Dual Role as Wife and Partner in Production Company Dolce Films

to have so much in common with someone on a first meeting,” recalls Bennett. The couple quickly discovered that the dynamism between the two of them could be extended into a fruitful career. According to Bennett, “when you can combine creative work passions and a romantic relationship, there is nothing better.”

The beginning of their creative collaboration took place during a snowstorm in Chicago when a brainstorming session birthed an idea: a short-film titled “Text Me.” The film was an instant hit, as it resulted in 3 best-comedy awards, 15 film festival entries and a 3-day screening in Times Square. The star of the film, Matt Bennett, would move on to roles in films and television, such as “Bridesmaids” and “Big Bang Theory.”

The couple continued their professional journey together and produced a second project with Lea Michele, before her breakout role in the television series Glee. After being branded by the industry as “star forecasters,” Lir and Bennett made the decision to relocate to Los Angeles in order to move ahead with Dolce FIlms. “People began to call us the ‘Dream Team’ because we were creating stars with films and documentaries, selling out products with our commercials, and winning many more awards,” said Bennett.

Bennett credits the early success of their projects to their relationship as a couple. “It was again that magical quality of our chemistry,” she said, that was so beneficial to their business. This enchanted element followed the duo through many prosperous projects to come.

Being a creative person by nature, Bennett was always drawn to the arts and film especially held a special place for her. “I realized the best way art could reach the most people and create the biggest change was through my filmmaking,” she said. Not only has Bennett left a mark on the film industry, but she has also created landmark changes in the field of education. In fact, Bennett was the first woman to teach in the media studies department at Parsons New School.

As natural pioneers, Bennett and her husband have a profound passion for creativity that is coupled with a desire to create impactful work. They strive to improve conditions through the art of filmmaking, as their projects have the power to bring awareness to important areas. “That’s what we feel we need in this world: positive, amazing films,” claims Bennett.

Although the couple is jam-packed with projects in the pipeline, they have still been able to artfully master a balance between work and romance. In order to maintain this balance they allot themselves date nights in which they are to not speak of business, but rather to enjoy each other’s company. As a result, this healthy separation serves as a conduit for their creativity.

The future is looking bright for this powerhouse duo. Various projects in development include feature films titled Skateboarding with Saddam, Bazooka UniverseHip Hop to Heaven, and two TV series titled Extraordinary, and Match Breakers. Finally, the couple also has a new music video titled “I Want You Bad.”

The couple will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations of collaborators and artists to wholeheartedly pursue their passions. The undeniable connection they share shines brightly through their projects, which is why their work is undeniably both personal and relatable.

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