Women at the Center of Change

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Women like to help other women. According to a 2011 survey by Georgetown University, women are the strongest believers in the power of supporting causes. I see this statistic in action each day in my local community. It seems as if the women I know are constantly looking for ways to help, whether it’s volunteering, participating in the PTO or helping a neighbor. And thank goodness. If women weren’t doing work to help other women, I’m afraid no one would. According to the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, only 6 percent of national philanthropic dollars are invested specifically in programs that support women and girls.

Many love the idea of championing global causes, but also recognize that there are women in their own communities that need help. With busy schedules and competing priorities, which do you choose? There is a natural inclination to support the local community, but philanthropy blogs have cited that your dollar actually goes farther oversees.

As it turns out, women don’t have to choose one or the other. For example, my company soHza allows you buy a beautiful handmade piece of jewelry attached to a cause here in the U.S., which makes a strong impact on a local community. But that same piece of jewelry is also connected to a powerful women’s story of triumph because an artisan entrepreneur in a developing nation crafted it. This literally puts women at the center of change. And when women are at the center of change, anything is possible.

Take for example, the women of the Maasai tribe in Kenya. In 2001, a terrible draught devastated their pasture lands, killed their cattle, and their livelihood disappeared. They needed to find another way of making money that didn’t conflict with their culture or rely on their environment. So while the men were gone for days, the women began beading. The beautiful jewelry these women created enable them to support their families and send their children to school. By purchasing their creations, you’re not only supporting them, but a percentage of the proceeds goes to a women’s organization here in the U.S.

It’s very possible that the jewelry the Maasai made helped Sarah*. If you can visualize what it means to live in fear for your life and the life of your children, you will relate to Sarah. She quit four jobs to alleviate her husband’s violent jealousy. When she refused to quit her last job, he beat her and she lost the job anyway when she showed up late with a black eye and stitches in her lip. With no money and no one to answer her cry for help, she called Women’s Crisis Center.

So it’s now possible for women to participate in a philanthropic action that connects women across the globe. Plus, the story behind the jewelry is something that you can share with other women. We urge women who are interested in helping other women to think about how their efforts can impact women both here and across the globe.

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