Empowering women has been held up as an answer to myriad global problems, starting with poverty. According to the Global Poverty Project, women make up half the world’s population and yet represent a staggering 70 percent of the world’s poor. As the report notes, “We live in a world in which women living in poverty face gross inequalities and injustice from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition to vulnerable and low pay employment, the sequence of discrimination that a woman may suffer during her entire life is unacceptable but all too common.”
Gender inequality affects women everywhere, not just in developing countries. Here in the U.S. we have recently been reminded that equal pay for equal work is still a dream deferred, even amongst the highest echelons of Hollywood stars. Nurturing the self confidence of girls and young women, and revolutionizing the opportunities that are available to them to take charge of their own destinies, starts by showing them real-life models of inspiration. And when these girls grow up to be women who have a strong voice and influence in their communities, the world at large benefits from the influence of cooperation, communication, and compassion that is so commonly associated with women at home and in the workplace.
It is these considerations that motivated entrepreneur Wendy Diamond to launch Women’s Entrepreneur Day (WED) last year. After volunteering in Honduras with the Adelante Foundation, which provides microcredit to low-income women, Diamond decided to form an international event that would celebrate and advance the work of female business owners, entrepreneurs and changemakers.The goal is simple: empower the 4 billion women on the planet and bring hope to 250 million girls living in poverty.