It’s definitely time for women to rise! Everywhere around the world, there are organizations that give women the tools to stand up and find their voices, and express themselves loudly and clearly. From fitness and dieting goals, to education and entreprenuership, women are leading the way for everyone else to follow.
Take HealthyWomen (HW) for example. A nonprofit organization, it’s the nation’s leading independent health information source for women. Their mission is to educate, inform and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families. HealthyWomen has a very strong network of women’s centers, clinics, health care systems and other health-delivery partners across the country. In addition to the helpful content on their website, HealthyWomen provides information through their publications, written in English and Spanish. The updates and other collateral offer insights, tips and guidance on topics ranging from cervical cancer, to skin health to flu.
Women owned businesses are exploding, and it’s a testament to their perseverence and ability to hone in on women’s needs and produce goods and services that are lacking in the market. Tory Burch, for example is a global lifestyle brand that started in 2004, out of a small boutique in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. Tory Burch, CEO and designer, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in art history then moved to New York to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She worked in public relations and marketing for some of the most influential American designers, including Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez before launching her company under her own personal brand. The brand has grown into a global business with more than 100 freestanding stores, toryburch.com and a presence in over 1,000 department and specialty stores.
Spanx, another successful company was started by woman entrepreneur, Sara Blakely. Following her graduation from Florida State University, she joined a local stationery company to sell fax machines door-to-door. In the heat and humidity of Florida, she tried unsuccessfully to find pantyhose that didn’t have seamed toes, and that didn’t roll up the leg after she cut them. Investing her life-savings of $5,000, she moved to Atlanta at the age of 27, where she researched and developed a hosiery concept predominantly on her own. The creation of the initial product prototype was completed over the course of a year and involved Blakey, her mother and her friends personally testing the garments. In 2000, the first year of the company’s existence, Blakely recruited friends to fill orders out of her Atlanta apartment, and generated $8 million in retail sales. Sales grew from about $15 million in 2002, to more than $400 million in 2014.
There are many resources available to learn about empowerment for women. A couple of years ago, New York was the kick off city for the New York City Girl’s Project, a campaign that aims to reach girls aged between 7 to 12 years old. New York became the nation’s first city to tackle the issue of girl’s self-esteem and body image, and featured advertisements appearing on buses, subways and phone kiosks portraying a diverse group of girls performing activities such as reading, playing sports and art.
JP Morgan launched Women on the Move in 2013. The program began as a series for the firm’s female employees in New York and offered an opportunity to collectively explore the challenges women face in the workplace and share ideas on how to best support career development. Senior women took the program on the road, hosting events in locations where the company employs hundreds, and often thousands, of women. Since it began, the program has been hosted in 23 cities and senior women from across the company have met with more than 6,000 employees.
Companies such as Levo works in a similiar way, and arms women with the tools to develop their talent, build connections with peers, mentors, and jobs, and stay inspired. Lean In is another organization that supports women through community, education and through small groups called Circles.
Participants share Lean In Stories—short narratives of moments in life “when we choose to “lean in” or “lean back,” intended to inspire, teach and connect us.” They also offer a growing library of free online lectures on topics including leadership and communication. Produced in partnership with the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies at Stanford University and other well-known experts, these lectures offer women practical skills they can apply in their daily lives.
It’s a great time for women to start laying the foundation to self reliance and empowerment. There has been no better time than the present for women to find their voice and actively pursue fulfilment in their careers and private lives.