Every year, on March 8th, women come together on a mission to move the needle a little bit closer to gender parity. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is Press for Progress. Taking action is a key component to closing this gap. One of those ways we can take action is by bringing recognition to women that are stepping up and creating change and awareness in their sphere of influence.
This year we decided to take a look inward, and asked two of our Hera Hub locations owners, who have particular interests in the growth of female entrepreneurship outside North America, to share their insight with us.
We asked them what International Women’s Day meant to them individually and how they go about celebrating. They also gave us their insights on the entrepreneurial climate of a region they were particularly interested in. Here’s what they had to say…
With a large interest in entrepreneurship in the Middle East, Shatha Barbour, Owner of Hera Hub Phoenix shared that due to changing laws, female entrepreneurship and female investing is exploding in the region.
Shatha has seen this increase of influence through the hands of women’s entrepreneurship groups from just thousands in Saudi Arabia to groups of over 20,000 women in Jordan.
“Just in the past few months, seismic change has occurred for women in Saudi Arabia from the top down. Yes, this is a long time coming for the country, but this is going to usher an explosion of women changing all aspects of life from economics to community to politics. Saudi Arabia has finally given the women the right to drive, own property, start businesses without any association with male relatives. Women are even being appointed to high positions in government.”
When we asked what International Women’s Day meant to her she said,
“To me, International Women’s Day is a powerful celebration of achievement, empowerment, leadership, change, and love! This day is important to take time to reflect on where we have come, the achievements we have in all spheres of life, but also to look outward and see the IMPACT women have made on the world.”
“Today is a day of global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women. It is a day for celebrating our courage and achievements, learning from one another, focusing on ourselves and cherishing our accomplishments, and just plain having fun! It is a day for women, sisters, daughters, friends and mothers.”
To celebrate the day, she recommends, “organizing multi-generation master groups aimed at celebrating, engaging, inspiring the next generation of women advocates, politicians, social entrepreneurs and change agents and encouraging them to transform institutions and policies that legitimize and perpetuate discrimination against women.”
Pearson had a unique and eye-opening insight when she spoke of her continent of origin, Africa. She told us that “despite improvements in African women’s status, the majority of African women and girls confront a myriad of problems in gaining access to opportunities and resources that can help them obtain an equal platform for economic development.”
She shared with us that contrary to assumptions, Africa is not poor in resources, but what has been lacking in the past was responsible leadership. Their challenge is how to make leaders accountable to the people they represent.
“To meet these challenges, more women are needed in leadership positions at various levels to advance education and to advocate for change of deeply rooted practices and policies that dis-empower them. The potential of young women as change agents offers multiple dividends to society if the investment is made in their education, mentoring and support. The choices this generation of young women make will shape their lives and a whole new generation of boys and girls on the continent.”
Hearing these insights from within our own family brings us so much encouragement that there will come a day when women from all across the world will have equal opportunities and be leading in change-making roles big and small.
How will you #PushForProgress?