Last night, I spent the evening enjoying the company of incredible entrepreneurial women, at the Women’s Entrepreneur Network launch party. A room full of women stepping out of the conventional career paths, building businesses that align with who they are and support the lives they want to lead.
It was inspiring and felt particularly poignant because today is International Women’s Day. As I looked around the room, I was struck by how lucky we are, to have this opportunity to speak our truths, to carve our own paths and to come together in fellowship and sisterhood. Opportunities we can so easily take for granted, yet denied to many of our global sisters.
The issues facing women can feel overwhelming at times – from sex trafficking, to slave labour, to domestic violence, the gender pay gap, to teenage girls missing almost a quarter of their education due to lack of access to basic sanitary supplies. It’s hard to know what one little person can do. But for the vast majority of you reading this, chances are high that you have one very powerful tool at your disposal.
Last June, I experienced a major shift in the focus of my work, from writer-for-hire, to helping women find and raise their voices through sharing their authentic message. And it all started when I read Barbara Stanny’s book, Sacred Success.
Barbara’s work opened my eyes to the many ways women – myself included – give away our power, not least of which is silencing our voices. For hundreds of years, women who spoke their truths were punished, sometimes with their lives. For many women, that is still their reality today. And whether we are conscious of it or not, it’s a legacy we all carry.
I believe that those of us fortunate enough to have the opportunity to raise our voices, have a concurrent responsibility to do so
My work on finding your voice in business, is part of a bigger vision and mission, to help women speak up in all areas of their lives.*
To set boundaries
To speak our truth
To stand up for what we believe in
To call out injustice when we see it
It’s about speaking up and being heard, exactly as we are. Accepting yourself, understanding and valuing what you have to give, and knowing that you are enough, right here, right now.
It’s letting go of prescribed rules and structures, or someone else’s song. It’s no longer playing the doormat or the victim, but caring for ourselves with as much love as we give to others.
It’s about seizing what matters from a feminine perspective and holding it up to the light. It’s asserting your right to a life of meaning and purpose, whether you’re 20, 40 or 80.
It’s about reclaiming our power, so that we can help others do the same. Little by little, we can raise the expectations and the aspirations of women around the world and ultimately, shift the paradigm.
And it’s doing all these things in honour of ourselves, our daughters, and of our global sisters who cannot speak up.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Be Bold For Change – “Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”
So today, I finally did something I’ve talked about for a long time. I’ve started my Kiva fund, giving a percentage of my monthly earnings to provide micro loans to women all around the globe. Women who are striving to give themselves and their loved ones a better future, and need access to credit to fund supplies, buy animals, pay for essential medical treatment or fund higher education.
The only trouble with Kiva, as the friend who shared it with me explained, is that the borrowers pay you back! And then you have to go and choose someone else to loan the money to. Happily, that’s an inconvenience I’m willing to put up with. Money was meant to flow and circulate, friends.
To all my dear clients, thank you for supporting me in supporting women around the globe to launch their dreams, this International Women’s Day. I look forward to seeing us all grow and prosper in the coming years.
If you’d like to start your own Kiva fund and contribute to their goal of funding $3 million in micro loans this International Women’s Day, click here. It doesn’t take a lot to get started – you can fund portions of a loan in $25 increments.
*Please know, I’m not advocating you speak up at risk of your safety, or that of another. if you are in physical, psychological or emotional danger, please do not put yourself at risk. Find someone to whom you can reach out for help.