Stories and podcasts WBW Stories Empowering Women And Girls Is Smart Economics It is the dawn of a new era, a new age in which women play a pivotal and crucial role in society. Young women are becoming increasingly comfortable with taking center stage and asserting their ability to sway the economy. Such progressivism is evidence of the essential nature of educating and empowering women: not only does it alleviate poverty, but it also brings diversity and strength to private, public and charitable sectors globally. Promoting women in industries is crucial for healthy and sustainable economies. This can be achieved through establishing financial institutions to provide capital or start-up plans to women seeking to start their own businesses, in conjunction with educating women on global financial situations whilst providing equal yet competitive opportunities for them to enter the business world. The intense handwork ethic of ladies women can't be understated; everywhere throughout the world, real professional strides are being made by women with incredible business savvy, determination, focus and resilience. This is markedly evident in Africa, where many women have succeeded in creating names for themselves. As a result of this, there are increasing incidences of self-made women being able to provide education and opportunity to young people seeking to replicate their role models’ commercial success. Tsitsi Masiyiwa, a philanthropist from Zimbabwe, is in the process of educating over 40,000 young people around the world. Mrs. Masiyiwa, a deeply religious woman, vowed to God that that she would help as many as possible poor young people around Africa if she became rich from her telecommunication business, which was founded in 1998, succeeded. Today, Mrs. Masiyiwa’s Higherlife Foundation, established alongside her husband, Strive Masiyiwa, has been supporting orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa through education and material support in Zimbabwe, Burundi, and Lesotho through through the endowment. Training support has been given through the Capernaum Scholarship to orphans and less-privileged kids, and the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship is for exceptionally talented children. These scholarships are offered in addition to the more accessible initiatives run by Ruzivo Digital Learning, a platform that conveys essential and auxiliary school content that is, in turn, adjusted to national educational curricula. As is evident from Mrs. Masiyiwa’s example, women are increasingly becoming the dominant force in small business ownership, and succeeding in industries that were once taboo for women. In recent years, the hopes and dreams of millions of women seeking economic empowerment are becoming realized. Real consideration is being given to closing the global wage gap, which differs from country to country, and women are attaining – and maintaining - higher levels of success in conventional business, which allows them to become such as CEOs, doctors M.D, CFOs and even Presidents. Some women whom have benefited from such success have similarly “paid it forward” in other industries and facilitating the elevation of other women seeking to do the same. Joyce Banda from Malawi is a prime example of this, having had a long and successful business and political career as Vice-President of Malawi (2009-2012), and the nation’s President (2012-2014). Prior to her entry into politics, she Mrs. Banda was the Founder and CEO of the Joyce Banda Foundation, a non-governmental organization which sought to improve educational opportunities to children and orphans and micro-credit poor women with the necessary capital to commence their own businesses. Women are using the powerful tools of education and business to challenge stereotypes, and combat professional disregard in mainstream industries that have seen traditionally them side-lined. There is a prevailing (but hopefully, dying!) presumption that the skills of women are limited to the home, which is one contributing factor to the dramatic absence of women in the academic fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). However, as women are now redressing these stereotypes fallacies by aggressively pursuing opportunities and education for themselves, a longstanding reality is validated: That gender is not an inherent nor important reflection of one’s professional capabilities. We cannot disregard the fact that women-owned businesses are doing exceptionally well on a global scale. According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, women in advanced market economies now own more than 25% of all businesses, and women-owned businesses in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America are growing at a rapid pace. This is not limited to executive spaces, but also with regard to idea development, invention, technology, raw materials, supply, and business services. The World Bank has stated there is a global need to broaden women’s access to economic opportunity, which thereby reduces male-female disparity in earnings and economic productivity. A combination of policies is called for to redress gender-based economic disadvantages, with solutions including subsidized child care to free up women’s time so they can work outside the home, sharing property ownership titles between wives and husbands, and eliminating institutional biases against women, by introducing quotas that enhance opportunities for women. If women are armed with the necessary tools of education and business acumen, poverty and social oppression could very well cease with time. Change is afoot in the global economy, and it is bearing a woman's face. About the Author.