My heart and mind were touched and broadened once again last week. I was invited to a meeting in which the founder of a non-profit organization called “World Pulse” spoke to a group of Intel women. Jensine Larsen is the Founder and CEO of the group. I originally was going to write about another topic today but after this meeting I was inspired to discuss something that felt more meaningful. With all the changes in the world, and recent events that caused many of us to think about our path and how we best use our time, it seems more relevant to focus on our impact. What are you doing to change the world? How many of you are active volunteers or mentors? We all admire those that “do” but how much do WE really contribute to driving change and helping others?
World Pulseis “a global media and communication network devoted to bringing women a global voice.” They broadcast and unite women’s voices from around the world into a powerful force for change. Three amazing women spoke to us about their experience and drive for education, desire for a better life for their families and hope to make a difference. As you listen to their stories, it’s impossible not to relate and to remain immobile to their plight and needs.
On an intellectual level, it’s very interesting how people view the needs of women. Some people shy away from focusing their efforts on just women, thinking that they shouldn’t limit by sex. Yet targeted efforts are one of the most impactful and valuable things you can do. The UN and other organizations have come out with specific data and research to prove that helping women and improves the finances and health of a community. Another organization, The Girl Effect , also leads in this space. Here are some great facts:
- when women or girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30-40% for a man.
- research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health, and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
- an extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20%. An extra year of secondary school means 15 to 25%.
This week a number of Intel representatives have been attending the Girls 20 Summit in Paris. At the Summit 20, girls from the G20 countries have been learning about critical issues facing girls and women. The output should be a communiqué about issues they want to be addressed by the G20 and ultimately present this request to President Sarkozy’s advisor on G8/G20 matters today (Friday 10/21). These young social advocates will then return to their own countries and continue to work towards making a difference in girls and women’s lives. (By the way, President Sarkozy and his lovely wife Carla Bruni just had a daughter!).
If this is so important, why do we not all endorse efforts to support this goal? Women’s issues, and related non-profits, tend to receive less corporate attention, which translates into less funding and impact. If we, as employees and individuals, rose to support these efforts, I’m sure we’d see a reciprocal relationship on the corporate giving end. I’m pleased to say Intel is a company with a heart. We not only support efforts around education for students and teachers, but we are reaching out specifically to women and girls encouraging careers in science and math, as well as supporting other efforts intended to provide development and life changing opportunities.