Even though it’s the 21st century and women have been part of the labor force for a very long time now, we’re still experiencing underrepresentation in various fields. There are still more men in government offices, holding very high positions. More of them are holding executive positions in corporations, especially Fortune 500 companies. And there are still some people who believe that jobs in the military and law enforcement are better suited for men.
However, in social entrepreneurship, women are thriving. They are the driving force behind this whole field in the social sector. You might have plans for starting a business that sells plastic bracelets. As a social entrepreneur, you can use your business to empower fellow women by using part of your revenue for their education and welfare.
Here are five women who can inspire you to achieve professional success and greatly impact your advocacies through your social enterprise.
1. Lauren Singer, Package Free
Lauren Singer is an environmental activist who’s been living a zero-waste lifestyle since 2012. Most people know her for her blog, Trash is for Tossers. It’s where she shared with her audience tips and alternative solutions to living a zero-waste lifestyle. While it started as a personal blog that aimed to inspire and educate people about sustainability, her work grew from there.
She launched Package Free in 2017. It’s a shop where the public could buy zero-waste lifestyle starter kits. It’s where we can buy toothpaste and shampoo without plastic containers. Through her business, she cultivates a generation of environmental advocates who aim to create a brighter future by saving the world from climate change.
2. Audrey Cheng, Moringa School
At 20 years old, most people are in the middle of college. They struggle to stay up as they finish their papers. Their biggest worries are the grades they got for their finals. But, at 20 years old, Audrey Cheng opened up a school. And it’s not just any school that aims to tutor kids so they could catch up on their schooling. No, she co-founded a school to teach computer coding in Nairobi, Kenya.
Moringa School opened in 2014. It was just one classroom and only 11 students. But now, Cheng’s school developed and taught over three thousand students. They led to an 85 percent employment rate. Through this school, Cheng aims to close Africa’s skills gap by providing its people education on information technology and computer science.
3. Elena Favilli, Rebel Girls
Rebel Girls started with just one book. Elena Favilli called it Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. It contained bedtime stories about 100 extraordinary women. She aimed to inspire girls around the ages of five to 10. And she wanted to show them the amazing things that women before them have accomplished.
But now, Rebel Girls grew as a company. Favilli began creating podcasts. She began selling art and clothing. Her popularity and reach expanded. But her mission stayed the same: “to inspire and instill confidence in 50 million girls over the next five years.”
4. Shiza Shahid, Malala Fund
We’ve all heard about Malala Yousafzai. She’s achieved so much for women’s education and became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate at 17. But have you heard about Shiza Shahid?
Shahid is also a young woman at the forefront of social entrepreneurship by becoming the co-founder and CEO of the Malala Fund. She manages the business side of things while making sure that they continue to positively impact the education of young girls all over the world.
5. Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli Foods
With all of the food options that we have today, it’s not surprising that we tend to forget about our nutrition value. But Lisa Curtis aims to prioritize our nutrition through Kuli Kuli Foods. It’s a food company aiming to bring more nutritious food to people by selling moringa food products.
She was inspired by her time as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Through this experience, she found how much people struggle with nutrition because of the lack of accessible and affordable healthy food.
A study found that the gender gap in social entrepreneurship is much narrower than in other fields. What’s even great is that another study found that women working in social enterprises experience a sense of empowerment. Seventy-five percent of survey responders said that they felt an increase in feelings of self-worth. Sixty-four percent of them said that they felt an increase in confidence. And then, 56 percent of them said that their work made them feel that they could make their own choices.
With this, it’s really not surprising that women are thriving as social entrepreneurs. Hopefully, you might be, too, in the future.