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Student blog: Women making a difference in education and business

7 January 2014

Claire GapareClaire Gapare is a second year Pestalozzi student from Zimbabwe. She recently received a Hastings Youth Award for her work with young women and girls in her home country. In this article, Claire makes a compelling case for a brighter future with women taking the lead in private, public and charitable sectors around the world.

It is the dawn of a new era, a new age where women play a pivotal and crucial role in society. Young women are taking centre stage and swaying the economy in a progressive manner, and it’s evident that educating and empowering women is essential: it not only alleviates poverty, but brings diversity and strength to private, public and charitable sectors globally. Young women are proactive, innovative and we can influence global society with our great ideas. We bring commitment and integrity to the business world and play a lead role in philanthropy and educating younger generations.

The powerful hand of women cannot be denied. All over the world, women are making great strides in the business world. As if that were not enough, some of them go on to educate young people. We have Tsitsi Masiyiwa, a philanthropist from Zimbabwe – she is educating over 40000 young people around the world. Oprah Winfrey opened the Oprah Winfrey Academy for girls in South Africa. These women understand that the best way to effect change in the long term is to give children opportunity and nurture them to understand their own power and possibility – and they use education as an instrument to attain this. Now that is what I call women in action!

We cannot turn a deaf ear to the fact that women-owned businesses are doing far beyond well. According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, women in advanced market economies now own more than 25% of all businesses. Women-owned businesses in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America are also growing rapidly. As owners of small and medium-sized enterprises, women can supply multinational companies with ideas, inventions, technology, raw materials, supplies, components and business services. Some analysts have observed that change is afoot in the global economy and it is bearing a woman's face. Women play a fundamental role in the world of business.

Women are using the powerful tools of education and business to challenge stereotypes. Previously, women have been side-lined in mainstream industries, and have been limited to the home industries. Even in the study fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), women have featured less than men. However, women are now redressing these stereotypes by being prosperous and providing leading examples. With their self-confidence they are blazing new trails and charting new frontiers in different fields of human endeavours. They are rising above gender stereotypes and showing that yes, they can do it and that they are an inherent and important part of the society.

I hope and believe that with women using these strong tools of education and business, poverty and social oppression will cease. With a good education, incredible business savvy, determination and resilience, many women have succeeded in making a real difference in the world. I am greatly inspired by their passion and energy and I surely have a lot to learn to from the great trails they have made.

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