Women remain perhaps the world’s greatest untapped resource. Among the many brilliant ideas on Changemakers for empowering them and helping them reach their potential, here are some proven success stories that use vastly different approaches. These initiatives were endorsed by expert competition judges and voted on by our global community of social change. We’ve got two more women-focused competitions coming up soon. Please be a part of supporting the innovators who enter them.
Carpets for Communities
Carpet for Communities, based in Cambodia, operates on the understanding that strengthening women is a solution to myriad problems, including human trafficking. By identifying families at risk of being forced to send their children to work or sell their children into slavery, and by intervening quickly, they solve many problems at once.
Founded by David Bacon, the organization trains the mothers to earn income by making rugs in their own homes, taking the economic pressure off the children and allowing them to attend school instead of working. Participation in the families’ economic life raises women’s self-esteem and raises the families’ standard of living.
This organization was a winner in the Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way competition.
Men Can Stop Rape
A winner in the No Private Matter! Ending Abuse in Intimate & Family Relations competition, Men Can Stop Rape pioneered a new way of addressing sexual violence against women: engage those most likely to be the perpetrators by making them allies in the effort to reduce the incidence of rape in the United States.
Through school-based programs, public outreach, and social marketing, the organization emphasizes the role young men can play in reducing violence against women by inspiring them to create positive definitions of masculinity, strength, and manhood.
Let us play!
A lack of affordable sanitary pads in Kenya has kept many girls off the playing fields and out of sports entirely. Let Us Play! Worked with a start-up local business to provide cheap pads, made of locally-grown papyrus grass, to school girls.
This simple initiative, a winner in the Gamechangers competition sponsored by Nike, takes the fear of embarrassment out of playing sports. It also improves adolescent girls’ hygiene generally, boost school attendance, and raises self-confidence and awareness about their own bodies and reproductive health.
Many other competitions have honored winners that address women’s empowerment. Check out some of these too:
Building the Movement for Women’s Land Rights, winner in the Cultivating Innovation: Solutions For Rural Communities competition.
Instant Birth Control, winner in the Disruptive Innovations In Health And Health Care: Solutions People Want competition.
STOP (Stop Trafficking and Oppression of Children & Women), winner in the How To End Human Trafficking competition.
Three Sisters Trekking, winner in The Geotourism Challenge: Celebrating Places - Changing Lives competition.