The Woman Of The Future
Astrid Aafjes was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.
by Astrid Aafjes, Founder and Executive Director, Women Win
What does the woman of the future look like?
A woman of the future has the full ability to exercise her rights. She is heard when she speaks. She is a leader and a valued member of her community. A woman of the future has economic independence and autonomy.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I would tell myself that anything is possible. When I was an adolescent, some aspirations seemed so far out of reach. If I could go back, I would share how much is possible with courage, hard work, and perseverance. I think this is something that many girls need to hear, and sport can be the perfect place for that conversation to take place.
What has made you successful in your work?
As the founder and Executive Director of Women Win, I believe our collective success stems from the belief that girls are the solution to their own challenges. We employ this value through honoring innovation, transparency, accountability, and cooperation in all that we do. I’ve built a team of intelligent and passionate individuals who are committed to delivering our objectives with these values in mind.
A big part of our work is co-creating guidelines of how to design an effective girls sport program that is able to address various issues such as economic empowerment and gender-based violence. These guides are open-source, and collaboratively authored by and for the grassroots organizations we serve.
We operate with the belief that sustainable social change is possible through strategic alliances and partnerships across sectors. By building relationships with women’s rights entities, (sport for) development organizations and sport institutions, we are able to identify and share holistic strategies for girls' empowerment. We also align ourselves with investors who share these values, which increases the effectiveness and impact of our work.
For example, we have been building partnerships with the Homeless World Cup and Fundo Elas, a women’s fund in Brazil, to see how we can support their work in using sport as a springboard for addressing gender issues. These collaborations make our work more effective and enable us to have a global reach.
Astrid has focused her career on gender and human rights to advance the lives of girls and women.