Two years ago, I went to do field work in the Philippines. I traveled with a group of non-profit workers who were all native Filipino residents, and as a Tagalog-speaking Filipina, I was able to communicate with and befriend several of the field workers. I learned the powerful stories of their lives, and I was excited to get to know a young woman of my age who had a personality rather similar to mine.
While conducting a needs assessment survey among the poorest of the poor in Naga City, Philippines, I asked her to assist me in surveying. I found her to be an excellent surveyor with a natural aptitude for ethnography. I asked her if she'd ever had an interest in studying sociology, to which she responded that she'd never heard of it and that the array of educational topics and resources she'd been exposed to had been limited, but that she would have loved to look into sociology had she been given the chance.
Having had the opportunity to study sociology myself, I found myself suddenly hit in the face by the reality of how many young women all over the world are given limited options in what they are able to study, in the fields that they are able to access. I asked myself, what can we do to help each other?
I recently attended a 50 ACTION 50 forum. 50 ACTION 50 is an organization dedicated to using action design methods to come up with solutions for activating women's full economic potential. During the forum's workshop, participants used design thinking to collaboratively prototype solutions for the pipeline barrier that often prevents young girls from gaining exposure or access to a variety of occupations and fields of study.
The men and women at the forum came up with a few noteworthy ideas that we can all incorporate into our daily lives. Some of these ideas are included below. These are solutions that are so simple, yet so impactful at both the local and global levels.
Often women may not have access to the formal academic resources that they might need to enter into a field. Sometimes, it's simply a matter of exposure; the more young girls hear about an occupation, the more normalized it becomes as a possible career path for them. When we neglect to inform young girls about fields in STEM or fail to proliferate entrepreneurship or academic training resources to other women, we do not allow women to open doors they might not otherwise have the opportunity to access.
Make a difference by offering a list of resources on your social media accounts so that young girls and women the world over can learn about them. They can be online coding schools, social science videos on YouTube, even academic games that are available on the web. Post about these resources. Talk about them. Let them be known to young girls and women.
Don't know of any online resources you can talk about? Become a resource for other women. Start a blog discussing your area of expertise. Create a website with interactive tools to help other women understand how to advance their careers or enter a field. Make your own YouTube lessons. Be creative, and you may find that your impact carries over through generations and across borders.
Read about our social impact partners here. By donating to and supporting Develop Africa, She's the First, Beads for Education, and UNICEF, you help these humanitarian organizations provide educational resources to young girls in the developing world. Their education is so critical to opening the world to them and activating their full economic potential.
We at Sweet Yara hope that this blog post, in turn, has served as a resource for you to learn more about simple, but powerful, ways that you can help support other girls women all over the world. This is our mission. We wholly believe that our community should give other women a hand up and make them feel loved and worthy as they chase their dreams.
Comments will be approved before showing up.