Becoming a leader is easier if you know somebody who already did it. That is why being an alumna of a female mentorship program Share your Knowledge - Become a Mentor is for me a rather remarkable experience. This mentorship program brought together aspiring female students from entire Serbia with a great track record and accomplished women in the spheres of entrepreneurship, culture, healthcare, and politics. The program is conducted under the auspices of The European Movement in Serbia, The American Embassy, ERSTE Bank and Vital Voices, the remarkable Global Leadership Network.
Whenever the light is shed on the topic of female empowerment I notice an editor in myself. I start to think of my rhetoric as not offending the male friends; ‘‘You know, Feminism is not a negative concept as some media impinge on us’’; ‘‘You can like men and be for equality among men and women.’’ And when I look deep down at all those arguments that I edit or adapt to please my environment or to avoid conflict I notice that all of them are constructs. The society brings up boys and girls in a different way; the blue and pink are colors restricted to one gender or another and we still blink twice when we see a woman driving the bus or a man doing the manicure for the ladies. I am always pleased when a male friend of mine supports female empowerment, believing that a strong, equal and driven woman is the only type of a partner for a heterosexual man or when a woman is not a she-wolf to another woman.
As if the UN Women could read my mind, the campaign He For She was launched where public figures express their support and praise for women. This campaign credo cannot leave anyone indifferent so visit the website definitely, ‘‘It’s 2014 and women around the world are still being abused, objectified and silenced. Yet, women are half of the world’s potential and every single one has the right to a life free from discrimination. Your voice is powerful—raise it to tell the world why equality for every woman and girl is worth fighting for.’’
For those interested in social entrepreneurship,The Social Business Initiative informs about the framework in the EU and how these initiatives should be conducted in a synergy of the corporate, public and non-profit sector.Our MUNPlanet members shed a light on Entrepreneurship and you may expect more coverage on that.
Let’s get back to this mentorship conference Women in entrepreneurship, initiated by Share your Knowledge - Become a Mentor Alumnae; it really marked my last Saturday in April 2014. The turning point was when the lady from the audience emphasized that a conference moderator would never ask a male entrepreneur, ‘‘How do you balance your private and personal life?’’ There was also a valid argument about parenting which does not necessarily imply the biology, as Kim Cattrall, the most famous in the role of promiscuous Sex and The City Samantha Jones and who did not give birth in her private life, implied in one interview ’’There are many ways to do mothering.’’
mentors shared their stories to the audience of students and young
professionals who could reach the conclusion that entrepreneurship is not an
employment, but a lifestyle choice. ‘‘Entrepreneurship causes tingles in an
individual who thinks of business day and night, while deciding that the
flowery and red patterns sell better than the blue stripes in the new fashion
collection’’, to paraphrase the words of Biljana Jovanović Luna Fashion brand Founder.
Margareta Kecman with her Creative Education Centre enables children with development disabilities to participate in workshops and earn their wages through inclusion programs of major corporations and Serbia or through production of organic fruit rolls. These activities increase their self-esteem and they feel useful to the community and themselves.
Violeta Jovanovic on behalf of NALED andEthno Network and Ivana Stančić on behalf of Good Bag Project emphasized that women in vulnerable groups who create unique craftwork by preserving their tradition and national heritage can be empowered in these two projects to monetize their hand-made goodies, to equip their families with enough food, security and education. They become economically independent and feel to be more useful to their community and society. Their confidence about their talent, skills and producing souvenirs increases although initially they were reluctant about pricing for their products and they sought the support of project initiators for marketing and delivery to the customers. The level of solidarity those vulnerable women express is remarkable, as the panelists underlined, ‘‘If you allow 5 of us to sew for the customers, we will earn 80 euro each; but if you allow 8 of us to sew and earn 50 euro, more of us will be able to live out of our work.’’
And this very example of universal solidarity Muhammad Yunus stated in Banker to the Poor, ‘‘When a destitute mother starts earning an income, her dreams of success invariably center around her children. A woman's second priority is the household. She wants to buy utensils, build a stronger roof, or find a bed for herself and her family. A man has an entirely different set of priorities. When a destitute father earns extra income, he focuses more attention on himself. Thus money entering a household through a woman brings more benefits to the family as a whole.’’