I’ve been hearing dire talk about the lack of female role models in the world today, and it gave me pause. See, I was somehow under the impression that female role models have been at an all-time high as of late. Comediennes like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hitting the mainstream big time with their successful television shows (not to mention Tina Fey’s book, Bossy Pants, which includes some actual advice for women making it in male-dominated industries). And then there was the summer blockbuster, Bridesmaids, co-written, co-produced and co-starring Kristen Wiig as well as a number of amazing female role models.
I understand that even though some women have begun making headway in male-dominated industries, the number 1 job for females in the U.S. is still as secretaries. MSNBC posted an article about the uphill effort that remains to diversify offices and companies.
But then there are the entrepreneurs. Besides the male-driven 4square, social innovation sectors have some key female players. Such as, personal favorite of mine, Gianna Driver, founder of Gianna Fair Trade. Gianna Fair Trade is an online shopping source, except that the providers of the product are women in slums around the world who create goods. A direct portion of the price you pay on the website, goes to these women and helps them support themselves and their families. She grew a business, and business model based on compassion and her own personal struggles with her Phillipine-born mother who came to this country as a mail-order bride.
Today’s latest TED talk featuring Nadia Al-Sakkaf, editor of the Yemen Times is another eye-opener; showing how a woman is trying to shape the emerging revolutionary culture in a country which has historically debased women.
My long overdue point being: there are female role models out there, but you can’t look at the Lindsay Lohans and Britney Spears to provide them for you. Look instead at the social business trend and the female-friendly ability to empathize, look at the shifting faces of comedy and entertainment, look at all the women still struggling to change their places in societies less enlightened than our own, and finally, look to yourself to change something that needs changing.