The WorldWise Storytelling Project aims to redefine success from a gendered lens, utilizing storytelling as a vehicle to showcase women making change in complex, revolutionary, and structural ways.
Ultimately, we intend to inspire a much-needed paradigm shift around attitudes toward women entrepreneurs and their work.
The Women’s Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship is a global initiative positioned within the global South that aims to elevate the number, power, and knowledge of female entrepreneurs.
Led by Ashoka Arab World’s Regional Director and Vice President of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, Iman Bibars, WISE sets forth an actionable framework through which stakeholders in the social innovation system can better invest in and advance women social innovators.
“When we reframe the definition of success in a way that better includes and celebrates women social entrepreneurs, we curate an ecosystem that is more likely to inspire and nurture women changemakers.”
“As INGON took on more cases of human trafficking, we needed to scale deep and change the mindsets of law enforcement and the public [that victims did not choose this]. To achieve this, we designed trainings and capacity-building workshops that help them analyze the rights that every human being has and that the Indian Constitution protects.”
“[Success is] changing someone’s mind, someone who is angry and totally in despair to being someone who wants to change things and who knows she can change things, especially as a girl. It’s so powerful; it’s something that fills your soul.”
“Beliefs are deeply rooted. It’s character deep, impressively deep, and profound is what lasts. We all want to have access and time to make a lasting difference.”
“When I began working on the economic development of the black population, I understood that it was not enough to work just there – I had to work in the whole environment, the whole ecosystem to make a change, influence public policy, [and] create a narrative in media.”
Within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, most organizations allocate funding and support toward projects that scale out – initiatives that span wide regions and accrue large revenues. Frameworks for measuring the impact of projects that change laws and policies and shift mindsets, patterns of behavior, and social norms – the impact we identify as “scaling up” and “scaling deep” – have not been developed within the sector. This is particularly detrimental to women, as female innovators are consistently found to scale up and deep in addition to scaling out in their work.
The WorldWISE Storytelling Project highlights the fact that women changemakers can do all three – scaling up, out, and deep – changing laws and policies, shifting cultures and values, and replicating across countries and communities to affect more beneficiaries.
Through interviews conducted with over 200 female social entrepreneurs from across the globe, the WorldWISE Storytelling Project will raise awareness about the power of women innovators and the impact they lead. Thus, we are aiming to catalyze a shift in how the ecosystem measures and understands success while expanding definitions of changemaking and recruiting more women and girls to our movement.