All over the world, women of various identities have joined forces to create and sustain organizations that serve as safe, empowering spaces for marginalized women. From the Women's Empowerment International (WE) funding finance programs that help women foster their economic skills to DETOUR mentoring young girls of color, these organizations and several others have challenged the misogyny embedded within various educational, financial, and social sectors, and have provided women with the outlets to independently shape their lives. Highlighting the work being done by WE, DETOUR, the Women's Right Development Center in Thailand, and the Girls Guide Association of Cambodia, to sustain and participate in these organizations is important for multiple reasons. This not only honors the courage and willingness of women to facilitate empowerment among themselves but also informs and inspires individuals, regardless of their identities, of how they can utilize this passion and drive in their respective lives.
Women’s Empowerment International (WE)
Women's Empowerment International was founded by a group of ambitious women in San Diego in 2003 with the mission of helping women in poverty around the world obtain the financial and social resources to achieve economic stability. Officially launched in 2005 as a non-profit organization, WE has provided approximately 2.1 million funds to programs in global regions, such as Puerto Rico and Uganda, that provide women with repayable loans to establish self-supporting businesses. The revenue and conversely the self-efficacy that women earn from their businesses serve to empower women at the interpersonal and community level.
Depositing Empowerment Through Outreach & Urban Redevelopment (DETOUR)
DETOUR began as an informal family session between Tinesia Conwright and her younger sisters to discuss the challenges associated with being female. Then in 2010, Conwright extended DETOUR beyond her home into the public sector by hosting discussions centered around leadership, equity, and inclusion in San Diego. Today, DETOUR remains a vital pillar in the community for mentoring young women of color and building their self-confidence so that they may gain the professional and personal skills to gain opportunities in the educational and employment sectors.
Women's Right Development Centre in Thailand
Women's Right Development Centre (WORD) was established in Bangkok, Thailand in 1998 with the vision of helping women gain more prominent roles in the development and production of new community resolutions. Through human rights workshops, leadership, and the funding of female organizations, WORD managed to train female community members in recognition and localization of their legal rights across several countries. Today, WORD works to strengthen resources available to women for human tracking in Lao, Cambodia, and Thailand by training women on how to communicate across organizations and establish safe spaces for women.
Girls Guides Association of Cambodia
The GirlS Guides Association of Cambodia was established in 1996 to help young girls learn the skills and knowledge to be more informed and responsible global citizens capable of igniting social change. The association has advocated for the possession of human rights, democracy, and equitable health by exposing young girls to the systemic issues surrounding domestic violence, gender disparities, and reproductive health. Through these actions, the Girls Guides Association of Cambodia has helped young girls understand their legal rights and participate in non-traditional female sectors.
While these organizations may differ in mission statements, geography, etc., their impact remains the same: empowering women to claim their rights and pursue their goals in the educational, financial, and social sectors. So, it is through both the formation and sustainment of these organizations, as well as many others, that we may be inspired to courageously use our passion and drive to embrace our identities and shape our lives in meaningful directions.
Detour Empowers, 2016, http://detourempowers.org/about/. Accessed 26 April 2022.
Murray, Anne Firth. From Outrage to Courage: The Unjust and Unhealthy Situation of Women in Poorer Countries and What They Are Doing about It. Common Courage Press, 2013.
Women's Empowerment International, https://womenempowerment.org/about-us/. Accessed 26 April 2022.