BEHIND THE SCENES: HOW IT ALL STARTED
"IF YOU WANt TO CHANGE THE WORLD, HELP THE WOMEN"-NELSON MANDELA
'We are so lucky to be living in a time of enlightenment, a time where we feel empowered to make our voices heard and a time where we can clearly see the strength in community. The brutality inflicted routinely on women and girls in much of the world is slowly gaining recognition as one of the paramount human rights problems of this country.'
The passion behind Sisterhood Shopping stems from the privilege of growing up surrounded by strong women who always demonstrated a willful compassion-this 'get up and get it done but we'll get it done together' mentality. I have been very lucky to have encountered so many of these women in my lifetime and be able to witness the power that a tribe of empowered women hold when we support each other and connect to each other's stories. I do believe that while I was not blinded to the extreme issues of equality women face in the world, I was naive in thinking that it was a secluded issue that was being addressed by those with legal power.
Sisterhood Shopping, started as a small 'pay it forward' idea I had while sitting at a women's empowerment conference, The Rising. While attending the conference, I met several organizations that were working with women around the world to overcome all types of adversity. The women behind these organizations were fighting hard for basic equalities such as education, safety, clean and healthy resources and the opportunity to gain occupational skill sets that would allow them to pave new roads for their families. I learned some important lessons that day regarding the economic implications of fighting for women's rights, and the reach that a group of empowered women can have on nations as a whole.
I heard stories of women overcoming adversity, taking carts, beads or fabric swatches and turning them into thriving businesses in otherwise impoverished areas. These stories still serve as reminders that if girls get a chance, in form of an education or employment opportunities, they can become more than a circumstance-women can become part of the solution.
I learned the ultimate lesson-the plight of girls is no more a tragedy than an opportunity.
Economists call this the 'Girl Effect.' The idea of taking young women who previously contributed neglibly to GNP, inject them into formal economy, provide education and the freedom to move cities and take jobs, and then notice the direct benefit from a demographic dividend. What economists didn’t anticipate is the benefit of women financing the education of younger relatives, and saving enough of their pay to boost national saving rates.
Girl Effect: Take young women, inject them into formal economy and provide them with education and opportunity-then notice the direct benefit to the economy
You know that saying people always tell you, that connections are formed at exact moments for a reason? That day, those connections felt intentional and I instantly had this 'Aha' moment where I knew I wanted to create a platform where all these powerful and inspirational women could connect on a bigger scale. Determined to create this platform and contribute to this ‘Girl Effect,’ I thought back to a moment when a very special woman told me 'everyone has a gift, and yours is the gift of gift giving.' That day, Sisterhood Shopping was just a single person buying 2x each item from every organization and giving the pair out to an inspiring woman in her life with the intention that she would gift the second item to an inspirational woman in her own life. Little did I know that it would not stop there...
A year later, Sisterhood Shopping developed with a two-fold mission: Support organizations that support the ‘Girl Effect’ by providing occupational and educational opportunities to women on a global scale, and to inspire women to become leaders in their own lives and follow their passions.' -Paola Berisso, Founder