Throughout the year, our blog series “Pearls: 30 Lessons Learned on Our 30 Year Journey” will be featuring lessons we’ve learned as an organization throughout the past three decades. These “pearls,” as we call them, illuminate how we’ve survived and thrived for 30 years. They will also highlight how we continue to inspire and be inspired by the women in our program while they are working with us and long after they’ve launched.
The Tremendous Power of Women Helping Women
This week, as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, is a great time to share our first lesson learned: the tremendous power of women helping women.
At Women’s Bean Project we believe all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. Yet, we recognize believing and doing can be different things. For us women tap this power through the support of a safe environment and culture where there is no room for degrading, minimizing or diminishing. The environment here is one where every woman is treated with respect. It’s an environment that is about women supporting women. By supporting one another on our paths, we ensure all women tap into the power that already exists within to transform their lives.
Women are a Key to Success
As women we are wired to help one another. It’s our natural default. But often, the outside world makes us feel wrong when supporting one another, that in promoting or lifting up someone, we diminish ourselves. In fact, research shows the opposite is true. For instance, a University of Virginia economist found promoting one woman to a higher position in the company can create benefits for many other women within the company. Another study found women who are successful have one important characteristic in common: they have a circle of other women surrounding them who help them be successful.
At Women’s Bean Project we constantly strive for a culture in which we encourage one another, champion each other’s ideas and celebrate one another’s achievements. No one comes to the Bean Project to stay the same. The ethos of our program ensures all women tap into the power they have within to transform their lives. We help guide women along the scary path to change and lift them up to get within reach of their dreams, and then set them on a path toward thriving in these new lives.
What is Women’s Empowerment?
I believe it is women helping women on their journey to a better life. For 30 years we have seen that women are better together. And together we can lift up one another, champion each other, each idea and each success. We can celebrate each other’s achievements, knowing that celebrating others does not diminish any of us, but instead elevates all of us up all the more.
We believe no woman should be afraid to receive support. We all need on another’s love and support to thrive. The Bean Project model is based on the premise that when you believe in someone, you pave the way for them to believe in themselves. When you show a woman she has value and potential, she will transform her life. Once a woman has achieved success, nothing less will be good enough for her again. We envision a world in which interaction between women is supportive and encouraging. And we know we can only reach this vision by working together.
“We believe no woman should be afraid to receive support. We all need on another’s love and support to thrive.”
When women help other women move from the shadows into the light of our best selves, we each realize our own power. As a result, the collective to which each of us belongs is better than standing alone.
Thank you for joining us on this celebration of our journey.
“We rise by lifting others.”– Robert Ingersoll