Posted by: ginalazenby | November 20, 2011

Global Women’s Enterprise Day Gathering ….

It has been Global Enterprise Week this last week and on Thursday it was Global Women’s Enterprise day. In honour of this a group of us got together for a small women’s gathering on Mount Shasta and discussed a number of questions about women’s roles in the world and in business. As usual for a women’s gathering we started with food which everyone had brought: home-made gnocchi, vegetable curry, seaweed & cashew dip, organic salads, sparkling apple & ginger drink followed by ……a flourless chocolate cake which almost stopped the conversation 🙂

Then down to business ……. we talked about the roles we could play in changing the world.  Having come from a recent Women & Investing Through a Gender Lens event I shared how women now have a great deal of power but perhaps we do not realise it.

  • We buy over 80% of everything that is sold, and influence more than 90% of purchases. Not only that but we have most of the wealth …
  • 75% of it is owned by women over 60 (USA and UK).
  • And women business owners in America generate over $4 Trillion making their contribution equivalent to the fourth largest economy in the world.   I think if we get our heads round that we realise that do have power ……..  we just need to talk about how we use it. Riane Eisler says “women need to change the conversation”.

From our roundtable discussion I can share about 5 themes:

1 We recognise and honour the power of one woman: rather than think that we don’t have influence we can draw inspiration of courageous women all over the world taking a stand. The OCCUPY movement was started by a woman. The media may not be giving  much coverage but only this week 34,000 people gathered in New York while the TV reported that “just a few thousand” turned out. This movement has spread right across the planet in just two months.  One woman gallery owner in Los Angeles started the Bank Transfer Day campaign which caused between 700,00 and one million people to move their accounts from Bank of America to community banks and credit unions. One woman. What could we do as one woman? Indeed what could we do as a group of women if we gather together in conversation and talk about the kind of world we really want to see?

2 Our intuition is our best guide … so many of us are heeding the call we can hear coming from within telling us to shift, move home, grow, be more …. One woman in our circle embraced her creativity for the first time at age 60 after over 30 years in opthamology. She is now a documentary film-maker and photographer. It is so inspiring to meet a woman who embraced another significant part of herself in her 7th decade and created a business out of it.  We are never too old to start anything!  Three women in the group had put aside their successful lives in other cities to come live at Mount Shasta and create livelihoods here because they felt the strong call to do so. Mary shared how 40 years ago when she was painting she focussed her energies on her inner life and her ability to tune into the essence of her artworks always called in the new owner of the painting. They would literally telephone her while she was painting it.  She never had to go out and sell her work … her vibrational marketing was a much more graceful way of her being successful as an artist!

3 We can take leadership in our communities. When times are hard as they are now, it is disappointing to see people get very competitive over scarce resources. Why can’t we share more instead of fighting over what little there is? Surely local business can find a way to support each other in a community instead of simply price-cutting? We could lead in being collaborative, find ways of taking care of each other and share what is around. As we aim to live healthier and more sustainable lives, we could make more of an effort in buying locally grown and produced food and resources. Everything we purchase is a vote for some business. If we are more conscious of what we buy then we can exert our influence. Amore, our host for this event, has been inspired to start the Mount Shasta Alliance to bring people together collaboratively.

4 We enjoy gathering and connecting with others. We need it .. indeed we thrive on it.  All too often we can end up on our own in our businesses and it’s not only good to share the anxieties we might have, we realise it’s important for us to share our triumphs. It encourages us enormously if our successes are witnessed by others. Wide-ranging conversations about bargain-shopping, changing hairstyles, recipe exchange all easily meld into a need for assistance with product pricing, meditation, bank charges and real estate opportunities. We cover all that matters to us in life and business. We all agreed that sharing time with other women deeply nourishes us.

5 We all shared our desires to make a contribution to making the world a better place …. a MUCH better one than it is right now. For all that, we know that we see real need right in front of us inside our families and around us in our communities. It all starts at home and that where each woman truly does have influence. We can go out and march for peace but we also have to recognise that it is the mothers who send their sons out to war and the wives who send their husbands.  We bring them up and we support them as they march out into conflicts that we don’t want any part of. This is an area where we must change the conversation.   We look around and see inequity, judgement and poor treatment of social outcasts and the mentally ill. We have to ask ourselves if we are truly bringing up the next generation to be accepting and practice forgiveness in our own families?

What conversations are you having about life and business that could make a difference??

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