Creating Global Change Locally
Think globally and act locally. It’s a mindset to help understand the magnitude of an issue while also realizing that the difference you can personally make is on a smaller scale. This is much easier said than done, however, and it can be easy to forget that global viewpoint. In an advertising agency, we tend to put on blinders and think only in terms of our particular department, whichever one it is. In conversations, discussions or arguments, it’s common to disregard opposing perspectives. With regard to feminism, and the fight toward gender equality, those same blinders can restrict our view to only our country.
This presents a major problem: Many people don’t understand the connectivity between the issues around the world. In reality, it’s a global phenomenon that plagues societies across the world in different ways. In the United States, our iteration ranges from the perception of domestic labor as a female function to the media’s constant portrayal and glorification of the idealistic woman, and many other problems in between.
In developing countries around the world, the fight is against deeply imbedded cultural inequalities that have led to high female rates of illiteracy, human trafficking and a general lack of opportunity for any change. Each of these problems, though they differ in degrees of severity, all these problems reflect the disparities between genders around the world.
In the summer of 2016, I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal, to spend three months working with some of the most determined women in the world. The organization I worked for, Hamri Bahini (The Green Angels), provided economic opportunities for underprivileged women to build their own businesses. From an all-women-run cafeteria to a business creating reusable biodegradable bags, each enterprise facilitated life-changing opportunities for the women in charge. For these women, owning their own business was beyond a dream, and in spite of tremendous barriers, their dynamic passion for their work was clear.
So why does understanding the depth of a global problem influence how we approach it locally? When we recognize the severity of the issue, and understand that these are all iterations of the same institution of oppression, we can come to realize that the progress we make inside our borders ripples out to the rest of the world.
With six leaders from four continents, Frank About Women is global, and it brings that mindset to every opportunity. My experiences abroad led to a deeper understanding of the challenges that lie ahead and a greater appreciation for the organizations leading the charge. Frank About Women is dedicated to investigating those challenges and shifting wrongful perceptions.
From Nepal to North Carolina, I’ve learned that when you raise your voice for equality and feminism, millions around the world stand with you. So, if an opportunity arises to rip off those blinders and be a champion for change, take it. Because whether in the confines of your home, your office or your community, stand proudly. Frank’s got your back.