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On International Women’s Day: A Standing Ovation for Women Social Entrepreneurs

March 8, 2017

By Sally Osberg

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, I think back to my grandmother, one of the first women in New England to buy and drive her own Ford Model A. Throughout her life, she never let up on the gas pedal, terrifying me as a child with her lead foot and aweing me as a young woman and adult.

I reflect back on what it must have been like at the earliest International Women’s Day celebration in the streets of New York City in 1909 and take great inspiration from the gains women have made since. In my lifetime, however, push-back against that progress has been dishearteningly unprecedented, making the struggle for equity and equal rights all the more pressing today.

We applaud the work of the remarkable women social entrepreneurs around the world and are proud to partner with so many women-led organizations at Skoll. Working on the frontlines of social change, these women are defending and expanding the rights and freedoms that labor organizer Leonora O’Reilly and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman called for over a hundred years ago in front of that crowd of thousands, gathered on a cold day in Manhattan.

I had the great pleasure of highlighting the power of women social entrepreneurs like Ann Cotton and Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda in a TED talk that is now publicly viewable, and still very much relevant. I am honored to call each of these women friends and colleagues, and am grateful to be able to celebrate their profound impact on the world.

Let’s keep our pedal to the metal!


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