This week, Sara Blakely made philanthropy headlines by becoming the first female billionaire to sign the Giving Pledge – a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals to give a majority of their wealth to charity. It seems fitting that the first woman joins this elite group the week before Mother’s Day – a time of year to think about the important women and female role models in our lives. While eight other philanthropists also signed the Pledge this week, Blakely received the most attention – and not just for signing the pledge.
It was only in March of last year that Blakely joined the elite group of global billionaires – as well as an even smaller group of self-made female billionaires. (Only 2% of billionaires across the world who are women, the majority of whom inherited their wealth.) With those odds, it’s an achievement indeed that even one sits among the wealthiest individuals who have joined the Pledge and made a life-long commitment to philanthropy.
In reading Blakely’s pledge letter, I was inspired by the way that she recognized her privilege as a woman born into a country where girls can aspire to any career choice and have the freedom to pursue it. This is not the case in many countries around the world.
I have so much gratitude for being a woman in America. I never lose sight that I was born in the right country, at the right time. And, I never lose sight of the fact that there are millions of women around the world who are not dealt the same deck of cards upon their birth. Simply because of their gender, they are not given the same chance that I had to create my own success and follow my dreams. It it for those women that I make this pledge.
I was also inspired by her dedication to philanthropy since founding Spanx and focuses on the empowerment of women and girls across the globe.
I am committed to the belief that we would all be in a much better place if half the human race (women) were empowered to prosper, invent, be educated, start their own businesses, run for office – essentially be given the chance to soar! I pledge to invest in women because I believe it offers one of the greatest returns on investment. While many of the world’s natural resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed – women.
You don’t have to be a millionaire or billionaire like Sara Blakely to make a difference in the lives of women and girls – here in DC or around the world. Many of Catalogue’s nonprofits work to empower women – those who have been abused, exploited, ignored, or just not given the chance to thrive:
Women Thrive Worldwide advocates for programs that free women from poverty and violence.
District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) provides safe housing to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
FAIR Girls is a girls’ empowerment organization keeping girls safe from exploitation.
The Women’s Collective supports girls, women, families infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.