“Women hold up half the sky” is a Chinese proverb that has always resonated with me. I recently introduced this incredible phrase to the two little women in my household, ages four and nine. When asked for an interpretation of the proverb I was greeted with a few both delightful and insightful comments, although there is one in particular that stood out. According to the nine-year-old, “women hold up half the sky” means, of course, that women are both very strong and very smart, because “you have to be really smart to figure out how to hold up half the sky, don’t you think?”
Yes, indeed I do.
I also believe that in today’s world, this phrase highlights the fact that women are an essential foundation of the global economy, evidenced by the reality that 70% of new businesses are started by women and 85% of brand purchases are made by women. In addition, the Financial Times recently reported that the three richest self-made women are from China, as are 11 of 20 global female billionaires. One does not have to look far to see that women such as chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and CEOs Indra Nooyi (Pepsi) and Ursula Barns (Xerox) are leading business ventures and economic insights that contribute to the global business landscape in unprecedented ways.
At the GW School of Business, we recognize the importance of highlighting the contributions that women make to the global society. We aim to regularly feature these amazing women who are doing amazing things all over this and other continents. In an effort to highlight the leadership roles that women continue to play in our global society, the GW MBA Admissions team and the School of Business recently hosted an event titled Women Changing the Globe. This event recognized leading women who are part of the GW community, featuring a panel of GW alumni and a current MBA student. These women spoke of their professional experiences in the global marketplace.
Cassandra de Souza, a first-year student who previously worked at the World Bank, spoke of her experience providing support to the Ethiopian government to implement a US$100 million project protecting basic health services. With her GW MBA, Cassandra intends to transition her career from international development into the private sector.
Participants also included alumni such as Denise de Bombelles, who conducts global investor outreach on behalf of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLB). Each panelist spoke of the personal and professional experiences that shaped her desire to operate on a global stage. Each woman referenced the GW School of Business as a formidable partner in providing the key technical and management skills necessary to be a leader.
Cassandra and Denise represent just a few of the global leaders at the GW School of Business. Each year we have the privilege of meeting determined and dynamic women from places such as China, India, Turkey, and Malawi as well as California, Oregon, and Ohio. These incredible women hail from every sector, be it education, healthcare, or private equity. Composing more than 40% of the full-time Global MBA class, the women of the GW MBA program are well positioned to hold up their piece of the sky.
Posted by Judith on November 19, 2010 | Filed under: MBA Admissions and Experience.