Girl Powered Giving


When I was at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women in October (speaking about women and retirement), I was among the many who were surprised by a last-minute appearance by New York Times journalist Sheryl WuDunn.

She was there to talk about “Half the Sky,” co-authored with her husband Nicholas Kristof, also of the Times. The book’s subtitle spells out their mission: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

WuDunn, now an investment adviser with a focus on philanthropy, told one of those stories you can’t get out of your brain. Some years ago, she and her husband wrote about a young girl in China who couldn’t afford the fees to her rural school.

Moved, many readers sent in donations for the girl—so many that the school was able to offer scholarships to several other girls.

What then? The girls, soon young women, were able to leave the village and find higher-paying jobs—and send money back to their families, who then put the cash into their homes, businesses, and civic improvements.

WuDunn’s point: Invest in a few girls, you enrich a whole town.

I don’t know what you’re thinking about your own giving, as the year winds down. But consider contributions that benefit women here or abroad, whether it’s by exploring the Women’s Funding Network or one of the organizations recommended by WuDunn and Kristof.

By doing so, they say, you will be “unlocking women’s power as economic catalysts” worldwide.