Empowering Women Matters

It's funny how sometimes books that you just breeze through can leave you with a lasting impact. In the one that did that for me, “Let Your Life Speak, Listening to the Voice of Vocation" (John Wiley & Sons, 1999) by Parker J. Palmer, the author suggests that you will simply know when you are in the 'right job.' It will feel like what is inside is connected to what you put out in to the world; you will feel the difference you are making. I have to say that at various times over my fourteen-year career at Goldman Sachs, I felt that way, and I feel so privileged to be feeling that way again now.

My current work is primarily about bringing attention, ideas, and solutions to the issue of creating gender balance in this world. This is also the work of many other people, including Sheryl WuDunn. Sheryl is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and former New York Times reporter and editor, who, alongside her husband New York Times columnist, Nic Kristof, wrote the must-read book, “Half The Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" (Knopf, 2009). This deserves to be a BEST SELLER. Why? Because this book, like so many others on this topic, MATTERS. This book both tells stories and articulates the reasons why empowering women can do more to change the world for the better than anything, ANYTHING, else we can do. The best thing is that we can all do something. This is beyond sending money just to fund girls' education. It's standing up in the places where we are—in our homes, in our communities, in our places of work—to battle gender inequities that collectively serve to hold women and girls back from being full participants in our society.

This is not about women taking over the world. This is about creating a world where everyone—man, woman and child—have the opportunity and access to reach their potential. We all win in that world.

Jacki Zehner writes for LearnVest on philanthropy and women's empowerment issues, particularly in the workplace. She is a frequent media commentator, consultant and speaker on those subjects, as well as on women and wealth. In 1996 she became the youngest female partner at Goldman Sachs; she retired in 2002. Currently, in addition to running the Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Family Foundation and serving as a founding partner of Circle Financial Group, she blogs at‚ PursePundit.


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