On The Importance of Female Ambition

We sit down with Tribe Alive to discuss how "recognizing and harnessing our strengths" is essential to bettering the lives of women everywhere.
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When we welcomed Carly Burson as our Guest Style Editor for October, we knew she would encourage us to radiate our most beautiful selves on the outside, but what we’ve also come to realize is how deep her company's knowledge runs on harnessing our inner beauty and confidence as well. Today Tribe Alive's Content Marketing Manger, Taylor Meadows, is sharing her thoughts on the importance of dialogue about female ambition—and why when we believe in what we have to offer the world, we all become powerful agents of change. 

In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg released her book Lean In, examining the stall in female leadership in the workplace and offering compelling solutions to empower women in their professional endeavors. This year she asked men to join the conversation—to be part of the #LeanInTogether movement for equality. You may be wondering how Sandberg’s suggestion relates to Tribe Alive in our direct work with women in developing countries, far removed from the boardroom. But if you take a moment to strip away superficial differences, you will see that the mission of Tribe Alive and Sheryl Sandberg intersect, promoting a dialogue that encourages female ambition in all contexts.

Why focus on women? Regardless of status or location, women throughout the world face challenges as they seek economic and social empowerment. However, when successful, these women may serve as powerful change agents within their communities: whether ensuring better nutrition and healthcare for their own children or contributing to large-scale economic and infrastructure development projects at the community level. When women are empowered, their efforts ripple outward throughout communities and thus next generations. At Tribe Alive, we seek to give women the opportunity to develop the technical skills—and self-confidence—necessary to create their own lives.

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a former professor of psychology at Yale University, validates this ideology in her article for Psychology Today, entitled “What Women Do Right”. Nolen-Hoeksema states that “recognizing and harnessing women’s strengths will not only enhance individual women’s’ lives but also revolutionize our society and our world”. Her 25 years of research reveal “women have exceptional skills at problem-solving, creating, inspiring, and relating to others”.

Travel has opened our eyes to the sheer resilience of women living in the least privileged conditions imaginable. In Kenya, we witnessed women walking for hours to reach a medicine clinic to ensure their children received the best possible treatment. In Guatemala and Honduras, women perform odd jobs to earn extra income and better nourish their families. The world over, women are most often responsible for identifying and fulfilling family needs—many sacrifice their own comfort for that of their children and other family members.

According to Geri Stengel (a Forbes contributor), women are more likely than men to spend the bulk of their income on food, healthcare, home improvement and schooling for their children and family. She considers this behavior a “multiplier effect”: when we invest in women, women will reinvest in the health of their community. Stengel also claims that GDP would increase worldwide if women were a greater presence in the workforce, climbing upwards by 9% in the North America, 13% in Europe, and 25% in the Middle East and North Africa. In short, creating opportunity for our female artisan partners creates opportunity for us all.

We encourage you to “Lean In” with us as we work to empower other women. Ethical fashion is not frivolous: by wearing your Tribe Alive bracelet or toting a Guatemalan Weekender, you have chosen to be a conscious consumer, thereby giving our movement even more momentum. 

p.s. Our favorite simple tips for shopping ethically