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Empowering Girls to Engage in Social Innovations

By Tara Roberts, Co-founder, girltank

20 November 2013 - A few weeks ago, I attended el festival internacional de innovacion social in Santiago, Chile, which over the course of four days in locales that crossed the city, brought social change superstar activists, revolutionary musicians, thought leaders, and of course – innovators – from around the world to share about their brilliant ideas and work to positively transform the planet. From newly launched Ashoka Chile and Sistema B (the Latin American version of B Corporations) to NASA astronauts and the Chilean version of MIT’s Media Lab, extraordinary inventions, ideas and initiatives were announced, shared, and discussed, some over pisco sours and pulsating salsa music.

I came away super-inspired.

And I got to share about girltank during my 8 minutes on stage, and how I believe supporting women and girl innovators specifically, can only add to the mix of powerful ideas. Through my observations in the field, though, I see that the main people driving innovative ideas and getting traction in the marketplace are men. Strong women’s voices and ideas pop up here and there from time-to-time, and yet, ultimately, male minds drive our world.

But women and girls are brilliant. I know that when you add their (or our) ideas to the mix, you get a fuller, richer, far more complex and beautiful world of possibilities. Even in the amazing space of fiis, only 12 of the 72 speakers were women. The social sector, actually our whole world, suffers huge setbacks around the rates of social change, innovation and women’s advancement and visibility as leaders when women and girls’ ideas are not nurtured and incorporated.

This is the reason that I co-founded girltank. I wanted to figure out a way to support women and girl social entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world, to encourage them to trust in their own ideas for community transformation and then to support them in growing and scaling their daring social projects. I also wanted to build a space for community so that those women and girls courageous enough to step out there would know they are not alone in their work and that they have access to resources and peers to share triumphs, joys and even failures.

We are in the process of growing and becoming. We spent this past year helping eight women from six different countries raise funds for their projects, as we realized that funding is crucial for projects to operate. We are launching our Atlanta Chapter – the kickoff party is on the 20th of November! Next year, we will expand with a broader set of offerings and services, including more chapters worldwide, that help even more women and girl innovators meet each other and get the funding, connections and tools they need to sustain their projects.owing and

If you are a woman or girl with an idea, maybe we can help you. Join our community by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media.

Or if you are someone who just wants to support a woman or girl in your life, take a moment today to listen to her and to validate an idea, any idea, she may have. Tell her that it is smart. That she is smart. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with it or not, just tell her that her ideas matter and to keep on sharing them. As we build the confidence and boldness of the women and girls in our life, the numbers of women and girls willing to take a chance will grow. As more women’s ideas and voices are integrated into global leadership discussions, innovation circles and businesses decision-making, whole worlds of glorious possibilities will open for us as a planet.

The question of the day, actually of my entire life, is always….what if….?


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