How many women does it take to put a war-torn country back together again?
In its second election since the genocide ended in 2003, women won 44 of the 80 seats in the Rwandan Parliament -- it is by far the largest number of women in a national legislative body anywhere in the world. Out of one of the worst humanitarian crises in our lifetime, women have survived and emerged to lead the political, economic, and civic recovery of their country. A nation where women were shamed for speaking publically has now implemented a Constitutional mandate for 30% of Parliamentary seats to be filled by women, and they have been elected in even greater numbers.
How many men does it take to ruin a national economy and wreak havoc on millions of lives?
About 55 top dogs, if you keep track of all the similar faces who are being fired, filleted by Congress or carving up the bailout money. There isn't a woman among them; not a single major US financial institution is run by a woman. But there are dozens of men supported by armies in accounting firms, rating agencies and the Federal government, who all believed that there was a new way to make unbelievable piles of money -- new ways for them to be big dogs on the Street and in the world, responsible to no one but themselves, all in step with the "boys will be boys" doctrine.
It just hit me like a ton of bricks reading accounts of the Paulson meeting with the nine big bank boys, who were reluctant to sign on to the bailout if their huge compensation packages had to be brought down to size. Does anybody else feel like the foxes are guarding the hen house? Like the hurricanes of recent years, Americans are facing another disaster, a man-made one this time, that will dramatically change millions of people's lives. This is a crossroads, where we can wait to be affected by the big decisions of a small group, or begin the work of recovery ourselves.
From my recent experience helping US women grow their businesses, I am convinced women will lead America out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Kept out, put out or having walked out of the "boys will be boys" boardrooms, C-suites or the dead end jobs we had propping up the fellas, women have started small businesses in record numbers -- 10.5 million to be exact. Rather than depending on or hoping that the handful who caused this economic crisis will rescue them or bail them out, women are poised to grow their businesses and rescue the country themselves.
Exactly how many women does it take to generate the $700 billion in new revenue to replace the money used in the bailout, and create 4 million new jobs to replace the ones lost in the economic crisis?
It will take 1 million women. There are already 248,000 women entrepreneurs at $1 million or more in annual business revenue. In December, the not-for-profit Count Me In For Women's Economic Independence launch a historic initiative, the Make Mine a Million $ Business race, which will challenge the nation's women entrepreneurs to rebuild the national economy by setting and achieving their goals for business growth in one year. One thousand women have already pre-registered, and are the first to stand on the starting line of a movement which creates jobs and puts our country back on track with creativity, innovation, local green jobs, products and services that create real value. Women have walked for a cure to breast cancer, we have run for nations' highest offices, and in 2009, we will race to rebuild America's economy. Join us at MakeMineAMillion.org