Women have been slowly but surely breaking the barriers that have been set for them in the past centuries. A beauty queen with Down’s syndrome made history, single mothers run startup companies, more women are fighting back against sexual harassment and even lead hundreds of people to resuscitate a dead river.
Here’s to another amazing woman. A female Pakistani doctor recognized the odds stacked against physicians in her context, and acted to provide more flexible options for women in the medical industry. Dr. Iffat Aga founded a platform to connect home-based female doctors to poor communities.
Sehat Kahani is a revolutionary tele-health platform that connects at-home, out-of-work doctors who can provide quality health care to underprivileged patients in low and middle-income markets.
The organization currently constitutes a network of 14 facilities across Pakistan which have served more than 550,000 patients. When a patient visits the clinic, a nurse logs their basic medical history, and then doctors are called in to continue the consultation through a video conferencing system.
The percentage of women in local medical schools are higher than those of men, but less than half of these women eventually end up as practitioners because they believe they need to nurture their families first. Because of the responsibility weighing down on them, female doctors stop pursuing their careers. Dr. Iffat knew this problem needed a solution, so she partnered up with women who similarly understood — and perhaps personally experienced — the crisis, and together they built Sehat Kehani.
With a vision to create an all-female health provider network, Sehat Kahani simultaneously promotes women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, and the basic need for affordable, quality healthcare in rural and urban communities – all without the doctors ever having to leave their homes.
It is truly an inspirational balancing act to target both the issues of gender inequality and poverty at the same time. Women are not only fighting for their own rights; they are doing so in order to join larger fights.
As the years go by, gender divides grow smaller. Because of society’s increasingly progressive attitudes, conservative countries are eliminating segregation. Beauty queens are breaking norms. Struggling moms are making a living. Still, harassment in the workplace is frequent — but not if Hollywood’s female stars can help it. Hundreds of big names have launched a legal defense fund worth $13 million to fight sexual misconduct.
“Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences,” said an open letter from 300 women in film, TV, and theater. “This is often because survivors, particularly those working in low-wage industries, don’t have the resources to fight back.”
The recent slew of accusations has encouraged women of all tiers to speak up about their assault. The initiative hopes to empower more, particularly those without a means to be vocal.
“If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?” [said executive producer Shonda] Rhimes.
Speaking out is one thing — having the resources to do so is another. If blockbuster bombshells are willing to provide that, why stop them?
With the holidays upon us, the season of giving has kicked off. Secret Santas are paying off strangers’ Christmas debts and random acts of kindness are on the rise. But for one Argentine startup, generosity lasts all year round. The group is employing struggling mothers to recycle tire scraps into shoes, tackling not only underemployment, but rubber waste.
“We like people and companies who buy our products to know they are helping empower women and people excluded by the system,” says [Xinca businessman Alejandro Malgor].
25 employees are currently working for the company, and operate in rural areas. Xinca’s main goal is to present underprivileged women with both the resources and confidence they lack.
“We teach the women how to work as a team, how to take responsibility in a job. When they learn new skills, the women get better self-esteem and more confidence. Having a job means they don’t only learn new tools for work but they grow personally, too.”
Xinca is also taking 100,000 tons of discarded rubber tires into their own hands. In just four years, the group has already managed to recycle 20,000 kilograms into footwear. It’s surely brought a whole new meaning to flats!