Peace in our nation and around the world is more important than ever. We are reminded this month, in particular, on International Peace Day – which took place last week on Sept. 21. Yet even though it is 11 years since the tragedy of 9/11, there is still a long way to go in the global peace process. Countries are still at war. Women and children still fear for their lives in various corners of the world. And courageous journalists and protestors in developing countries run the risk of imprisonment or worse - when all they are doing is standing up for what they believe in.
So, what can be done to one day bring about peace in the land? I truly believe that economic reforms can lead the way to peace. When a country and its people are more stable financially and are able to support and sustain their families, the reasons for war and strife start to wane.
One way to help do this is to encourage small business development – particularly development of women-owned businesses. Women can serve as both social and economic change agents in the United States and overseas. They know how to multitask—since they are usually the ones in most households that are more responsible for balancing work and family. They also are open to new ideas and new ways of doing business and many of them currently unemployed would love to become their own bosses – if given the opportunity to tools that help them succeed. These tools include education, mentorships, and greater access to capital.
If we help empower women, we can empower nations. That kind of empowerment can help lead to peace and stability. And it is peace that can help ensure that maybe, just maybe, wars and strive could one day be a thing of the past.
Neese is founder and CE) of the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women.