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A Valentine for the Men Who Are With Us

This morning, Jim texted me a link to a blog I wrote on Valentine’s Day in 2015.  He was posting it to his Facebook again today because he liked it so much.

The post was, in essence, a love letter to him. I was wanting to recognize him for having been with me every step of the way on this women’s economic empowerment mission, from the field work in remote places to theorizing around the table in Oxford.

But as I was writing the post that day back in 2015, I began to think about the other men who had joined forces with me over this work. And how much their help had meant. And how difficult I suspected it was for them to do it—because they would inevitably have had to accept some very unpleasant things about men.  And that is hard.

Anyway, so I wrote in the same blog about the contributions of these other men and the post became like a Valentine to all of them, as well.  You can read it here.

So when Jim sent me this reminder today, I thought I would write a similar blog for 2018.  There have been several men who have been have been important to my work recently, most notably Jim Jones at the ExxonMobil Foundation and Paul George at pwc, both of whom have been 100% solid behind the formation of the Global Business Coalition for Women’s Economic Empowerment.  They put a lot of time and thought and commitment into making that go.

I sat down to write the post and, lo and behold, there was an extraordinary note in my mailbox from Wade Channel, who some of you will know as an economic growth specialist who focuses on gender at USAID.  He was writing because he is starting a new initiative (on his own, not as part of USAID) that he wanted opinions on, as well as answers to some questions he had.

You see, Wade and his friend, Carlton, were having dinner recently and talking about #MeToo.  They felt that they needed to do something about all the bad stuff out there.  So they decided to start a messaging campaign of their own.  Their goal is to get 1,000 men messaging by International Women’s Day.

I think this is a fabulous initiative and I hope all of us will support it. You can read the story behind the idea and help out by answering Wade’s questions here.  Note his email is at the bottom of the blog.

I am always impressed by Wade’s willingness to confront the hard topics.  At big meetings on women’s economic empowerment, he never fails to bring up the need to deal with violence against women, even in the economic context.  Many people are not aware of how much the threat of violence drags on our attempts to include women in economics.  You can get a sense of what Wade has to say on the topic here. (It’s really a great post.  You should read it.)

Anyway, I will be posting again on Wade and Carlton’s initiative as soon as their hashtags are ready.  So please check back, as I think we will all want to pull together on this and help get the message out.

I know Jim will join, as will all the other wonderful men who are now committed to this work.  Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!


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