Guest Post by Jac Torres Gomez – Co-Founder of the Crimson Campaign – The title screamed out at me: ‘Sydney’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Campaigns for Women’s Equity’. Wow, I though to myself, when did the work I was doing suddenly become so important to others that I would be awarded such a prize?
In early May this year I received the accolade of Sydney Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the School for Social Entrepreneurs for my global campaign, which works to empower communities to understand and address the barriers facing women and girls due to menstruation. I developed the Crimson Campaign to address the inequalities women and girls face throughout the world due to menstruation and to contribute to the international advancement of women and girls as a whole.
For example, investigating solutions to decrease the expense of commercial menstrual products by ensuring that women of all social classes have access to sustainable and affordable options.
But let me go back a little. About 25 years in fact. I was a young child from a small farming town in rural Australia. I always knew I wanted make difference but I really didn’t know how. My parents planted a real sense of justice in me and the idea of what was fair. As I was growing up I would hear stories about Gandhi & Mother Teresa and feel something in my heart driving me to want to do something … anything. …bigger than just complaining about the state of the world as I was hearing from so many others around me. Through my travels as a teenager and young adult I discovered that women and girls were facing a problem, however I couldn’t quite articulate what the problem actually was in order to take action.
Then in August last year I was invited to stretch myself and tap into this desire to make a difference through action through a special program called School for Social Entrepreneurs. Suddenly – I was surrounded by great leaders all doing wild and wonderful things to change the world.
There was no longer space for excuses, only support to make my idea to help women and girls into a reality. Nine months later after starting the program this small time country girl – me – has finally realised her place in world and just how and why my project Crimson Campaign is destined make a difference. Plus I now can put a title to who I am when I am doing this work – a social entrepreneur.
Before I started at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in August 2011, I really would have never called myself a social entrepreneur at all. I really just saw myself as someone wanting to do something to activity contribute to addressing what I saw as a major barrier to us achieving gender equality. Being a part of the school taught me that in fact I am, and have been for years, a social entrepreneur. Participating allowed me, on a deeper level, to understand what was standing in my way to making significant breakthroughs with my work, and helped me address these barriers.
My personal and project journey as a social entrepreneur, particularly in the past year has been rollercoaster of growth and evolution. For example, twelve months ago I was at the ideas stage and now Crimson Campaign has a clear vision and detailed plan of how it will work to empower women and girls. Not only this, my thoughts on leadership, my project and learning have grown and developed in positive ways.
Firstly, my throughs on leadership have evolved and now I am convinced that I, myself, am valid in leading my project and often being a leader is less about the noise you make and more about listening to the stories of the people you wish to serve.
Secondly, my thoughts on Crimson Campaign have evolved – I have now gotten past my own taboos of speaking about menstruation, about how I can (and should!) involve men in my work and how to deal with, and understand, occasional feelings despair, vulnerability and exhaustion when pursuing this cause.
Thirdly, my thoughts around actual learning have evolved, and I have learnt about the power of reflection to continuously improve and look for new and innovative ways to work for the benefit of my project.
Although I am aware that I was one of the privileged few who had the opportunity to undertake a program such as that with SSE, it is because of this opportunity that I now have the responsibly to support the voiceless, be an action learner and inspire change in others to make the world a better place.
This small-town girl finally knows how make a difference, and through my work and who I am I hope I can inspire greatness in others wishing to make a different through social entrepreneurship.
About the Crimson Campaign
Crimson Campaign works to empower communities to understand and address the barriers facing women and girls due to menstruation. This is achieved through collaboration with multiple and diverse stakeholders in order to engage the population at large in a global campaign tackling five major barriers to achieving positive considerations of menstruation and changing these barriers into five areas of action.
Menstruation is a subject that is relevant to all women; it extends and touches many aspects of our lives and relationships. However, menstruation is still one of the root causes of why women and girls are not considered equal to men and boys throughout the world despite other women’s equality advancements in many countries. Crimson Campaign seeks to promote understanding and education of menstruation around the world in order to contribute to the international
Notes To Mummy Bloggers – Please share the story of the Crimson Campaign and your own thoughts on girls’ rights of passage on your own blogs. Don’t forget to link back to this story on the Crimson Campaign in your post. The hash tags are #bravedscussion #mummybloggersforgood
For more information on Crimson Campaign www.crimsoncampaign.org