As we welcome in the New Year and celebrate 5 years of sharing your stories, we at The Story Exchange want to take a moment to reflect on the upcoming presidential inauguration and what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for the country.
There’s no doubt that for millions of people Trump’s election has already turned our familiar world upside down. And for women who thought the highest glass ceiling might be shattered in 2016, it has led to a gut-wrenching assessment of where we are on our journey to equality. It has forced us to examine anew our priorities, our shared interests and our differences.
Five years ago when we started The Story Exchange, we wanted to encourage women’s entrepreneurship and to offer rarely seen role models of “ordinary” women creating and building businesses that contribute enormously to our economy. Underlying that mission has always been a conviction that economic independence is a vital way for women everywhere to achieve independence of all sorts. Financial independence gives women self-respect and self-confidence, the courage to stand up for our needs and for those of our families and communities.
So amid the passionate, fiery debates about women’s issues fanned by the presidential campaigns, today we are putting this larger objective of supporting women’s economic independence at the center of our mission. Watch this space for stories that explore entrepreneurship as a force for providing women with more power in all areas of life.
The future actions of a Trump administration are hard to predict. But the president-elect’s cabinet selections and his tweets indicate that we can expect serious cuts in social welfare programs, health care, public housing and environmental safety. Individual efforts cannot replace federal, state and local programs, but people of compassion will respond and try to address growing and urgent needs.
We are confident that it will be women who step up to the plate. From our 1,000+ Stories, we know that, for women starting and running their own businesses, purpose is often more important than profit. Women will find ways to help the hungry, the homeless, the sick and the elderly in innovative and inspiring ways.
This is why we are beginning 2017 with a series of video profiles of women already working in the trenches, doing good on the ground, addressing a wide range of social needs and causes.
We know you will continue to inspire us with your work as you have done so often already. Wishing you peace, health and happiness in 2017!
Sue Williams and Victoria Wang, Co-Founders