What is the WorldWISE Project?

It is a global storytelling initiative that aims to highlight women social entrepreneurs leading innovative and inspirational models and movements for change around the globe.

By drawing attention to stories of women making change in complex, revolutionary, and structural ways, we aim to be the harbingers of a much-needed paradigm shift around current definitions of success, and on a larger scale, attitudes toward women entrepreneurs and their work.

Why are these women’s stories important? Not only do they serve as a lesson in the value of going against the grain and upending long-standing traditions in the sector that emphasize top-down, fiscally-oriented, and often Western-imposed methodologies for social change, but they bring to light a larger trend within the ecosystem – a move among women leaders toward more holistic, “scaling up” and “scaling deep” models in their changemaking work.

Storytelling is also a model for changemaking deeply-rooted within feminine traditions. Throughout history, women from Maya Angelou to Malala Yousafzai and women-led movements such as #MeToo have told personal stories to share ideas, reflect on current realities, and shape a more empathetic society. Storytelling isn’t about larger revenues or number of consumers reached – it is about challenging mindsets and creating the space for new narratives to grow.

This project is part of Ashoka’s Women’s Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (WISE), a global initiative that aims to elevate the number, power, and knowledge of women entrepreneurs. 

Success Redefined How to Scale Deep

Mainstream definitions of success across the social innovation ecosystem have long been rooted in the business franchising model, placing more value on scaling out - an impact model where large numbers of people are reached and a larger amount of revenue is accrued.

Dismantling Systemic #Racism on a Global Level: The Way Forward

From Black Lives Matter to the Loveland Foundation, women social innovators have been at the forefront of global movements to disrupt and dismantle the institutions and frameworks perpetuating racial injustice. This session will explore women-led ventures that successfully combat systemic racism, impacting millions of beneficiaries around the world. In this session, we will underline their successes and zero in on the central values, mindsets, and behaviors that need to be addressed to create lasting change.

Leading WISEly: Young Changemakers Shaping the World

We believe that women of all ages are capable of leading change, and in this session, we will convene Young Changemakers — girls who are leading change at a young age — to discuss what led them on their path to changemaking and give advice to aspiring girl leaders. The Young Changemaker panelists will also discuss the importance of building a community culture of changemaking and the significance of exposing younger girls and boys to women leaders and role models.

Toward a WISEr World: Redefining Impact PostCOVID-19

As we re-imagine new frameworks for change post-COVID-19, we seek to ignite dialogue among ecosystem leaders from both the public and private sectors around the concrete steps that can be taken to elevate the power and place of scaling deep as a framework for impact within the ecosystem. This session will bring together women social innovators leading deep impact and leaders in the innovation sector to discuss how scaling deep methodologies can be galvanized to protect communities and economies from the negative consequences of one of the world’s largest global health crises.

South Led Stories of Impact

In the social and innovation sector, Global North methods and strategies for impact are the dominant models touted within the ecosystem. Yet, the global South is rich with overlooked insights and methodologies for change making — which is why we have positioned our broader Women's Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship in the South. In this session, we will highlight the strategies women innovators in the global South utilize, learning new ways for envisioning change, overcoming barriers, working within communities, making impact from their original insights and expertise.