Barbara Baran

Ashoka Fellow
Poland,
Fellow Since 1996
Stowarzyszenie Kobiet Polskich po 40-tce

Citation

This profile was prepared when Barbara Baran was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Barbara Baran is unleashing the economic power of middle-age Polish women for post-Communist Poland by creating a national self-help movement that provides emotional support and encouragement, role models, skills training and job opportunities. Her Society for Women Over 40 targets a potentially major contributor to the Polish economy currently undervalued or ignored by the male-dominated Polish business community. "It is amazing," says Barbara, "to watch middle-age women blossom and grow into first-class entrepreneurs once they are given the proper training and a little guidance."

Most women come to the Society via seminars on management, interviewing techniques, securing start-up capital and other related employment and self-employment skills. Barbara recruits successful businesswomen to teach these courses and act as pro bono mentors and counselors, building a role model component into the training function.

Barbara's main objective is to create an environment in which women feel empowered and build their self-esteem. She believes that this is a critical first step in triggering a release in creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit. From this base, the Society teaches business and self-employment skills, builds self-confidence, provides job placement services, operates businesses itself and publicizes its vision of women over 40 throughout society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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