What did social enterprises do to provide women with the right to have and to determine choices?
Coaching and mentoring (C&M):
Coaching and mentoring are development approaches based on the use of one-to-one conversations to enhance an individual’s skills, knowledge or work performance (more information about C&M here). The social enterprises we interviewed mentored and coached women beneficiaries. This takes different forms; from organising mentoring circles, to 1-to-1 work with a coach, and peer mentoring. Social enterprises emphasised that coaching and mentoring helped women access learning and developed in a judgement-free, non-threatening environment and allowed women to become part of the “sisterhood” (Social Enterprise 5). One of the social enterprises also organised a male allyship programme to provide mentoring and sponsorship to more senior women. The support from senior men leaders in the sector was crucial, as the social enterprise shared:
‘to change the statusquo we need the support of those currently in position of powers and that broadly means men!’. (Social Enterprise 5)
The impact of mentoring has been summarised by a social enterprise:
“[mentoring] ..could be life changing, it could be transformational.” (Social Enterprise 5)
Allow women to make mistakes
Allowing women to make mistakes such as ruining a garment, cutting a piece of fabric in the wrong way, when producing apparel helps women feel confident to try new things. As a social enterprise explained, some women feel very nervous and are worried about making mistakes in the product development process (producing garments, curtains, and other apparel related products) under one of its projects. Allowing them to learn through trial and error has a positive effect on the women. Instead of focusing on what has gone wrong, the social enterprise involves the women in discussing potential solutions.
‘What should we do to put it right? And we’ll have a discussion … and it’s not a you’ve done this wrong or you’ve done that wrong’ (Social Enterprise 1)
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