Reflections on Why it is Important to Encourage Women to Engage in Innovation and Creativity

Fareeda Ali

Fareeda Ali comes from the Caribbean island-state of Trinidad and Tobago. She founded her company Marie Fareeed Limited, ten years ago. Her company specializes in designing headware, salaah veils and khimars.

Picture of Fareeda Ali
Photo: Courtesy of Ali Fareeda

If you have good ideas and want to go a step further to make your dreams a reality keep working on your designs even if it's for only five mins a day. Stay passionate about your work and be sure to visit your national IP Office. They will assist you and provide you with sound guidance to see you through. Hang in there! Success comes in small doses and with continued work. I am proof of that. My wish today is to encourage and inspire you to dream bigger, be creative and do your research.

Peace comes when peace is served.

Fareeda Ali

Valentina Araujo

Valentina Araujo is a Venezuelan artist, photographer and jeweler.

A lo largo de la Historia las mujeres han luchado por ser reconocidas en los diferentes ámbitos de la vida, existiendo aún muchas cosas que deben ser aceptadas y superadas por la sociedad. La diferencia de género debería ser asumida como una ventaja, al ser capaces las mujeres de ver y hacer las cosas desde una perspectiva diferente a la masculina, estando allí la gran riqueza de lo que podemos aportar en beneficio de la innovación y la creación.

Al ver la realidad desde una perspectiva distinta a la masculina surgen matices nuevos, que al unirlos generarán resultados mejor adaptados a la consecución de una sociedad más humana, diversa, multicultural, más inclusiva y tolerante. El arte es un lenguaje universal, que puede ser interpretado por todos sin importar edad, nacionalidad, cultura o género, encontrando cada quien su propia interpretación.

Pero, tan importante como todo eso, lo es trabajar, prepararse y dedicarse en ello, pues es un lenguaje que requiere de práctica, de herramientas para expresarse, decir, hablar y transmitir. Cuando creas no sólo es tú imaginación la que vuela, lo que creas permite que otros también experimenten sus propias sensaciones con sólo mirar tu obra artística, es decir talento acompañado de mucho empeño y trabajo para obtener el resultado que sueñas.

Valentina Araujo
Picture of Valentina Araujo
Caída libre, by Valentina Araujo

Elma Arboleras

Elma Arboleras, co-inventor of a patent-protected traffic management system called iBus (Intelligent Bus Utility System). iBus is a user-friendly and efficient way to track and record the daily operations of busses. It is an invaluable tool for tackling congestion, reducing pollution and helping to establish sustainable public transport systems for cities across the world.

We need to ask how can we be of service to our neighbors? How can we make this world a better place? Since the beginning of time women have played and continue to play an important role in answering these questions. Women are natural innovators, even if their contributions are not always as widely recognized globally as perhaps they should be.

Innovation starts with a dream, but you have to keep going. Reach your goal not just for yourself but for humankind!

Elma Arboleras
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(Photo: Courtesy of Elma Arboleras)

Dora Esther Bassani

Dora Esther Bassani is an Argentinean professor of educational psychology and former President of the NGO “Identidad”.

Picture of Dora Esther Bassani
Photo: Courtesy of Dora Esther Bassani

Entiendo que estar, participar y generar mejoras y cambios en este mundo de hoy implica fortaleza, perseverancia, conocimientos, decisión, accionando y reaccionando en su espacio circundante. Por ello, cuanto más mujeres decidan involucrarse y asumir esta actitud, mejores posibilidades de cambios y crecimiento tanto en lo personal como en otros ámbitos. Ser creativas, originales, objetivas, responsables, perseverantes, resolutivas son características significativas para afrontar las exigencias hoy.

Las mujeres tenemos un plus...los cambios que durante el ciclo de la vida transitamos nos preparan para ir por el camino adaptándonos en forma continua, desarrollando naturalmente la habilidad de crear, de ser originales, sensitivas, capaces, fuertes ... hay que reconocerse con todo este capital y animarse al desafío.

Betsy Beaumon

Betsy Beaumon is President of Benetech, a non-profit organization that empowers communities with software for social good.

I am excited to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day 2018. We believe in inclusive access to the world’s information. Through our Bookshare Accessible Library we are able to provide access to materials for education and employment for over half a million people around the world.

We have been able to accomplish because of visionary copyright exceptions for people with print disabilities and strong relationships with publishers underpinned by copyright law. Now we expect to serve millions worldwide with the support of the Marrakesh Treaty for the World Intellectual Property Organization

Betsy Beaumon
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Photo: Benetech

Laynie Browne

Laynie Browne is a poet. She was born and raised in Los Angeles in the United States. She is the author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her most recent collections of poems include You Envelop Me, P R A C T I C E and Scorpyn Odes.

Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship, a National Poetry Series Award for The Scented Fox (2007), a Contemporary Poetry Series Award for Drawing the Swan Before Memory (2004). Her work has been translated into Chinese, Catalan, French and Spanish. She teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.

As a writer, educator, editor and curator with a long history of outreach to various communities including: artists, K-12 students, adults, college student, and women in Afghanistan (as a mentor for the Afghan Women Writers Project) I have always believed in creativity as an essential path to greater awareness and healing for our world. The voice of each girl and woman is extremely important. Poetry and language belong to everyone. Your unique vision is much needed in the world

Laynie Browne

Brindusa Burrows

Brindusa Burrows, is Founder and CEO of The Ground_Up Project, a deal-sourcing platform for impact businesses all around the world, looking for funding of under USD 20 million.

In a world where green innovation happens sometimes far from the investors' eyes, it is important to offer entrepreneurs a better understanding of what they are looking for and how the process of investment really happens. We fill this important gap between entrepreneurs and investors via and

We have seen many women-entrepreneurs developing technology or technology-based innovation that has the potential to change the game in water and sanitation, energy, consumer products and so on. On the investment side too, we see more and more funds and investors focused on women-entrepreneurs in the green technology space. So if you want to make the world a better place and succeed as an entrepreneur, green technology is definitely an area for women to get involved with.

IP is a key ingredient in raising funds for a technology enterprise. It brings value to any technology business and it is an asset that investors are attracted to. As such, IP encapsulates much more than just protection of a certain invention, technology, process and so on. In the long run, it is an asset that grows in value for the entrepreneur who owns it.

We can be whatever we set our minds to be. Let's jump on every opportunity to make the world a better place for us and for future generations. Let's have fun bringing to life all the tremendous potential that is in us.

Brindusa Burrows
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Photo: The Ground_Up Project

Irina Bokova

Irina Bokova, Former Director General of UNESCO

Science is a vocation that beings with a dream, with an aspiration. Today, too many girls are not encouraged to follow this dream. I am thinking about the millions of girls and young women whose talent to innovate and to create is lost as they are excluded from schooling and learning because of poverty, gender based bias and discrimination.

The Sustainable Development Goals call upon every society to harness scientific talent and the talent to innovate and to create to find solutions – to improve health, nutrition, resource management, environmental protection…

I see the face of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a face of a young girl -- in safe school, not forced into marriage or work, empowered to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics – supported by her family and community to become everything she dreams … an engineer, a research, a medical doctor, a writer.

Without this, no society will prosper.

This international Day is an opportunity to say again - let’s Crack the Code and push for investment in the talent and creativity of women and girls!

Irina Bokova
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Photo: Courtesy of Irina Bokova

Manuela Cirilli

Manuela Cirilli is Head of Medical Applications in the Knowledge Transfer Group at CERN

I have been working at CERN, the largest particle-physics laboratory in the world, for twenty years: first as an experimental physicist, and then in the Knowledge Transfer group.

We have to promote careers in science, encourage women and, most importantly, show that when women are selected, it’s because they deserve it. I firmly believe that giving up on having more women in science and technology means giving up on a part of the diversity that is key to creativity and innovation

CERN is a place that has always been a trailblazer in technologies related to accelerators, detectors, and computing. I have been lucky enough to witness first-hand how scientific experiments drive technological innovations, and to be now working on transferring our innovations to society, namely into medical applications.

CERN’s policy is to disseminate its technologies as widely as possible to industrial and institutional partners within its Member States, with a spirit of openness. All LHC publications are published under Open Access conditions, and Open Source licenses are also used to release software and hardware. CERN also contributes to many open source projects, small and large, that promote collaboration within the community in the larger sense, not only the scientific world. Intellectual property lies at the core of successful knowledge transfer at CERN. It enables CERN to claim being at the origin of a novel technology, making it possible to share its knowledge to reach society.

CERN is a safe harbor for collaborative science projects, leaving gender, race, politics, at the door. That is one of the sources of its success.

When I came to CERN as a PhD student, I was amazed to see what people can achieve when they set aside all differences and work together on a common scientific goal. But I realized that women are still a minority in laboratories, especially in positions of responsibility.

I have been working with schools for a long time, promoting science among young people, boys and girls alike. My advice is always: do what interests you, follow your dreams - you won’t regret it.

Manuela Cirilli
Picture of Manuela Cirilli
Photo: Courtesy of CERN

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir is Director General of the Icelandic Patent Office.

Iceland has an abundance of female scientists, inventors, designers and artist that are tackling some of the world’s most complex problems through innovation and intellectual property.

Women’s participation in innovation is vital for society and it fills me with pride so see so many promising innovators coming from Iceland.

I am proud so see their hunger for solutions, progress and success. I believe they will inspire the next generation of innovators and instill in them the belief that they have the skills, ideas and ingenuity necessary to change the world for the better.

The boundless potential of innovation and intellectual property cannot be achieved without the participation of women and girls around the world.

I encourage all young women and girls to make a difference in the world by creating, inventing, innovating, and researching and developing their ideas and using the IP system to turn them into assets.

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir
Picture of Borghildur Erlingsdóttir
Photo: Courtesy of Borghildur Erlingsdóttir

Monica Ferro

Monica Ferro is the Director of the UNFPA Geneva Office.

In UNFPA we truly believe that women and girls should also be in the driver’s seat for innovation. If you empower them by securing their access to health, participation, education, technology and science you will be able to unleash their potential for creativity and tap into an unending source of economic and social benefits that will fulfill the 2030 Agenda and leave no one behind.

Monica Ferro
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Photo: Courtesy of Monica Ferro

Ruchira Gupta

Ruchira Gupta, systems designer at the International IP Commercialization Council (IIPCC), a global non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides a platform for the innovator and entrepreneur communities and enterprises to increase their understanding of IP to unleash their creative and innovative potential.

Picture of Ruchira Gupta
Photo: Courtesy of Ruchira Gupta

Ruchira has been instrumental in developing IIPCC’s IKR system to help developers and creators protect their trade secrets, creations and inventions.

Women of all ages and of different cultures, bring important perspectives and outlooks to the technologies and applications of technology to solve Earth's many challenges. Their input to the design and application of green technologies can be critical to their widespread acceptance, adoptions and success. And this ultimately benefits all of us.

IP has helped me understand the value of my contributions and ensure that I am recognized for my work - and the option to further development it.

All women can offer valuable insights and input to new green technologies.

Ruchira Gupta

Mónica Maffía

Mónica Maffía is an Argentinean theater and opera director, translator and dramaturge.

Quería hablarle a otras mujeres sobre la propiedad intelectual que es un derecho humano pero también es un bien estratégico, económico. No es simplemente que una obra nuestra queda y no se entera nadie. Una obra nuestra es una necesidad para la economía y debemos registrarla y proteger nuestros derechos porque el patrimonio cultural de una nación se incrementa con nuestro aporte. Y además también la economía se beneficia. ¿Por qué? Porque necesitan innovar, necesitan ideas nuevas, necesitan desarrollar proyectos de formas disruptivas para que rindan otros resultados. Entonces nuestra creatividad es muy importante. Defendamos nuestros derechos porque además el derecho moral sobre nuestras creaciones no prescribe y no se cede. Gracias.

Mónica Maffía
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Photo: Courtesy of Mónica Maffía

Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe

Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe is a Zambian biotechnologist and inventor of a portable water purification system that utilizes Moringa and biomaterials.

It is important for women to be involved in innovation because women bring on board the focus and creativity that was lacking before. And also women have been proven to be resilient to adverse conditions.

For the ladies and young girls out there that want to endeavor into science and technology, please be not discouraged: You can be the change that you want to see, and also do not let society force limitations on your ability as a woman and as a young lady.

Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe
Picture of MGezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe
Photo: Courtesy of Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe

Dolly Nicholas

Dolly Nicholas is from Trinidad and Tobago and makes her living doing innovation in heavy oil, tar sands and asphalt. A key part of her work involves addressing the environmental issues associated with the tar sand and heavy oil industries.

I find my work particularly rewarding as it allows me to find solutions to real world problems in creative, cost-effective ways.

Women make up half the workforce but are still very much underrepresented in innovation and science. This is to the detriment of the scientific community as it means we are not gaining the insight and input from a large proportion of the population.

Diversity in individuals (different backgrounds, cultures, race, gender, etc.) means diversity in thought, which leads to innovative new ideas. Diversity is therefore great for innovation.

I strongly believe that we to need to teach our girls how to think innovatively and how to solve problems creatively. This needs to start at the primary and secondary school level if we are ever to have as many women in science as men.

It is extremely important for all researchers to understand the value of intellectual property (IP), particularly in terms of getting their idea or invention to market. With IP a researcher can pursue commercial exploitation of her idea or invention, and can be confident that it is protected and won’t be stolen by competitors. Intellectual property represents something tangible that can be sold or licensed.

Patents have been valuable to me as they help highlight the novelty of my work (an inventive step is a prerequisite to acquire a patent) to the outside world, while also assuring potential investors that they are investing in something that is protected.

My advice? Work hard and believe in yourself. Don’t let others dissuade you, focus on your goals and work towards them. And always remember to help and support other up-and-coming female scientists.

Dolly Nicholas
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Photo: Courtesy of Dolly Nicholas

Justus Nwaoga

Justus Nwaoga is responsible for developing the Mimosa Weed Renewable Green Energy Endeavor.

With one or two notable expressions, women are massively underrepresented in the natural science compared to their male peers. We need to encourage more girls and women to take up STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects so they can tackle present and future product manufacturing challenges

Women are advocates of a clean environment and social well-being. Keeping the earth safe is a burning issue. We need to encourage more women to develop green products that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.

I encourage women to come out and compete with the men folk, to be bold in their green research and product development ventures and to defend their products by using the patent system.

Justus Nwaoga
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Photo: Courtesy of Justus Nwaoga

Tina Olivares

Tina Olivares is a Spanish film director and screenwriter with a long career, who has also founded a Cinema School in Madrid with the support of SGAE, Spain’s Copyright Collective Management Organization.

Los derechos de propiedad intelectual son algo importante, porque cada vez somos más creadores. El planeta se está convirtiendo en un planeta de creadores y sin embargo no es fácil vivir de la creación.

Por esa razón, considero que es importante hacer entender a todo el mundo que la cultura no es gratis, no puede ser gratuita porque detrás de la cultura, hay artistas que necesitan vivir de su trabajo.

A las mujeres, tenemos que creer en nosotras. Tenemos que confiar en nosotras. Eso es el mensaje que yo quiero darles. Eres suficiente. Eres de sobra para lo que persigues.

Tina Olivares
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Photo: Courtesy of Tina Olivares

Carmen Peralta

Carmen Peralta is a Spanish film director and screenwriter who recently joined the world of cinema winning many accolades for, You are You, a story about the opportunities that life sometimes offers us to regain our self-confidence, when love, expressed as respect for others, becomes one of the most fundamental emotions for human beings.

Considero muy importante que la mujer participe en el proceso de innovación y de creatividad, ya que son instrumentos fundamentales para mejorar el desarrollo económico, social y cultural.

La creatividad seria, es la capacitad del ser humano para dar respuesta a situaciones o a problemas que puedan surgir y está en estrecha relación con el desarrollo económico porque facilita actividades de innovación, de investigación.

Creo que es importante tomar conciencia sobre la importancia de la propiedad intelectual porque es un medio que promueve el desarrollo económico y genera beneficios sociales, culturales y económicos. En el caso de obras como las películas que están protegidas por los derechos de autor, pueden llegar a ser una fuente de ingresos porque que a mí me gustaría transmitir a las mujeres y a las niñas es el mismo mensaje que transmite el cortometraje que he realizado.

Es un mensaje con unas palabras tan sencillas como esenciales.  “Tú eres tú”,  en algún momento, alguien le dice a la protagonista “Tú eres tú”, en el mundo, no hay nadie igual que tú. He dicho que todo el mundo no es nadie exactamente igual que tú, eso ya te hacer ser muy importante con el amor a uno mismo, con el amor propio que es el primer amor a partir del cual se veneran todos los otros chores.

Carmen Peralta
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Photo: Courtesy of Carmen Peralta

Gloria Pérez-Salmerón

Glòria Pérez-Salmerón is President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for the period 2017-2019.

Gloria Pérez-Salmerón
Photo: Courtesy of Gloria Pérez-Salmerón

World Intellectual Property Day is a chance to underline the importance of creativity and innovation for our economies, our societies. Today, as much as ever, we cannot do without this. If we stand still, we lose ground. Moreover, as all the UN Member States promise, we cannot leave anyone behind.

That’s why the theme WIPO has chosen for this year’s World Intellectual Property Day, “Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity”, resounds so much with libraries. They are trusted, safer spaces, free from social pressure, free from financial barriers and with a dedicated staff and support. I’m proud to be working with WIPO, to build understanding of how intellectual property laws and practices can facilitate this role.

Together we can provide equitable access to knowledge. That means that tomorrow everyone can realize their innovative and creative potential. Together, we can be motors of change.

Gloria Pérez-Salmerón

Jurgenne H. Primavera

Jurgenne H. Primavera is a scientist and environmentalist from the Philippines.

For the last 40 years she has been a tireless champion of sustainable aquaculture and mangrove conservation and rehabilitation.

Jurgenne Primavera is a true heroine of the environment. In 2008, she was named one of (thirty) Heroes [and Heroines] of the Environment by TIME Magazine which wrote that Jurgenne and company “… remind us that in the face of human creativity and will, no challenge is too great, and no battle unwinnable – if only we’ll fight.”

Picture of Jurgenne H. Primavera
Photo: Courtesy of Jurgenne Primavera

Jurgenne Primavera has authored numerous scientific publications and in her retirement she is now pursuing her dream to establish a Biodiversity Garden. The garden hosts a range of native trees, many of which are near extinction. Her nursey is yielding seeds and seedlings of future Mother Trees, which she shares with others to ensure a sustainable tomorrow for future generations of Filipinos.

Through her work, she has put the Philippines on the regional and international mangrove Chief Mangrove Scientific Advisor of the Zoological Society of London and Member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee on Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program and the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment.

I come from a family and clan of strong females, growing up with the freedom to pursue my dreams, undeterred by social strictures and limited means. I realize that this is an exception in many cultures. But as someone once said, people make cultures.

I encourage women and young girls ? mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters ? to actively shape their cultures so that they can take up their rightful and equal place beside men. Nowhere is this more urgent than in science where the largely untapped creativity and intelligence of women can make all the difference in creating a better, safer, healthier and gentler world.

Jurgenne H. Primavera

Diandra Ragoo

Diandra Ragoo is a biomedical engineer from Trinidad and Tobago. She recently created and patented a discrete, non-invasive urinary device that allows women to relieve themselves while on-the-go. It is easy to use, alleviates any pain and discomfort and prevents potential bladder and kidney infections.

Picture of Diandra Ragoo
Photo: Courtesy of Diandra Ragoo

Women play essential roles in the economy by transforming their visionary ideas into unique products and services.

Innovation and creativity are key factors in our empowerment and gender equality. Allowing us to be involved in innovation and creativity, contributes to equal rights. As a result, discrimination is minimized, poverty reduced, employment opportunities increase and our voices are heard.

The more women innovate and create, the more they inspire and motivate other women to innovate and create.

As a woman, believe in yourself. We have already claimed our space in this ever-changing world of innovation and creativity, so never allow fear or negativity to silent your power and abilities.

Diandra Ragoo

Geneviève Ricard

Geneviève Ricard, Canadian artist.

Je suis d’abord et avant tout femme et mère de quatre enfants. Je suis aussi artiste, le collage étant mon médium de choix. Ma qualité de femme se trouve au cœur même de ma création et m’a permis, au fil des ans, de fièrement m’inventer.

Les femmes sont, aujourd’hui, des modèles innovateurs qui, grâce à leur vécu, apportent un souffle nouveau à la création. Mon art, étant le fruit de mon individualisme et de ce vécu unique, ne peut que m’appartenir et doit être protégé.

À celles qui aspirent à une vie d’artiste, n’oubliez pas que l’âme créatrice n’a d’autres choix que de succomber à sa tentation...

“Tout grand rêve commence avec un rêveur.” – Harriet Tubman

Geneviève Ricard
Picture of Geneviève Ricard
Eaux dormantes, by Geneviève Ricard

Ndandula Siamana

Ndandula Siamana is Deputy Commander of Zambia Police (Southern Region). She is powering change and defending the rights and interests of Zambia’s inventors and creators by developing new ways to tackle intellectual property theft.

Ndandula Siamana is at the forefront of efforts to encourage the use holographic technology to enable consumers to distinguish between genuine and fake goods.

I encourage all female inventors to actively take the lead in technological inventions and innovations. Let us empower ourselves by getting involved in intellectual property and innovation for socio-economic development and sustainable growth in our respective countries!

Ndandula Siamana
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Photo: Courtesy of Ndandula Siamama

Alexandra Sonntag

Alexandra Sonntag is a painter from Germany.

Art has a direct impact on the development of our personality and wellbeing. It can make and keep you happy. It is also, and especially for women, an indicator of individual freedom. Only in open and free societies do women have the opportunity to express themselves without any obstacles or taboos.

But being a professional artist is risky and often not at all lucrative. Any source of income for artists is important. A clear and transparent system of intellectual property rights which favors those who create is essential. If art is to be more than just a hobby in the future, artists need to be fairly or better remunerated.

It’s hard to make a living or even to be recognized as an artist, especially when you’re female, but just do it. Do it anyway! It’s fun and it’s freedom. It makes you stronger. For me painting means most of all communicating – with others, with myself.

Alexandra Sonntag
Picture of Alexandra Sonntag
Entlebuch, by Alexandra Sonntag

Marina Vargas

Marina Vargas is a Spanish artist. Her works have been on show in Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United States. She is a passionate supporter of women’s rights and women in the art world. She is also an active member of La Caja de Pandora movement in Spain which fights for greater recognition of women artists against sexual harassment.

Picture of Marina Vargas
Photo: Courtesy of Marina Vargas

Marian Villa

Marian Villa is a graphic designer, digital journalist and digital entrepreneur.

Her company,, based in Colombia focuses on the development of high quality digital products. She is also at the forefront Colombia’s largest tech community for women.

I love teaching and learning about technology. That is why I co-created a community initiative called @pionerasdev, which has become the largest tech community in Colombia for #WomenInTech.

Brand protection and licensing of software are important because they protect those of us who create content and who are part of the so-called orange economy in a global and highly competitive market.

More and more girls are creating ideas, products and content. And they are leaders within their work teams. As women we have a duty to be part of change, for ourselves and for future generations.

Marian Villa
Picture of Marian Vlla
Photo: Courtesy of Marian Villa