Where The Glass Ceiling Is Already Smashed


Ruel Enriquez


There is a growing sector where women are rising to the top, smashing through the glass ceiling as never before, and transforming the world with big ideas.

It’s called social entrepreneurship and it’s disrupting the traditional status quo, fostering innovation and developing sustainable business ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems.

From training rats to detect landmines, to offering micro-lending to Indian farmers, these entrepreneurs see success not just through financial returns, but also in terms of social impact. The ultimate business goal? To set up successful companies that improve the lives of underserved and marginalized communities. It’s not just about the balance sheet, but it’s not charity either.


A Thomson Reuters Foundation poll, conducted in partnership with Deutsche Bank, UnLtd, and the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) shows that women are embracing social entrepreneurship, especially across Asia.

According to our survey, 68 per cent of those polled across the world’s 44 biggest economies said women were well-represented in management roles within the industry. The Philippines ranked first as the country where women were most active in the sector, while Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand took five of the other top ten slots.

With her company, Frontier Markets, Ajaita has reached 40,000 households in Rajasthan, and is on track to provide over 10 million products to 30 million households in India by 2016.

Ajaita is not a charity worker, she is a business woman. As her business grows, the living standards of hundreds of marginalized low-income communities are lifted.

The rise of female social entrepreneurs is also witnessed across the UK. Here, 40 per cent of social enterprises are led by women, compared with just over nine per cent of FTSE 100 companies. In addition, 84 per cent of social ventures have at least one woman on the leadership team.

Why are women excelling in this field? Those we surveyed pointed out that social entrepreneurship is a level playing field for women: gender bias has almost disappeared when it comes to using enterprise for social good. Others mentioned compassion, a strong desire to impact people’s lives rather than focusing solely on profit.

Statistics seem to support this argument. One in particular motivated me to ensure women’s rights were core to the Foundation’s work. It was when I heard that women reinvest 90 per cent of what they earn back into their families, according to the World Bank. Women build solid networks with their communities and as a result their families are wealthier and healthier. They are the ultimate economic accelerators, so it’s not surprising that the social enterprise model is so appealing to them.

The sector is clearly gaining momentum: 85 per cent of the experts we polled describe growth as fast, and a recent report by JP Morgan and Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) expects social entrepreneurship worldwide to receive a cash injection of almost $18 billion in 2016.

But there’s a big challenge ahead: funders, governments and the general public still see this fast growing sector as charitable work. In the words of one of the experts we polled: ‘just mentioning the word ‘social’ makes investors deaf, dumb and blind’.

It’s clear that this is an incredible loss of potential. At a time when the world faces unprecedented challenges we can only benefit from the courage and the ideas of these change-makers. Just imagine what could be achieved if they were encouraged to tackle global issues such as climate change or the refugee crisis. Now more than ever society at large needs a different point of view; social entrepreneurs might just be our best answer.

For the full results of the survey, visit poll2016.trust.org.


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training


Ruel Enriquez

Ruel Enriquez is a Assistant Manager at AVPN, leveraging his extensive expertise in website maintenance, content and project management. With a keen focus on delivering high-quality information to the public, Ruel plays a vital role in strengthening AVPN's online presence and managing related microsites. With over 20 years of experience in IT, Ruel possesses a deep understanding of software development, support, and project management. During his extensive tenure at Texas Instruments, spanning nearly a decade from 2009, Ruel honed his skills in spearheading IT-related projects with exceptional proficiency. Operating within fast-paced environments, he demonstrated his ability to effectively manage multiple projects simultaneously. Ruel's expertise in workflow optimization and project execution proved instrumental in achieving successful outcomes. Prior to joining Texas Instruments, Ruel held notable positions as a Mainframe professional, where he played a critical role in overseeing the daily activities of the production support team and provided invaluable technical mentorship. He successfully implemented bi-monthly production releases and actively participated in post-incident reviews, contributing to the ongoing enhancement of processes and systems. Ruel's professional strengths have been recognized through the CliftonStrengths assessment, highlighting his adaptability, ability to win others over (woo), effective communication, strategic thinking, and unwavering positivity. These qualities further solidify his value as a versatile and impactful team member. Outside of his professional endeavors, Ruel finds joy in embracing the concept of being a "flâneur," akin to someone who joyfully wanders through a bustling city, discovering new scenes and experiences along the way. Additionally, he seeks solace and rejuvenation through visits to the serene beaches of La Union, where he nurtures his aspiration to surf someday. His adventurous spirit and eagerness to embrace new experiences continually inspire him to explore and appreciate the diverse offerings life has to offer.

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