A tribute by Lili Forouraghi, friend of WoWE

A tribute by Lili Forouraghi, friend of WoWE 150 150 Safo

Women’s History Month

Celebrating Women Changemakers in our Lives, Communities, and Organizations

Celebrating Women Changemakers

My name is Lili Forouraghi. I am a board member and friend of Women of the World Endowment. As I reflect on International Women’s Day and all the Women Changemakers around the globe who have paved the path for a more equitable society for all of us, I think about my own late mother’s travails. Today, I am sharing her story and donating in her honor to UNHCR, the UN Refugee agency that is helping to provide assistance and ensure those displaced find safety in welcoming arms in this moment of crisis.

At age 18 in 1950s Iran, my mother,  Habibeh Bagherzadeh, defied all tradition and what was conventional.  She completed her secondary school and was expected to get married to someone introduced by the family.  But she rejected every introduction. She made the case and resisted every objection raised by her parents.  She found encouragement and support by her older brother who was at Lloyd’s of London.

In a world where there was no internet or cell phones, without speaking a word of English, she did her own research to find a midwifery program in London and a women’s dormitory where she spent the next 8 years of her life. Without any English fluency, she traveled to a foreign land – only to see her parents 8 years later when she returned to Tehran as midwife and specialist in premature babies and secured a job at the hospital managed by the British and Americans who settled in Iran after WWII.  She did finally get married and have her own children, but that was on her terms, and at 27, late for a woman of that generation.

My mothers first passport photo

The courage, resilience and persistence that my mother led her life by are shared by so many women and should be celebrated every day.

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Women of the World Endowment is an investment non-profit focused on centralizing women as economic, environmental, and social changemakers while delivering market-rate, risk-adjusted returns and impact at scale. Every day, WoWE invests in, advances, and amplifies women changemakers. We thank Lili, the WoWE community, and everyone who celebrates women changemakers.

Women’s leadership on the frontlines of our homes, healthcare, businesses, and country leadership has been exceptional in the context of the accelerating challenges the world faces, while at the same time testing women as they have borne the brunt of lay-offs, childcare, and more.  We can collectively acknowledge that we ALL stand on the shoulders of Women Changemakers.

During Women’s History Month we are taking a personal approach to celebrating the rich contributions of women in our lives, communities, and economies. We hope you will join us in honoring the women who have made it possible to be the change we want to see in the world –  those we work with, those who inspire us, and those who have championed our success.

Throughout the month we will continue to share stories and celebrate the extraordinary contributions of women changemakers who have and continue to effect lasting positive change.  If you would like to share your story and the organizations you are donating to with the WoWE community please send a note to Jennifer Brooker and we will amplify. If you would like to learn more about how to engage with WoWE  and support women Changemakers, click here.

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