Women don't have to look to the West's models to make change.
Kavita Ramdas is president and chief executive officer of the Global Fund for Women, described as the largest foundation in the world supporting women's human rights. She is devoted to helping women to empower themselves through access to financial resources and health care and the institution of laws to prevent violence against women and girls and to advance women's participation in politics.
Listen to Ramdas' TEDTalk (approximately 18 minutes) as she describes inspiringly how three women in the non-Western world — a devout Muslim in Afghanistan who, despite being on the Taliban's "hit list", advocates for women's rights; a group of lesbian folksingers in Croatia who aim through traditional music and song to "create a world more accepting of difference"; and a taboo-breaking peace activist in Liberia — subvert the cultural traditions, rituals, and beliefs that sustain them to empower themselves and institute social, economic, political, and historic change in their countries.
The stories Ramdas relates are important. They inform us of what Ramdas calls "the rules about what it means to be female in this world", exemplify how "the personal is political" still, and demonstrate to women everywhere what is possible when one woman or a group of women decides to be a "spark of change". It is, Ramdas says, in the little stories, the individual stories, that "a radical epic is being written" to put every woman "on her way."