Engage - Claremont Lincoln University

The Need to Transform Women’s Role Is Critical

What happens when you empower women?

Not just socially. Not just culturally. But economically.

What happens when women are socially, culturally, and economically empowered all over the world? In work places, in communities, and in homes?

Jennifer Lonergan thinks she may have an answer for that.

Empowering Women as Social Entrepreneurs

Jennifer Lonergan is a social entrepreneur, and founder and Executive Director of ArtistriSud.org, an NGO which empowers women through social entrepreneurship training.  She is also a new faculty member at Claremont Lincoln University. She has been called an empathic action hero.

Lonergan describes the women who go through her training as such:

“Women who first arrive in our training self-identify as mothers and women.  After the program, their identity moves to leaders and entrepreneurs . . . They have gone from looking only at themselves in a small way to seeing what is possible.”

Lonergan will take her social entrepreneurship skills into the classroom beginning January 2017.

The exciting part of her class will be that the students will have the opportunity of traveling with her to Chile to implement a project for ArtistriSud.

The NGO works with artisans who are making crafts, but who need training in selling their products. Her volunteers will teach skills in entrepreneurship. The students from her class, Action Design for Change, will have the opportunity of designing and implementing an assessment project.  When they return, they will prepare documents, reports, and media that can be used by the NGO in seeking funding or philanthropic support.

The Importance of Empowerment

Lonergan states the importance of women empowerment and the work that students accomplish with her NG, saying, “In the developing world, where the basics of food, education and health are at stake, the need to transform women’s role is critical. When women are economically empowered, they are able  to exert a powerful influence over their own lives, their families and their communities, and effect positive social change. Making this happen starts–and ends–with daring to care.”

Not only is Lonergan blazing paths for women entrepreneurs in Chile, she’ll also be blazing a new path at Claremont Lincoln University: her class in Chile will be the first study abroad program for the university.

Listen to what else Jennifer Lonergan has to say about empowering women in her TEDx talk below:

Want to hear more from Lonergan? She was also recently interviewed by another faculty member in one of our previous blogs.


Guest Contributor

We invite featured guest contributors to write a submission for Engage. Learn about the featured guest contributor at the end of each individual blog post.

Want to be a guest contributor for Engage? We and our readers would love to read your submissions on driving positive social change. Contact us at info@claremontlincoln.edu.

Claremont Core

Claremont Lincoln University


  • Women are approximately half the population and it would be a waste of resources not to empower them with education and work opportunities. In ancient Iran (Persia) before the invasion of Arab Muslims and forced conversions from Zoroastrian religion (founded by Iranian Prophet Zarathushtra over 4,500 years ago as a monotheistic revealed faith, which was the majority religion for over a a thousand years during three Persian empires from sixth century B.C.E. through seventh century C.E.) women enjoyed equality with men in society based on the religious belief that both men and women are needed to fight evil in the world and promote happiness and progress.

    After my Zoroastrian ancestors came to India to escape religious persecution from Muslim rulers in Iran, they had to live according to the rules of Indian society where women did not get much education and did not work outside of home. Although my maternal grandmother had become a midwife nurse studying many medical books and worked at a hospital in Bombay, my mother who was born in a smaller town (where my grandmother married) was pulled out of school after fourth grade and taught art and music at home. After her marriage to my father in Bombay, she was not allowed to work outside, so she brought home sewing work to earn money to support the family and save money for children’s education in private schools and helped send my sister to college in spite of opposition from father and relatives. In India’s cities today women have equal opportunity to get education and careers, but in rural areas they might still face social stigma.

  • Maneck,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I remember my father saying to me you don’t need to go to graduate school, you won’t be using what you learn anyway. That was in Texas. So I can imagine the stories we could hear from so many others in the world.

    If someone would like to share a challenge you have faced as a female, please share with us here.

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