Empowered Women Spotlight: Cherie Blair
Posted on 03 March 2017
Same Sky's mission is made possible by the support of hundreds of empowered women around the world, united by the belief that all girls and women deserve the opportunity to excel. This week we're featuring long-time Same Sky Ambassador Cherie Blair, leader of the Queen’s Counsel and founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, in our Empowered Women Spotlight.
What does being an empowered woman mean to you?
Since establishing my Foundation in 2008, I’ve met many incredible women entrepreneurs whose stories are a powerful reminder that change is possible – that every day, in households across the globe, empowered women are seizing the reins.
Empowered women are able to participate in their economies on their own terms, and on equal terms to men. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women aims to provide women entrepreneurs with access to skills, technology, networks and capital by offering them a range of services, from online mentoring to training in key business skills.
Studies have shown that when you empower a woman, you empower an economy, and indeed a nation. This is because women invest 90% of their income back into their families and communities, benefitting both their immediate society and the wider economy.
Every successful woman has been shaped by the empowered women who came before them. Which women in your life were most influential in shaping your idea of success?
Growing up in Liverpool, I was raised by my mother and grandmother – two very strong women who taught me the value of being self-sufficient at a very early age. After my father left us when I was very little, my mother had to work incredibly hard to make ends meet. The example she set has influenced and guided me throughout my personal life and career.I also benefitted enormously from having the support of some wonderful mentors throughout my career – both men and women. Having the right mentor can help you build confidence, expand your networks and improve yourself in ways you may not have realised were possible. That’s what inspired me to set up a global online mentoring programme through my Foundation. The programme matches women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets with men and women mentors around the world. Time and time again we hear amazing stories of women who have overcome the barriers they face in their business with the help of their mentors, showing what a positive difference this type of support can make.
Cherie Blair wearing the Infinity Luxe necklace.
Women in the public eye are under constant scrutiny, often expected to uphold high standards of beauty while contending with sexism and other biases. This pressure to “achieve perfection” can damage young women, especially in their formative years. What advice would you give to support and embolden these young women?
All too often, I feel, society tells women that we can’t – that we can’t achieve success and happiness because of 'insurmountable barriers.' I want to tell these women that they can. I have seen proof of this, traveling around the world and meeting women from very different backgrounds, all of whom wanted to work and create better lives for themselves and their families. They faced a huge number of legal and cultural barriers to developing their business ideas, but they refused to take no for an answer. I realised that, with self-confidence and the right support, any woman can rise to success. So I would say to take no notice of the changing standards of “perfection” we are held to and remember that you can.
Among your accomplishments, which are you most proud of?
I value the fact that I did not have an easy start in life. The resilience that this instilled in me at an early age, and which inspired my passion for fighting for women’s rights, is something I hold very close.
I am also very proud of what I have achieved through the work of my Foundation. Since we launched in 2008, we have reached over 136,000 women in 90 countries across the world, which I feel is a real accomplishment.
What is your favorite piece of Same Sky jewelry?
I love all of my Same Sky jewelry, but my current favourite is the one I am wearing in this photo with my new grandchild. It’s a special piece, it’s both stylish and practical, and I wear it with pride.