Update! Read about Fellow Janelle Orsi, elected in 2014, and Angelou Ezeilo, elected in 2016.

What do Wangari Maathai, John Muir, Susan B. Anthony, and Muhammad Yunus have in common?

They were social entrepreneurs, who pioneered innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems. With ambition and persistence, they tackled major social issues and offered new ideas for wide-scale change. Filling gaps left by the government or business sectors, they sought to solve problems by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps.

Today, the world is facing unprecedented environmental challenges and we need social entrepreneurs to bring new ideas to light (and to scale) before it’s too late. Women are poised to offer solutions, but they aren’t getting the support they need to take their concepts to the next level.

Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media, asked “Where are the Women Entrepreneurs?” She cited five organizations that offer fellowships for social entrepreneurs that have seen a sharp decrease in the number of women applicants and, as a result, fewer women fellows selected over the last two years. Women made up as low as 17 percent of some domestic fellowship classes.

We aim to shift this disparity.

Rachel’s Network and Ashoka — the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs — have teamed up to uncover environmental innovation and promote women who are pioneering this change. Our collaboration will focus exclusively on identifying and supporting women entrepreneurs who are addressing our most serious environmental challenges. In 2014, we aim to elect (at least) one woman through an Ashoka & Rachel’s Network Fellowship. The chosen candidate(s) will receive a three-year stipend, be promoted through Ashoka events and media, and become a member of Ashoka’s distinguished network of entrepreneurs, who advise and support one another in scaling their impact. In addition, our search will help build Ashoka’s pipeline of women leaders and environmental entrepreneurs poised for potential future Fellowships, and help shift the gender disparity in fellowship programs.

You can get involved!

Nominate a Fellowship candidate: Members may email the candidate’s name and website to Rachel’s Network for submission. Who are we looking for? We’re seeking women in the US who have a new, knock-out idea that’s systems-changing; who are practical visionaries with the creativity and skill to address the problem at a national level; who are working full-time to develop this idea and are obsessed with realizing big impact.

Help spread the word: Share this web page with other nominators, including your fellow leaders in the environmental community.

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