Stephanie Oduro-Mensah:Making Changes in the Next She Era

This July, a 2016 Yenching Scholar Stephanie Oduro-Mensah (Ghana, University of Ghana) participated in the 2017 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship hosted by Alibaba Group in Hangzhou. Below is her reflections on this experience as a panelist. 

Being a global volunteer and social entrepreneur, the 2017 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship which was hosted by Alibaba Group in Hangzhou this July offered me a priceless and memorable experience with high profile personalities and successful women around the globe. Indeed, I found myself motivated to continue advocating for youth volunteerism in identifying and addressing societal issues.


Participating as a Yenching Scholar and one of the Panellists on the ‘The Next She·Era Generation’ discussion at the SHE·ERA dubbed session on 10th July, I highlighted on what keeps millennials like myself focused in a world of constant overflow of information and the need for inclusion of women in making societal change. Many important yet interesting topics affecting women were discussed with insightful ideas from myself and three other panel guests from Croatia, China and Iran. We wrapped it up with the ‘Rapid Fire’ questions which gave a thrilling atmosphere with guests excited about the different opinions we shared.



Speakers at the Conference included Dr. Jim Yong Kim (President of the World Bank Group) who gave the keynote address on ‘The Transformative Force of the Economically Empowered Woman’. Dr. Jim Yong Kim commended the contribution of several governments in the fight against gendered poverty and Jack Ma’s innovation which is a major platform for women in e-commerce. Ms. Lakshmi Puri (Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women) also gave a Plenary Address on ‘A Global Perspective on Women and Entrepreneurship’ and elaborated on the challenges women entrepreneurs face particularly in the developing world. Jack Ma (founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group) also mentioned the progress of women in Alibaba Group.



I was fired up for the breakout sessions on 11th July which was full of experience sharing, interesting talks on women in the era of change, and socializing with Chinese and international counterparts. This is a great initiative by the Alibaba Group in recognizing and awarding women entrepreneurs worldwide and I believe this encourages more women to get involved in making the change they want to see.  

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