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The 36×36 project has officially commenced! This exciting initiative brings together femxle leaders from around the world to co-create a revolutionary architecture for the global economy. 

The neoliberal economic “story” has proliferated around the globe for decades, legitimising a huge concentration of wealth and power and the destruction of our environment. This story, based on “trickle-down”, free-market ideas, was crafted by a group of 36 men in 1947, at a resort in Switzerland. Despite the widely recognized failures of this economic ideology, it continues to dominate the way that we organise and govern systems of production and exchange. 

The Schumacher Institute, Collective Leadership Institute and Wellbeing Economy Alliance collaborated around the exciting notion that if 36 men could shape the old economic system, womxn could come together to transform it and create the new economy we all need. 

The three partner organisations were energised by the idea of a network of femxle leaders – a network that, far from being a closed shop like the “boys’ clubs” of old, would be diverse, collaborative and inclusive from the start. The first 36 womxn would be just the beginning of a femxle revolution in economic thinking – hence the idea of 36 by 36: a multiplier effect. 

“Up until the 21st century women’s voices were almost absent in the economic and finance discourse and decision making.  This project is a step in the direction for women to have an equal say.  It is absolutely crucial for the future of people and planet.” – Vala Ragnardottir, Schumacher Institute

After months of project development, outreach and dozens of incredible applications, the 36×36 project has now brought together a cohort of impressive womxn involved in a diverse range of pursuits to co-create this new vision. From 24 countries and a hugely diverse range of backgrounds, these womxn are already leading the way to a new economic system. Together, their change-making power multiples – find out who they are here.

What will they do?

The womxn will participate in a certified leadership program, interrogating the dimensions of a new economic system and what it will take to get there. They will host a series of public events to bring wider knowledge into the process, and they will collaborate on their shared challenges to advance their own work., All of this will culminate in a visionary manifesto that will lay out what is needed to change our economic system. 

 “Womxn have been in the forefront of naming the problems with prevailing economic thinking and practice. It is time that they take the lead in reinventing the purpose of economy: caring and serving life on this planet. And it is time that they become the drivers of transformations.” – Petra Kuenkel, Collective Leadership Institute

How can I get involved?

Over the next 9 months, these womxn will embark on a journey together to spark a femxle-led revolution in economic thinking. We invite all of you into this process: the programme and manifesto aim to reflect the wider new economic movement. 

“Economics continues to be dominated by old, white men and if we are serious about rebalancing the world, we must also rebalance the economics discipline. 36×36 provides an opportunity to build a transformative network, demonstrating that a different economic system is not only possible but just a few strategic decisions away” Amanda Janoo, WEAll 

To stay updated about the progress of 36×36, and hear about ways to get involved, check out the following:

36×36 Website

36×36 Newsletter

WEAll Citizens Platform, “36×36 Femxle Economic Revolutionaries group”

(WEAll Citizens > Groups > “36×36 Femxle Economic Revolutionaries”)

By Lisa Hough-Stewart

Last week WEAll was delighted to partner with Thomson Reuters Foundation to deliver a lunch event on wellbeing economics as part of their flagship Trust Conference in London.

Energy and ideas were flowing as a packed room full of leaders from the worlds of business, development and philanthropy (and beyond) discussed how we can better work together to transform the economic system.

WEAll Executive Chair Stewart Wallis inspired participants with a short introduction, explaining that “he’s been trying to change the world for a long time” and that what he had learned from over 50 years of work was that:

“Where a cause is both just & urgent, and we collaborate across barriers, it’s possible to achieve the seemingly impossible”

After Stewart outlined what the vision of a wellbeing economy looked like, participants round the table shared their dreams for what would change in the next ten years to help bring this about. Some named equality for all; others talked about decision making and monetary flows being based on solutions not problems; and we shared ideas about bringing all voices to the conversation and changing power structures.

It was clear that the vision for the world we want to live in is rich and shared by many – how we get there is less clear. This is where WEAll comes in – and Stewart invited everyone to participate as members or in some other capacity with our work.

The event was a great starting point for new ideas and relationships, and we are excited to build on this strong beginning.

It came as part of the two-day Trust Conference, which showcased innovative examples of pioneering business practices around the world and explored solutions to human rights challenges.

One highlight was a celebration of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership, with video clips of leaders Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland helping raise awareness of this important project.

I was personally incredibly impressed with two businesses in particular that we heard about: Nik’s Fudo in Geneva makes feminist economics a reality, providing business opportunities to migrant women enabling them to share their cooking skills and amazing food. Annie Cannons in the Bay Area trains and employs survivors of human trafficking in their cutting edge coding and tech company.

Both of these examples give me hope that innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, feminism and kindness can come together to support the type of future businesses that should one day be the norm. This is a wellbeing economy in action.

Wellbeing economics featured prominently in media coverage of the event, with Nicola Sturgeon’s TED talk being quoted:
“The goal of economic policy should be collective wellbeing: how happy and healthy a population is, not just how wealthy a population is.”