Cairo, Egypt

Ten women Fellows from around the world connected around their work with and as women and identified potential avenues for collaboration. WISE was founded as a result of this convening. For the next 7 years, WISE operated mainly in the Arab World.

February 2018
Bellagio, Italy

Ashoka brought together 19 system entrepreneurs from around the world committed to gender equity and women’s empowerment to the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy, in order to explore the intersection between gender, new leadership, and systems change in an Everyone a Changemaker world.

October 2018
San Francisco, USA

The global soft launch of WISE took place in San Francisco. Three Fellows from the US and several international partners convened for a dialogue on the challenges women innovators face and a discussion on how they overcome these obstacles.

March 2019
Cairo, Egypt

WISE was launched on a formal scale at the Arab World Social Innovation Forum (AWSIF) in Cairo. AWSIF, which was produced by Ashoka Arab World, welcomed over 300 guests from around the world and hosted discussions centered around defining social impact and rethinking success from a woman social entrepreneur’s lens. The panel dedicated to the launch of WISE featured Ashoka Fellows Edit Schlaffer, Fida Abu Turky, Hasina Kharbhih (India), and Morgan Dixon (US) as well as Brittany Boettcher, senior program manager of the Skoll Foundation.  

The following day, we held an Ashoka Innovation Lab aimed at encouraging co-creation among and between Fellows and select business and social partners. This also served as an opportunity for us to highlight the launch of WISE and encourage co-creation among our women Ashoka Fellows and central partners who joined the Forum.

April 2019
Oxford, UK

We brought WISE to the Skoll World Forum, hosting a discussion delving into the concept of “scaling deep” – i.e., initiatives that not only scale to other countries and more beneficiaries but projects that shift mindsets and transform cultures, narratives, and social norms.  The discussion included Rebecca Eastmond, co-founder and CEO of Greenwood Place; and Ashoka Fellows Sue Riddlestone, chief executive of Bioregional; and Regina Honu, CEO of Soronko Solutions. 

Advisory Board

The WISE Advisory Board is a group of practitioners, thought leaders, media mavens, and other experts from different backgrounds who convene twice per year to lend their expertise to the WISE movement and the programming we implement.


Our team is based at the Ashoka Arab World office in Cairo, Egypt. However, our movement is made up of colleagues, partners, stakeholders, and women social entrepreneurs from over 90 countries around the world.