SHE-CAN identifies high-achieving young women in Cambodia, Liberia, and Guatemala. After a rigorous recruitment process, scholars are matched with a team of dedicated mentors and apply to college in the U.S.
SHE-CAN scholars win full-ride scholarships to top colleges, and while in the U.S., they participate in leadership training and exclusive internship opportunities.
After graduation, SHE-CAN scholars return home ready to leapfrog into positions of power and empower other women. Since 2011, we’ve helped 103 women win over $27M in scholarships.
Why Women Leaders are Critical
Extensive research shows women leaders have a positive impact on many systemic global challenges—things like fostering lasting peace, economic prosperity, and human rights. Evidence shows that including women in the peace process boosts the probability of an agreement lasting at least two years by 20%, and the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years by more than one-third. Women in leadership positions have allocated policy resources in a way that better promotes human rights. For example, climate change is an issue that disproportionately burdens women and girls in the developing world. Therefore, many women in leadership positions have placed an importance on advocating for more environmentally sustainable policies. This has been the case in nations all over the globe.
But to become the leaders who impact these issues, women need access to the high-level education necessary to compete in a male-dominated, often discriminating world. This is why most female Nobel Peace Prize winners, high-ranking ministers, parliamentarians, acclaimed activists, and heads of influential NGO’S in the developing world hold a U.S. or western degree. In today’s reality, it’s basically an unstated requirement to become a serious contender for most global leadership positions.
Unfortunately, the large global investment in girls’ education stops way too soon—after high school. Many of the world’s best and brightest students have no way to attend college and reach their full potential as leaders. As a result, leadership in these countries remains mostly male and concentrated within the elite class.
A SHE-CAN scholar and future leader in Guatemala talks about the importance of female leadership
SHE-CAN began recruiting in Guatemala in the fall of 2021. Women in Guatemala, especially indigenous women, are severely underrepresented at all levels of leadership and decision making. Much of this is due to the fact that they have little to no opportunity to earn a college education, let alone an opportunity to achieve an influential leadership role.
Please listen to one of our incoming Guatemalan scholars, Elvira (Syracuse University ’27), a very special indigenous young woman, talk about women’s leadership in her country. Elvira gave this speech as part of her application to SHE-CAN — a requirement for all candidates during recruitment.