Muslim women are using social media more than ever before to reach out to and gather with other like-minded folks. There are groups like the International Muslimah Artists Network (IMAN) and Creative Muslim Women (both of which I’m a member) that are really pushing the limits of what we can all achieve when we put our heads together.
There are platforms like Creative Ummah that are creating egalitarian ways of knowledge sharing. There is now also a niche crowdfunding site, LaunchGood, that is allowing important humanitarian projects and really cutting-edge cross-cultural art and publishing ideas (like Islamic manga, for example) to flourish.
Building Mastermind Groups
I’m seeing some of the absolute mastermind-level women leaders of art and publishing participating in free knowledge-sharing across continents and cultures in ways that are innovative and efficient. We’re teaching online classes, writing e-books, and holding free webinars. I don’t even get a sense of competition, I really only see lots of positive encouragement and support from fellow artists as we collaborate to improve ourselves, assist each other in reaching new heights, and integrating new media and technology-based resources with our traditional art training.
Valuing Creative Entrepreneurs
The biggest societal challenge facing many contemporary entrepreneurs is the undervaluing of our endeavors in general. Many artists and authors work day-jobs where they are expected to extremely creative and original on a daily basis but are hardly being compensated by their efforts, this leaves them underfunded and drained to approach their own artistic pursuits.
Creativity is as much a skill as anything else and artists need to set more appropriate values for their work. Until artists, writers, crafters, and other creatives step up and start charging more for their efforts and demand a living wage like the rest of the professionals, they are going to continue to suffer, and their work will suffer too!
This is especially true in countries with already astronomically high unemployment rates, like North African countries, and astronomically high cost-of-living, like Pakistan. When creative jobs are out-sourced to these areas, and workers give 110% effort at a 10% pay rate of what the job would pay in other counties – only the artists and writers suffer, and it cheapens all creative endeavors.
Supporting Each Others Efforts
I think women have really reached a tipping point where we have come to terms with the fact that most of the wealth of the world is concentrated in the hands of a few that some would argue don’t deserve it. We’re looking at ways to grow our businesses, create supportive knowledge-sharing communities, and support each other on a grassroots level so that we can all grow our businesses, do more good in the world and turn the tables a bit.