Yesterday ten thousand Londoners from all faiths, nationalities and backgrounds came together in Trafalgar Square to watch The Salesman - the incredibly powerful exploration of revenge and forgiveness from the award-winning Iranian film director, Asghar Farhadi - followed by a performance by Damon Albarn and the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians.
We seem to be moving to an age that values access over ownership. In this shift towards experiences rather than possessions, a "sharing economy" spurned by the technology sector, is growing. Millennials increasingly stream music, films and TV, rather than buying physical copies. We download books and audiobooks to our phones. We rent out our homes, spare bedrooms, and take rides in other regular people's cars.
As social enterprise continues to grow at pace, we've seen the rhetoric shift from volume to one around scale. Whilst the concept of 'unicorns' (billion dollar valuation businesses), growth hacking and scaling is common speak in the technology field we are seeing more and more discussion on the concept of scale emerge in the world of social enteprise too.
There are 757million illiterate people in the world right now. And this is not a developing world problem: one in five children in the UK, or one in four in the US, leave primary school unable to read and write properly. Illiteracy is not a sexy or exciting topic. It's not confronting in its raw emotional power... People aren't directly dying or overtly suffering of illiteracy. As far as global issues go, it may feel a little vanilla. But when you look at the relationship between illiteracy and most other global issues, a statistical pattern emerges.
We walk two hours through the rainforest to reach the rubber tapper's house, exploring a day in his life. It's beautiful though exhausting. Jaguars hidden, the magic is in the detail. A tree lined by mushrooms. Butterfly shaped leaves. A tree wrapped around another, a lover's embrace. Patterns of holes in leaves like a design studio stencil. With the kindest face and a rifle on his back, the rubber tapper leads me into the forest to show me how he extracts rubber from Seringueira trees.
I could spend the rest of this blog reeling out the stats that prove women still aren't commanding the same wages as men, still aren't holding as many senior positions and in countries across the world still treated as second-class citizens, but you've heard them all before. Instead, alongside WIE, we're going to do something about it. Today, at around 1pm, 80 women from the worlds of politics, fashion, media and business will be sitting down for the ultimate ladies who lunch event.