“Every day should be Women’s Day”. Kicking off a celebration of International Women’s Day, Fumbi Chima, Chief Information Officer of Walmart Asia, set the tone for the morning on March 4th at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Diplomatic Courier’s annual summit this year featured discussion on the impact of top global women in politics and business.

The event, co-hosted this year with Women's Democracy Network, featured discussion on the impact of top global women in politics and business. From leaders in industry to elected political leaders, the speakers highlighted the great strides women have made in multiple fields. Much of the event was also focused on the work that still needs to be done. Ideas for the future of female representation, and ways to ensure equality and justice for future generations provoked a great deal of debate.

Following Ms. Chima’s speech, Jon Clifton, Managing Director of Gallup’s World Poll asked a key question to all the women present: “How are you doing?” Gallup has spent years interviewing women around the globe, finding out how they felt about their lives, jobs, security, and other measures. Having this data, Clifton said, is essential to determine not only what aspects of life are currently lacking for women, but also what needs to be done to ensure that the gender gap continues to close. Although presenting negative figures regarding pay and safety, he shared a piece of positive news as well. Overall, Gallup found that women rate their lives slightly better than men, which they felt can be attributed to the optimistic nature of women in many parts of the world, that despite hardships satisfaction in life can still be found.

Global women, including Dr. Joyce Banda, the former President of Malawi, focused on women’s political participation and economic empowerment. As the guests debated and took questions, a common theme occurred during conversation on the future of women in politics. As far as women have come, true and meaningful progress cannot be fully realized without the support of men. According to Dr. Jorida Tabaku, a Member of the Albanian Parliament, participation is the key for getting women’s voices heard, and having the cooperation of both men and women.

Being a true leader, remarked Dr. Banda, means not only fighting for your own representation, but also mentoring youth so that they are able to participate. For many of the panelists, the desire to make consequential change prompted involvement in politics. A lack of women in government was a driving factor for Wafa Mustafa, a Member of the House of Representatives in Jordan. She noted that encouraging women to run, and to vote for women in office is essential in promoting women’s issues, and making them part of the overall discussion.

While political participation is critical, the economic strength of women sparked powerful conversation as well. A question for the panel that generated a lot of discussion was about the effects of being wives and mothers on a woman’s drive for success.  Erdenechimeg Luvsan, a Member of the Mongolian Parliament, explained that success in any field and creating a family shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. A sentiment carried forward throughout the talk, especially in regard to economic standing. Selima Ahmad, with the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the need for economic equality but mentioning that “Women don’t want to be seen as a charity. We want to be seen as equal”.

One of the most powerful anecdotes of the day came from Tarja Halonen, the former President of Finland. She recalled a moment when a young boy came up to her, asking if a man could ever become the president, because it was “a woman’s job”. As Cindy McCain closed out the conference, she repeated that story, illustrating that seeing women as leaders shouldn’t be an outlier. McCain also presented the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick award to President Halonen and Oyun Sanjaasuren, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Environment of Mongolia. Their contributions in promoting the political participation and empowerment of women were highlighted as inspiration for women in both the present and the future.

Although International Women’s Day occurs only once per year, the March 4th conference made it abundantly clear that every day is a struggle for women to achieve equality and recognition around the world. But as the panels of speakers and award recipients made even clearer, is that the strength and determination of women is unrivaled. 

Special note: Diplomatic Courier would like to thank the co-host, Women's Democracy Network, partners and sponsors: Gallup, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, GB Group Global, Global Voice Hall, Walmart, and Ethan Allen for their support and generous contributions.

Videos: To watch videos from the day as well as exclusive interviews, visit our Youtube channel.

But it’s difficult to think about value when we have no buoy for understanding it outside our traditional lenses: for example, our time, our job, and what others tell us they are worth in cash. This, largely, is the world’s paradigm for value so far. But understanding what value really means changes everything—and will be at the center of the decentralized revolution in global coordination that will unfold over the next decade. So, where do we begin?

Let’s start with gold.

Gold is an inherent value. When backing a market, gold allows us to grow a balanced economy well into the trillions. But why does it allow for massive stable markets to form around it? It is gold's permanence that creates stability. We understand that gold will always have value, because it is inherent in all of us, not just in one part of the world, but everywhere, not just today, but tomorrow and for the long haul.

In the 1930s when the gold standard was removed, we learned that the U.S. dollar didn’t need gold to back its economy to flourish. We learned that it was just a symbol for U.S. citizens to decentralize their coordination around the United States economy.

It turns out, common agreement is a philosophy for building shared economy.

And so it seems inherent value is a marker for us to begin exploring what the future could look like—a future beyond gold and the existing realm of credit. And so what else has inherent value? Is education as valuable as gold? What about healthcare? What about a vote that can’t be tampered with? What about an ID that can’t be stolen or erased? What about access to nutrition or clean water? You will find value everywhere you look.

It turns out, we’ve already done the legwork necessary to uncover the most elemental inherent values: The Sustainable Development Goals are commitments grown out of the drive to bring to life basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the closest possible social contract we have to a global, common agreement.

We’ve already agreed, as a global community, to ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality education. We’ve already agreed to empower all women and girls, to ensure pure and clean water access for all, to promote health at all stages of life, and to end hunger.

We’ve already agreed.

Our agreements are grounded in deep value centers that are globally shared, but undervalued and unfulfilled. The reason for this is our inability to quantify intangible value. All of these rich, inherent values are still nebulous and fragmented in implementation—largely existing as ideals and blueprints for deep, globally shared common agreement. That is, we all agree education, health, and equality have value, but we lack common units for understanding who and who is not contributing value—leaving us to fumble in our own, uncoordinated siloes as we chase the phantoms of impact. In essence, we lack common currencies for our common agreements.

Now we find ourselves at the nexus of the real paradigm of Blockchain, allowing us to fuse economics with inherent value by proving the participation of some great human effort, then quantifying the impact of that effort in unforgeable and decentralized ledgers. It allows us to build economic models for tomorrow, that create wholly new markets and economies for and around each of the richest of human endeavors.

In late 2017 at the height of the Bitcoin bubble, without individual coordination, planning, or the help of institutions, almost $1 trillion was infused into blockchain markets. This is remarkable, and the revolution has only just begun. When you realize that Blockchain is in a similar stage of development as the internet pre-AOL, you will see a glimpse of the global transformation to come.

Only twice in the information age have we had such a paradigm shift in global infrastructure reform—the computer and the internet. While the computer taught us how to store and process data, the Internet built off that ability and furthered the conversation by teaching us how to transfer that information. Blockchain takes another massive step forward—it builds off the internet, adding to the story of information storage and transfer—but, it teaches us a new, priceless and not yet understood skill: how to transfer value.

This third wave kicked off with a rough start—as happens with the birth of new technologies and their corresponding liberties. Blockchain has, thus far, been totally unregulated. Many, doubtless, have taken advantage. A young child, stretching their arms for the first couple times might knock over a cookie jar or two. Eventually, however, they learn to use their faculties—for evil or for good. As such, while it’s wise to be skeptical at this phase in blockchain’s evolution, it’s important not to be blind to its remarkable implications in a post-regulated world, so that we may wield its faculties like a surgeon’s scalpel—not for evil or snake-oil sales, but for the creation of more good, for the flourishing of commonwealth.

But what of the volatility in blockchain markets? People agree Bitcoin has value, but they don’t understand why they are in agreement, and so cryptomarkets fluctuate violently.  Stable blockchain economies will require new symbolic gold standards that clearly articulate why someone would agree to support each market, to anchor common agreement with stability. The more globally shared these new value standards, the better.

Is education more valuable than gold? What about healthcare or nutrition or clean water?

We set out in 2018 to prove a hypothesis—we believe that if you back a cryptocurrency economy with a globally agreed upon inherent value like education, you can solve for volatility and stabilize a mature long lasting cryptomarket that awards everyone who adds value to that market in a decentralized way without the friction of individual partnerships.

What if education was a new gold standard?

And what if this new Learning Economy had protocols to award everyone who is helping to steward the growth of global education?

Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Blockchain allows us to measure all of those unique learning pathways, online and in classrooms, into immutable blockchain Learning Ledgers.

By quantifying the true value of education, a whole economy can be built around it to pay students to learn, educators to create substantive courses, and stewards to help the Learning Economy grow. It was designed to provide a decentralized way for everyone adding value to global education to coordinate around the commonwealth without the friction of individual partnerships. Imagine the same for healthcare, nutrition, and our environment?

Imagine a world where we can pay refugees to learn languages as they find themselves in foreign lands, a world where we can pay those laid off by the tide of automation to retrain themselves for the new economy, a world where we can pay the next generation to prepare themselves for the unsolved problems of tomorrow.

Imagine new commonwealth economies that alleviate the global burdens of poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness. Commonwealths that orbit inherent values, upheld by immutable blockchain protocols that reward anyone in the ecosystem stewarding the economy—whether that means feeding the hungry, providing aid for the global poor, delivering mosquito nets in malaria-ridden areas, or developing transformative technologies that can provide a Harvard-class education to anyone in the world willing to learn.

These worlds are not out of reach—we are only now opening our eyes to the horizons of blockchain, decentralized coordination, and new gold standards. Even though coordination is the last of the seventeen sustainable development goals, when solved, its tide will lift for the rest—a much-needed rocket fuel for global prosperity.

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.”  —George Washington
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.