World Woman Foundation, under the leadership of CEO Rupa Dash, brings its global summit to the Capital City – introducing an initiative to impact women’s leadership roles in Arkansas and around the world.
By Jillian McGehee | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair by Juli Waits with Red Beauty Lounge | Makeup by Kaity Knoff with Red Beauty Lounge
A global organization, World Woman Foundation believes all women have the potential to create meaningful change. CEO Rupa Dash introduces its platform in Arkansas – launching an initiative to boost its regional and international impact and spotlight the collective power of women. With the mission to celebrate gender equality across industry sectors – the arts, business, science and technology – World Woman Foundation will host the World Woman Summit at the Clinton Presidential Center to showcase key gender equality issues as a global movement.
Rupa, an entertainment entrepreneur by trade, boasts an impressive film and leadership resume. She uses that experience to advance the foundation’s goals. “We advocate for partnering men and women in equal ratio on our advisory board, panel, leadership council and also external board to stand by our mission,” she explains. “It’s not about equality, but harmony, to solve the world’s biggest problems with shared interests. We believe equality for women is progress through global movement for gender harmony today.”
Through strategic mentoring programs across all industry sectors, WWF provides more opportunities for women to succeed and share experiences with peers. Rupa shares some relevant statistics, highlighting the organization’s critical role in Arkansas. Women in Arkansas are less likely to be in the labor force and are underrepresented in the state legislature, she notes. “If current trends continue, women in Arkansas will not see equal pay until the year 2082. Currently, 41 percent of single mothers with children in Arkansas live below the poverty level.”
The organization’s Global Mentorship Program is designed to facilitate economic solutions through principles that inform and inspire women to flourish. The program, as it accelerates women’s leadership roles in Arkansas, is expected to be replicated across the U.S. with expansion plans in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, Rupa notes.
The foundation is headquartered in Los Angeles, but for the past nine months, Rupa says, they have been considering locations in the mid-U.S. to launch their global initiative. Little Rock will serve as the base for mid-U.S. operations. “Little Rock was a very intentional choice, as it is truly a global village, hosting this global conference to send out a global message at an important time,” Rupa explains. “I am so excited to partner with a community of heart-centered leaders to make an impact together locally and globally.”
Before WWF, Rupa worked for more than 10 years in the international film marketing business with Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers in India. Her interest turned toward gauging the impact film has on society, which led her to Brillstein Entertainment Partners in L.A. to learn more about crossover films and their influence on global issues. “This experience led to my personal mission of changing the film protagonist in entertainment,” Rupa says. “In the meantime, I was appointed as the first Indian woman to become the executive managing director of the largest women’s business network recognized by the White House.”
In 2014, she assumed her current role with WWF. “With my background in entertainment, we began our mission to change the portrayal of women in cinema,” Rupa explains. “The program was launched in strategic partnership with International Film Federation Board and SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), which led to the launch of the Film de Femmes Program under the Global Mentorship Program to support women filmmakers solving global issues through the art of story-telling.”
The inaugural World Woman Summit welcomes anyone interested in joining the global movement as an advocate for key gender equality issues, Rupa notes. “The conference is also ideal for community leaders, professionals and business leaders who are interested in entrepreneurship, innovation and filmmaking – the experts who are interested in contributing to the Global Mentorship Program and are ready to give back to the community.”