Gender Equality

Celebrating the Gifts of Femininity, with Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors, The Feminine Revolution

The Feminine Revolution is a new book that boldly declares, feminine values are powerful. Run like a girl. Fight like a girl. Throw like a girl. Author Catherine Connors notes, “If you finish any sentence with ‘like a girl,’ it’s rarely a positive one.” And yet, as she and co-author Amy Stanton have discovered, in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, feminine qualities can be superpowers. Connors and Stanton explore the gifts of femininity in their new book, The Feminine Revolution: 21 Ways to Ignite the Power of Your Femininity for a Brighter Life and a Better World. Chapter by chapter, they dare women to be emotional, own their…

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The Empowerment Bag: A Bag to End Human Trafficking, with Vaishali Umrikar

The Empowerment Bag is an eco-friendly brand of bags, that employs women at risk of sex trafficking. Vaishali Umrikar is a passionate social entrepreneur who is committed to fighting human trafficking. While she was in high school, she read the book, The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek. This book awakened her to the realities of modern-day human trafficking. She became involved in anti-trafficking advocacy groups throughout high school and college. Since then, Vaishali has worked with the Australian Government Office for Women, Chicago Probation Sex Offender Unit, and Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. After graduating from college and beginning her corporate career, Vaishali realized her…

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Hope, Cookies, and the End of Relationship Violence, with Junita Flowers, Junita’s Jar

Junita’s Jar donates a portion of their profits to end relationship violence. One year ago, Junita Flowers said, “Clarity comes while you are working.” And, she is always working. So, it comes as no surprise that she launched a new brand, Junita’s Jar. They offer new products, including 3 oz snack packs. She has a new overarching message, #HopeMunchesOn. And her new job title is “Hope Muncher in Chief.” Still, she remains true to her mission. She brings hope to women experiencing relationship violence. “Junita’s Jar is focused on creating meaningful conversations that foster education and awareness around relationship violence,” Junita explains. A portion of profits from each purchase of…

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This App Launched a Female Solidarity Movement, with Aine Mulloy, GirlCrew

GirlCrew is a social networking app for women to make new friends. It seems that female solidarity has never been more important. Women still struggle to gain meaningful power over their lives and choices. One in five women will experience violence at the hand of their intimate partner. Systemic gender discrimination still exists. Even though women make up 50.8% of the US population, only 39% of all managerial roles are held by women. When it comes to CEO positions, only 4.2% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Aine Mulloy of GirlCrew was born for a time like this. “It has always been important to me to be part…

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From #MeToo to #HeForShe, with Julie Kratz, Pivot Point

Julie Kratz is the author of One: How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality. Our 24-hour news cycle is filled with thousands of short-lived moments: a school shooting; government corruption; crisis in the Middle East. Each headline crowds out the next. It can be hard to focus on one story for any period of time. But every now and then, a story sticks around. It breaks through the noise of the busy news cycle. A moment becomes a movement. From the admission of a presidential candidate that he had groped women and gotten away with it, to the Women’s March last year, and gaining momentum with the Harvey Weinstein…

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Hira Batool Rizvi: Transforming Transportation for Women in Pakistan

She`Kab is transforming how women travel to and from work. When She`Kab Founder and CEO Hira Batool Rizvi started working in Pakistan, she quickly recognized a problem with transportation for working women. She estimates that about 90 percent of her colleagues feel unsafe going to and from work each day. And, like any good entrepreneur, she recognized this problem as an opportunity.  The problem with transportation leads women to stay home or to pay four times as much as men for safer travel options. Public transportation options for women in Pakistan are limited. A typical bus has one seat available for women and 27 seats for men. If women do manage…

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Making Technology Fun, Relevant, and Accessible for Girls, with Betty Gronneberg, uCodeGirl

uCodeGirl offers pathways to technology careers for teen girls by tapping into their curiosity, skills, and potential. Betty Gronneberg grew up in Ethiopia. She attended Addis Ababa University where she majored in statistics. Betty recalls a day in college when she saw her name on a list of students who had been accepted into the new Computer Science track. She was one of two female students on the list. This was 1991. The “world wide web” had not yet been invented. Betty learned to write simple programs in BASIC, an early computer language. Betty’s experience grew rapidly as the internet began to spread. She became a country-wide email administrator for…

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Hacking the Diversity Gap, with Kristen Womack, Hack the Gap

Hack the Gap is a weekend event where women come together to build a project as a team. Kristen Womack is a bona fide techy. She worked as a product manager for some well-known tech companies. She runs Night Sky Web Co. And she has been involved in the local tech scene from Geekettes to Mpls MadWomen. And yet, as she attended hackathons, she couldn’t help but notice the lack of women. “When I went to the bathroom, there was no line,” she told me. The diversity gap in tech has been widely reported. The problem starts early in life. In a recent survey, only 0.4% of teenage girls plan…

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Stories that Inspire African Women to Start and Grow Businesses, with Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, She Inspires Her

She Inspires Her is an online and mobile media platform that shares stories about women entrepreneurs in emerging African markets. Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy was born in Ireland. When she was 12 years-old, she moved to the United States with her family. After college, she went back to Europe working with major corporations in communications roles. Lisa and her husband have lived in South Africa, Greece, and Finland. As we spoke, they are in the process of moving to Namibia. Because she has moved so often, she has done work that can be accomplished from anywhere in the world. In 2014, Lisa and a friend launched a side project called Career 2.0….

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Amplifying the Voices of Muslim Women, with Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)

Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE) is amplifying the voices and power of Muslim women. Nausheena Hussain was raised in a small town north of Chicago. She grew up believing in the American dream – work hard, go to college and you’ll succeed. But she found that there are invisible barriers. She is a woman. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants. And, as a woman of color with a piece of cloth on her head, she says “People feel threatened by me, or fear me.” So, she asked herself an important question. “What can I do to break through these barriers, especially because I have a daughter myself?”…

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Amplifying the Voices of Muslim Women, with Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)