Never underestimate the power of a woman’s resolve. Women are heralding worthy causes at an unprecedented rate. Their view points are far-reaching, as they bolt across social media channels at the speed of lightning. And their empowering words and ideas don’t fall on dull ears. Our generation of women is ready to hear, ready to learn and eager to join in unity with other female thought leaders. Here are the fearless women heralding equality and initiating global conversation among women.
- Emma Watson is Starting a Book Club and you’re Invited – Forbes
Feminists have found a new virtual space for education and compelling discussion through Emma Watson’s new feminist book club entitled ‘Our Shared Shelf.’ Emma explains her genuine desire to share and dialogue at the book club’s Goodreads page, where all the magic happens:
“As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too”
In the short space of time of announcing an upcoming feminist book club, crowd sourcing a group name on Twitter, and starting an account on Goodreads, Emma’s book club has already amassed nearly 100K members just after 20 days. Celebs like Lena Dunham, Abby Wambach, Sophia Bush and Karlie Kloss have also enthusiastically joined.
The first book Emma added to ‘Our Shared Shelf’ for January 2016… (drum roll) … Gloria Steinem’s memoir ‘My Life on the Road!’ To wrap up everyone’s reading experience, Emma announced ‘An Evening with Gloria Steinem and Emma Watson’ event in London to interview the legendary feminist activist and author. The event sold out within 24 hrs.
How to join ‘Our Shared Shelf’? Everyone is welcome to join the book club. Emma states at Goodreads: “The plan is to select and read a book every month, then discuss the work during the month’s last week (to give everyone time to read it!). I will post some questions/quotes to get things started, but I would love for this to grow into an open discussion with and between you all. Whenever possible I hope to have the author, or another prominent voice on the subject, join the conversation.”
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) January 11, 2016
- Madonna Badger Launches Campaign to Fight Sexism in Advertising – WWD
“With her [New York ad] agency Badger & Winters vowing never to create imagery that objectifies women, Madonna Badger aims to trigger an international conversation about sexism in advertising” with the #WomenNotObjects movement. Madonna and her business partner Jim Winters initially released a provocative ‘We are #WomenNotObjects’ YouTube video anonymously on January 11, 2016. The two-and-a-half-minute clip calls out brands, like Post-It, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., American Apparel, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, for objectifying women in advertisements. The clip uses a bit of sarcasm and explicit language as commentary, while showing a sampling of advertisements that use women as props in compromising situations. Madonna’s goal isn’t just about demanding greater respect for women; it’s also to improve the self-esteem of girls and give empowerment. “Objectifying women can lead to young women and girls turning the lens on themselves, which can affect their cognitive power and self-esteem, according to Badger.” “Pointing to the effectiveness of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and breast cancer awareness initiatives, Badger said objectifying women in advertising deserves similar attention.” How to use your voice to bring change? Share your thoughts on the issue using the hashtag #WomenNotObjects and unite with this powerful campaign led by prominent ad-executive Madonna Badger. Here’s a clip of Madonna announcing the #WomenNotObjects movement on the ‘Today’ show. As the clip describes, Madonna is channeling all her passion and energy in into this worthy cause, in honor of the three beautiful daughters and parents she lost due to a Christmas 2011 house fire:
- Ava DuVernay on Hollywood’s Inclusion Problem – The New York Times
Ava DuVernay was pulled into the #OscarsSoWhite conversation a year ago when many noticed The Academy snubbed her for a Best Director nom for civil rights film ‘Selma.’ This year the nominations were announced for 2016’s Academy Awards and all 20 acting spots were (again) given to white actors. If you were on the internet for 0.001 seconds, you watched the #OscarsSoWhite conversation move from the Twittersphere to a public boycott among black actors and film makers. Shortly after the Oscar nominations were announced on January 14, 2016, Ava shared a few thoughts to a small group joined for brunch at a restaurant. She has given the issue of diversity in Hollywood a lot of thought over the years as she states: “We’re hearing a lot about diversity. I hate that word so, so much. I feel it’s a medicinal word that has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue. It’s emotional for artists who are women and people of color to have less value placed on our worldview.” Ava said that there’s an inclusion problem and “a belonging problem in Hollywood. Who dictates who belongs?” Here’s Ava DuVernay as she offers a sober and intelligent perspective on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy a year ago in an interview with ‘Democracy Now!’:
- Stranger Picks Up Bill for Mother of Boy with Autism and Includes Beautiful Note – Today Show
“Lauren Nordberg is used to getting stared down while out and about with her son, Elliot, a 6-year-old boy with autism. On Jan. 18, Nordberg rewarded Elliot for good behavior at the dentist by treating him to pancakes at their favorite local restaurant, Madison Diner, in Bainbridge Island, Washington.” Elliot couldn’t sit at his regular table because of the restaurant’s busyness and he went into full autistic meltdown. Lauren and her son finished their meal and approached the cashier, after getting plenty of nasty stares from fellow restaurant go-ers. To her surprise, the restaurant owner told her that an anonymous woman paid her bill and left a note signed “from a mother who knows.” This generous act of kindness from one woman to another moved Lauren so deeply, causing her to immediately burst into tears. The act of empathy and kindness gave Lauren a renewed belief in humanity. Though it may seem like it sometimes, not ‘everyone’ is quick to judge and offer unsolicited parenting advice when noticing her son’s autism.
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