Shattering the Status Quo
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Jenny Lee sitting on a panel at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco

From a city’s youngest elected mayor to a country’s first billionaire, these Asian women don’t see obstacles—only opportunities

Otsu Mayor Aims to Use AI to Prevent Bullying

Naomi Koshi is the Mayor of the city of Otsu in the province of Shiga in Japan. She became the youngest woman elected mayor of a Japanese city. The city of Otsu announced plans earlier this year to use artificial intelligence to predict the potential consequences of suspected cases of bullying at schools. This would be the first such analysis by a municipality in the country. “Through an AI theoretical analysis of past data, we will be able to properly respond to cases without just relying on teachers’ past experiences,” Otsu Mayor Koshi told The Japan Times of the planned analysis, set to begin from the next fiscal year.

Source: The Japan Times

Vietjet Founder is Vietnam’s First Woman Billionaire

Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao has made history as the only woman to start and run a major commercial airline, Vietjet Aviation. Her success has also made her very wealthy. She is Vietnam’s first self-made woman billionaire and the wealthiest self-made woman in Southeast Asia, with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Source: forbes.com

GGV Capital’s Lee Ranks High on Forbes Midas

Jenny Lee is one of the highest-ranking women on the Forbes 2019 Midas list. Her portfolio at U.S. and China-based GGV Capital – where she is a managing partner – includes 11 unicorns, with some valued as high as $56 billion. A former fighter jet engineer with Singapore’s ST Aerospace, Lee has taken 11 of her portfolio companies public, including three IPOs in 2018. Her 2012 investment in Chinese social network operator, YY, netted GGV a 15-fold return.

Source: forbes.com

Grab App Co-Founder is Southeast Asia’s First Decacorn

Tan Hooi Ling is the co-founder of Southeast Asia’s first decacorn, super app Grab. The 35-year-old Harvard MBA graduate has led the company with cofounder Anthony Tan in raising over $9 billion dollars since launching in 2012. Nearly half of that sum came last March when the Singapore-based startup raised $4.5 billion in a funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Alibaba, Microsoft and 26 other investors, valuing the company at $14 billion. This Series H round aims to raise another $2 billion before the end of the year.

Source: egradio.org

Awkwafina Makes Golden Globes History

The Farewell star Awkwafina is the first performer of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe Award in a lead actress film category. She’s only the sixth woman of Asian descent to be nominated in the lead actress in a musical or comedy category. Awkwafina joins a small group of performers of Asian lineage who have won Golden Globe awards since the show started. The Farewell, which features a predominantly Asian cast, tells the story of a young woman named Billi (Awkwafina) whose family decides to keep news of a terminal diagnosis from the family’s elder matriarch, Billi’s grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao).

Source: cnn.com

Johnson & Johnson Names Gu and Huang Among Women STEM Scholars

Johnson & Johnson’s WiSTEM2D (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing, and Design) Scholars Awards program, designed to increase the representation of women in these fields and support the development of women leaders, named Grace X. Gu and Shengxi Huang among its six recent Scholars Award winners. Grace X. Gu is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include composites, additive manufacturing, fracture mechanics, topology optimization, machine learning, finite element analysis, and bio-inspired materials. Her current project focuses on developing a more efficient 3D printer that can self-correct during a print job.

Shengxi Huang is an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include biomedical devices and systems, electronic materials and devices, and optical materials, devices, and systems. Currently, she is developing a device to measure potential disease-causing biomolecules, such as cancer cells.

Source: wiareport.com

MiMi Aung Awaits Summer Launch of Helicopter on Mars 2020 Rover

Burmese-born MiMi Aung is very familiar with uncharted territory. She tackles it as part of her job: overseeing the building of a helicopter to fly on another planet. “What I find most rewarding and challenging about the work I do is the chance to develop never-been-done-before autonomous systems for space exploration,” the JPL project manager for the Mars Helicoper shared by email. The miniature 4-pound, solar-powered helicopter is designed to fly for up to 90 seconds and is scheduled to travel with the Mars 2020 rover. And when it attempts to fly on the Red Planet in 2021 (and hopefully succeeds) it will solidify Aung’s place in the history books.

Source: kcet.org

Ex-Chemistry Teacher Becomes Richest Self-Made Woman in Asia

Former chemistry teacher Zhong Huijuan has become the wealthiest self-made woman in Asia with a $10.5 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The bulk of her wealth comes from her stake in Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group, China’s largest maker of psychotropic drugs, which soared 37 percent during its first day of trading in Hong Kong. Zhong, who founded Hansoh in 1995, overtook Longfor Group’s Chairman Wu Yajun to claim the self-made title. Zhong is the second-richest woman in Asia, trailing only Yang Huiyan, co-chairman of Country Garden Holdings, who inherited her fortune.

Source: bloomberg.com

Photo: PHOTO BY STEVE JENNINGS/GETTY IMAGES FOR TECHCRUNCH

Victoria’s Secret Swaps Angels for ‘What Women Want.’ Will They Buy It?
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The actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas is part of the rebrand for victoria's secret

Sapna Maheshwari and , New York Times

The Victoria’s Secret Angels, those avatars of Barbie bodies and playboy reverie, are gone. Their wings, fluttery confections of rhinestones and feathers that could weigh almost 30 pounds, are gathering dust in storage. The “Fantasy Bra,” dangling real diamonds and other gems, is no more.

In their place are seven women famous for their achievements and not their proportions. They include Megan Rapinoe, the 35-year-old pink-haired soccer star and gender equity campaigner; Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier and soon-to-be Olympian; the 29-year-old biracial model and inclusivity advocate Paloma Elsesser, who was the rare size 14 woman on the cover of Vogue; and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, a 38-year-old Indian actor and tech investor.

They will be spearheading what may be the most extreme and unabashed attempt at a brand turnaround in recent memory: an effort to redefine the version of “sexy” that Victoria’s Secret represents (and sells) to the masses. For decades, Victoria’s Secret’s scantily clad supermodels with Jessica Rabbit curves epitomized a certain widely accepted stereotype of femininity. Now, with that kind of imagery out of step with the broader culture and Victoria’s Secret facing increased competition and internal turmoil, the company wants to become, its chief executive said, a leading global “advocate” for female empowerment.

Will women buy it? An upcoming spinoff, more than $5 billion in annual sales, and 32,000 jobs in a global retail network that includes roughly 1,400 stores are riding on the answer.

It is a stark change for a brand that not only long sold lingerie in the guise of male fantasy, but has also been scrutinized heavily in recent years for its owner’s relationship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and revelations about a misogynistic corporate culture that trafficked in sexism, sizeism and ageism.

“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Martin Waters, the former head of Victoria’s Secret’s international business who was appointed chief executive of the brand in February. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”

The seven women, who form a group called the VS Collective, will alternately advise the brand, appear in ads and promote Victoria’s Secret on Instagram. They are joining a company that has an entirely new executive team and is forming a board of directors in which all but one seat will be occupied by women.

Rarely has a company so dominant in its sector been exposed as trailing so far behind the culture as Victoria’s Secret was in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

It was, Ms. Rapinoe said bluntly, “patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired. And it was very much marketed toward younger women.” That message, she said, was “really harmful.”

Click here to read the full article on the New York Times.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Laganja Estranja comes out as trans: ‘I feel so beautiful’
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'RuPaul's Drag Race' queen Laganja Estranja comes out as trans in EW's exclusive interview.

By Joey Nolfi, EW

RuPaul’s Drag Race legend Laganja Estranja is chassé-ing into a new chapter of her life as an out, proud trans woman. “There are so many other women around me who’ve inspired me to come forward today, and it’s because of their fight and their struggle that I’m able to really do this and say that I’m nervous, but I’m not scared,” the 32-year-old recording artist and cannabis activist exclusively reveals to EW. “I’m not going to live my life in fear anymore.” Estranja says after “presenting as female for the last 10 years” as a drag performer, she eased into her identity while on the stage in a way that “made it more explainable to the masses,” but, in 2021, she’s living her truth for one person only: Herself.

“I do want to be able to express this at all times,” she continues. “I just got my haircut – a very feminine cut – and in one week already, my life has changed. I’m able to come off stage and take my makeup off and still see a beautiful woman in the mirror. It’s powerful.”

The Texas native, who rose to prominence thanks to her flamboyant personality on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014, says she came out to her “incredibly supportive” family one week ago, but has been “comfortably, fully committing” to who she is as a trans woman among her inner circle for one year, after previously revealing her truth to friends on her birthday in 2020.

Without a prompt, she volunteers information about her physical transformation, stressing that it’s important for her to highlight this part of her story – which involves deliberately coming out before beginning hormone therapy – to emphasize that no one’s transition is the same, and that everyone deserves the space, time, and love to come out on their own terms, at any age, and at any physical point on their personal trajectory.

“That will come,” she says, later explaining: “Glam doesn’t make you a woman; it makes you a woman to people outside, in the world…. gender is performative, and what we wear is an extension of what we feel on the inside. That’s the real truth here: once this is out and once people know, I’m going to be more free to explore what it means to be a woman on the inside. The dressing part? I’ve got it down, but that’s not what makes you a woman.”

For Estranja, getting to a place of comfort took time. She says she first told others she was nonbinary as both an easing-in for her and those around her, because she often felt trapped by the pressure to fit into the constraints of constructed gender.

“People think that when you’re trans that you’ve wanted to be a girl your whole life; yes, that’s partly true [for me], but it’s also true that I’ve wanted to be male my whole life to fit into what society deems as normal,” she explains. “But, that isn’t my truth, and I’m daring to take this on. I tried to be male and be in-between and nonbinary. The truth is I’m a feminine entity and I can live this life.”

Still, her transition will be an ode to the person that laid the foundation for this moment over the last three decades of life. She doesn’t plan to change her drag name or her birth name; she’ll still perform as Laganja Estranja, and go by Jay among those closest to her, so she feels like she’s “not turning [her] back on” the bricks that built the woman she is today – many of which, she reveals, came to her in unexpected ways, like the time she remembers feeling her natural hair growing long enough to touch her neck for the first time last year, when the global pandemic interrupted her regular two-week haircut schedule.

“When my real hair started growing, I remember it touching the back of my neck, and that’s funny, because wigs have touched the back of my neck forever, but it was my real hair; my real truth was physically touching me in a way,” she recalls.

She shares that something as simple as performing drag with her natural hair versus a wig has drawn criticism from cis members of the community in the past – something that’s “not fair,” though she’s prepared herself for it by watching her Drag Race season 6 castmate and close friend, Gia Gunn, while the pair lived together.

“I feel blessed to have had that experience. Our transitions are different and will manifest in different ways, but it was so incredible to see someone live their truth and to be happy,” says Estranja, who joins past Drag Race contestants like Gunn, Gottmik, Peppermint, Kylie Sonique Love, Jiggly Caliente, and Carmen Carrera, among others, who’ve come out either before, during, or after their time on the show.

“I’m so thankful that Gia didn’t push me and has allowed me to take my time,” Estranja says. “Of course she’s encouraged me. From day one when we met, she was like, ‘Oh honey, you’re a woman!’ She’s known longer than I have!”

Click here to read the full article on EW.

How Riot Games will ensure that Valorant’s esports stars include women
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Riot games illustration of new female video game character

By , Venture Beat

By any measure, League of Legends has been an enormous success for Riot Games for more than a decade. But when it comes to the diversity of the esports stars in the multiplayer online game, it’s clear that women are missing. And since the company is more aware of diversity issues than it has been in the past, Riot is taking a more proactive approach to its next big esports game, Valorant.

Valorant has a lot going for it. Riot recently announced that its team shooter game has reached 14 million monthly active PC players and half a billion games played in its first year. The new Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) in North America is hitting new peaks with each event, with more than 8.7 million hours of tournaments watched, 360,000 peak viewers, an average of 560,000 viewers each minute, and similar good results for regional events. Riot Games is still investing heavily ahead of making profits with Valorant, just as it has done with League of Legends.

But Valorant is different from League of Legends in another respect, as about 30% to 40% of the players are female, said head of esports partnerships Matthew Archambault said in an interview with GamesBeat. One reason that has happened is that times have changed, Riot has matured since being accused of sexism in the past, and it can put more resources toward making sure the ecosystem is diverse.

“If you look at the FPS space, that’s kind of amazing because if you look at other FPS titles, you can see they are mostly men,” Archambault said. “We wanted to ensure that we could create this very welcoming experience for women and marginalized genders.”

And to stoke their interest in Valorant esports, Riot Games announced in February it was creating the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Game Changers program. It’s an esports tournament initiative to supplement the competitive season by highlighting women and people of marginalized genders. Riot wants these events to foster an inclusive environment for competition and create safe opportunities for women to compete without fear of identity- or gender-based harassment. After all, esports is something where the sexes should be equal, since, unlike in traditional sports, there isn’t a difference between men and women when it comes to playing a computer game with a mouse and keyboard. There isn’t a physical difference that explains why there aren’t enough women in esports.

“I worked on [League of Legends Championship Series] LCS for a really long time as well. And there are no female players,” said Shelby Ulisse, an event producer at Riot Games and head of the Game Changers Initiative. “That’s the reality, and I think it is a huge bummer and missed opportunity. We’ve had females enter and come into the pro scene on League of Legends. And so this time around, we were like, ‘That can’t happen again.’ We need to make sure that from the beginning, from the inception of what this esport is, women are at the forefront of our mind, because we want to see mixed teams, we want to see all of those teams and a variety of different people represented.”

Click here to read the full article on Venture Beat.

The Bidens Take Britain! The Royal Family Meets President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden
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Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden walking through the palace with Queen Elizabeth

By , US Magazine

Afternoon tea with the Americans. Queen Elizabeth II met with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Sunday, June 13, at Windsor Castle in England. The Bidens arrived at the royal residence and reviewed the Guard of Honor, formed of the Queen’s Company First Battalion Grenadier Guards, which gave a royal salute. The queen, 95, POTUS, 78, and FLOTUS, 70, posed for photos at the same canopy from which the queen watched the Trooping the Colour on Saturday, June 12. After listening to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the trio went inside. The queen introduced the former vice president and his wife to her lady-in-waiting, Dame Annabel Whitehead, and they drank tea in the castle’s Oak Room. The sit-down lasted about 10 minutes longer than it was supposed to, the BBC reports.

“I don’t think she’d be insulted but she reminded me of my mother, the look of her and just the generosity,” the president told reporters before leaving London. “She’s extremely gracious, that’s not surprising, but we had a great talk.”

The 46th President of the United States is the 13th U.S. president to meet with the queen. Though she previously met Biden before his presidency when he was a senator in 1982, this was his first time meeting with the monarch since taking over the Oval Office.

The Bidens had briefly interacted with the queen and other members of the royal family, including Prince William, Duchess Camilla and Prince Charles, on Friday, June 11, during a reception at the G7 Summit.

The sovereign sat for a photo with many world leaders and joked, “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”

Duchess Kate and Jill got some one-on-one time as they went to meet children at Connor Downs Academy preschool and participated in a roundtable discussion with early childhood education experts. “It’s a huge honor to have you in the United Kingdom,” the Duchess of Cambridge, 39, told the educator. “I’m very much looking forward to the conversation.”

In a statement shared via Instagram, Will and Kate thanked the first lady. “It was great to host Dr. Jill Biden and experts from the UK and the United States for a discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes, and how we can work together to make a difference,” they said.

The royal couple continued: “The importance of providing support for parents and children alike during early childhood, and the positive impact that this can have across society, is something we share a great passion for.”

Scroll through for more photos from the Bidens’ meetings with the royal family.

Click here to read the full article on US Magazine.

Actor Alyssa Milano has her eye on a congressional seat in California
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Alyssa Milano says she might challenge California Rep. Tom McClintock at some point.

By Christie D’Zurilla, Yahoo! News

Alyssa Milano, a veteran of TV shows including “Who’s the Boss?,” “Charmed” and “Insatiable,” has her eye on a seat in Congress. “I am confirming that it is possible that I will run for office in 2024,” the actor-activist said Tuesday in a statement to The Times. Milano told the Hill on Tuesday that she was possibly interested in challenging California’s 4th District Rep. Tom McClintock for his House seat, building on a tweet she floated in late May. “I split my time between Truckee, Calif., and Bell Canyon, Calif., and the Republicans have basically had a strong arm there in the 4th District,” Milano told the Hill, saying she would love to potentially flip the red district to blue.

The district has consistently chosen a Republican as its House member since 1992, though Democrats were in charge there for 30 years prior. McClintock, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in the 2003 recall, has held his seat since the 2008 election. Milano’s decision wouldn’t happen in time for the 2022 midterms, though. She has a “Who’s the Boss?” reboot in the works, in addition to other commitments, and she couldn’t do that and run for Congress simultaneously. “It’s going to take someone with, I think, name recognition and deep pockets to be able to run against McClintock, and so I’m considering it,” the COVID-19 long-hauler told the Hill. “I’m basically gathering information right now, speaking to different consultants, speaking to the community.”

Milano’s political ambitions build on her history of activism and embrace of liberal and progressive causes, which is mirrored in her “Sorry, Not Sorry” podcast and likely in her upcoming book of the same name. She was an online leader, for example, in the #MeToo movement and has defended abortion rights. On Wednesday she will rally virtually with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss canceling student debt. Milano has worked with UNICEF, PETA and other animal rights groups, and canvassed for various candidates. Leading up to the 2016 election, Milano first threw her support behind Sen. Bernie Sanders before switching to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She endorsed Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! News.

Watch Zendaya’s Debut as Lola Bunny in New Space Jam: A New Legacy Clip
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Zendaya smiling at the camera in a suit

By Vanessa Etienne, People

Zendaya just made her debut voicing Lola Bunny in Space Jam: A New Legacy and fans are going crazy. On Sunday, ESPN shared a six-minute ad about the upcoming film on Twitter, creating a parody of the network’s own “30 for 30” series and poking fun at some of the “tension” that’s going to come with the animated basketball showdown. But what stole the show from the lengthy video — and has fans talking online — is the reveal of Zendaya’s voice as Lola Bunny for the first time. The beloved character briefly appears mid-way through the clip when Lebron James calls Lola the “greatest sidekick ever.” Zendaya’s voice comes through her character as she says, “When it’s crunch time, the ball is going to be in my paws.”

Following the video, the Euphoria actress’ name started trending online with fans excited to hear Zendaya’s voice as the famous bunny. The 24-year-old was announced as a member of the cast in April, set to portray a completely reimagined version of Lola.

In EW’s New Legacy cover story, director Malcom D. Lee revealed that when he watched Space Jam for the first time, the portrayal of one Bugs Bunny’s love interest left him shocked. “Lola was not politically correct,” he said of the 1996 film. “This is a kids’ movie, why is she in a crop top? It just felt unnecessary, but at the same time there’s a long history of that in cartoons.”

Click here to read the full article on People.

Meghan Markle gives birth to daughter Lilibet, her second child with Prince Harry
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry walking through the rain with an umbrella together

By CBS News

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has given birth to her second child with Prince Harry, welcoming daughter Lilibet on Friday in California, the couple’s press secretary said in a statement. “It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world,” the statement said. “Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home.” The press secretary said Lilibet was born Friday morning at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, and weighed 7 lbs., 11 ounces.

The statement said the child is named after Queen Elizabeth, Harry’s grandmother, “whose family nickname is Lilibet.” Her middle name of Diana was chosen to honor Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. The couple have a 2-year-old son, Archie, and wished to thank the public “for your warm wishes and prayers as they enjoy this special time as a family.” Lilibet is eighth in the line of succession for the throne. Harry and Meghan’s children do not have titles like “prince” or “princess” because only the grandchildren of the monarch have those titles, although Queen Elizabeth made an exception for William’s children, since they are in the direct line of succession.

Harry’s brother, Prince William, and sister-in-law, Catherine, issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying they are “all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie.” And their father, Prince Charles, issued a similar statement, saying they were “wishing them all well at this special time.”

Harry and Meghan have been estranged from his family since at least January 2020, when the couple announced they would be stepping down from royal duties.

In a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, the couple detailed some of the disagreements they had with his family, including how there were conversations when she was pregnant with Archie about “how dark” his skin color would be.

Harry returned to the U.K. in April for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, who died on April 9 at the age of 99. Meghan stayed in California, where the family lives, on medical advice.

Lilibet is Queen Elizabeth’s 11th great-grandchild, and his cousin, Princess Beatrice, announced in March that she is pregnant with the queen’s 12th great-grandchild.

Click here to read the full article on CBS News.

Meet the first LGBTQ lead of a Bachelor franchise
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Bachelor lead wearing a red dress while holding red roses

By Anagha Srikanth, The Hill

Not to be outdone by their U.S. relatives, “The Bachelorette Australia” cast Brooke Blurton, the first openly LGBTQ and Indigenous lead in franchise history, for the upcoming season of the reality dating show. Blurton, who is bisexual, will be the franchise’s first openly LGBTQ lead, with the caveat that former bachelor Colton Underwood, who first appeared in season 14 of “The Bachelorette” in 2018 before going on to star in his own season, came out as gay after the season ended. She won’t be the franchise’s first LGBTQ couple — that honor goes to Demi Burnett, who appeared in Underwood’s season and “Bachelor in Paradise,” and Kristian Haggerty — but her historic casting is notable in a series not known for its diversity. As a Noongar-Yamatji woman, Blurton also represents her country’s aboriginal peoples, another first on the show.

LGBTQ relationships are becoming more common on reality dating shows, starting with MTV’s eighth season of “Are You The One?” but representation remains limited. Blurton, who was openly bisexual during her first appearance in the 2017 season of “The Bachelor,” has used her online platform to raise awareness and educate followers on LGBTQ issues.

“I don’t take this representation lightly,” she said on an Instagram story. “I am taking it with Pride and absolute integrity, but also be kind to me. At the end of the day I am also just Brooke. I represent a lot, but I am just a Carnarvon girl who came from nothing who desires and wants the love and connection she deserves.”

Click here to read the full article on The Hill.

Lady Gaga Awarded Key to West Hollywood as Mayor Declares “Born This Way Day”
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Lady Gaga at declaration of “Born This Way Day” in West Hollywood

Lady Gaga’s album Born This Way celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday, and to mark the occasion, the City of West Hollywood officially declared May 23 “Born This Way Day.” Gaga was also awarded the key to the city by West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “Thank you for encouraging us to love ourselves and be proud,” Horvath told Gaga. A street painting featuring the album’s title was also unveiled to kick-off West Hollywood’s Pride season.

“Born This Way, my song and album, were inspired by Carl Bean, a gay black religious activist who preached, sung and wrote about being ‘Born This Way.‘ Notably, his early work was in 1975, 11 years before I was born,” Gaga wrote. “Thank you for decades of relentless love, bravery, and a reason to sing. So we can all feel joy, because we deserve joy. Because we reserve the right to inspire tolerance, acceptance, and freedom for all.”

“Thank you for decades of relentless love, bravery, and a reason to sing. So we can all feel joy, because we deserve joy. Because we deserve the right to inspire tolerance, acceptance, and freedom for all.” – Lady Gaga Instagram

Click here to read the full article on Pitchfork.

Foundation For Women Honors Amanda Gorman, Amanda Nguyen, Dr. Kizzmekiah Corbett, Laura Jiménez, And Marissa Nuncio At 2021 Gloria Awards
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Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin speak during the 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision virtual event

Recently, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the nation’s first and oldest women’s foundation, hosted The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision, which paid tribute to the remarkable achievements of those whose courage and leadership move our society toward a more just and inclusive world, and raised funds that will help support women-led nonprofits and community organizations in the nation’s most impacted communities.

The evening honored Rise CEO and founder Amanda Nguyen, Immunologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Moderna Vaccine co-developer Dr. Kizzmekiah Corbett, 2021 Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, along with two leaders from grantee partner organizations–Laura Jiménez,  Director of The Garment Worker Center, and Marissa Nuncio, Executive Director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Photo: Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin speak during the 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision – VIRTUAL EVENT on May 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)

The Gloria Awards, named for Gloria Steinem, one of the organization’s founding mothers, is a yearly celebration to benefit Ms. Foundation grantee partners around the country and to recognize leaders who have made an indelible impact on the movement for gender equity at the local, state, and national level. Ms. Nguyen, Ms. Jiménez, and Ms. Nuncio, received the Women of Vision Award, honoring feminist leaders who create positive change. Dr. Corbett received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award, named after the former CEO and President of the Foundation to recognize young, trailblazing feminists. Ms. Gorman received the Free to Be You and Me Award.

Championing the theme “JOY UNMUTED,”more than 1,000 registrants celebrated a much-needed release after this very intense year, demonstrating that no matter what, they will rise in collective joy as they speak truth to power.

HIGHLIGHT: Gloria Steinem opened the The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision ceremony with a reflection of the past year.

TOP QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”The past year has had a life-altering effect on everyone, and especially on especially women, particularly women of color. But even in the face of the most daunting challenges and great pain, women found the passion and determination to continue to fight for equality and justice. Tonight, we’re here to honor that collective power and draw inspiration from each other, knowing that we can all take action.”

HIGHLIGHT: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award Recipient:

This award honors trailblazing feminist leaders who amplify their voice and enact positive change by paving the way for generations to come. Dr Corbett is an immunologist who developed the Moderna Vaccine and spends her weekends educating marginalized communities about vaccine safety and efficacy in an effort to ease health disparities.

TOP QUOTE: Dr. Corbett said, “What I want women and girls of color, in particular, to know is that you have a purpose. You have meaning. And you belong. Oftentimes we are made to feel like we are outside of all the great things that are happening, when actually the opposite is true. We are at the heart of it. Women of color have been and continue to be the backbone of this country. We create, we lead, and with that comes amazing movements like for example the COVID-19 vaccine. Part of the reason why we are able to do that is because of our strength. Because we understand what the strength is in our purpose. Finding that strength, understanding that purpose is how you as a woman or girl can fuel what you are destined to be.”

HIGHLIGHT: Amanda Gorman, Free to Be You and Me Award Honoree: 

This award honors young activists enacting change and leading the way for future generations.  Her unbridled passion for poetry and the written word has cemented much-needed messages of power, agency, and hope across generations. Ms. Foundation’s Founding Mother, Marlo Thomas presented her with this award.

TOP QUOTE: Poet and Changemaker Amanda Gorman said, “To ‘unmute joy,’ you also have to unmute your hope, your faith, your belief, your fire. And one of the ways in which continue to unmute my joy is by unmuting my voice. Growing up with a speech impediment, being a spoken word poet wasn’t always easy. And every single time I get onstage, whether it be at the Inauguration or in a third grade classroom, I am still terrified. But unmuting joy doesn’t mean that you are unafraid, it just means that there’s something more important than your fear. So I hope that you continue to unmute your joy, and furthermore to put it on full volume.”

HIGHLIGHT: Amanda Nguyen, Woman of Vision Award Recipient:

Amanda was honored not only for  her work not only as CEO and founder of Rise, a civil rights accelerator that empowers everyday citizens to pen their own rights into existence, but also for her outspoken candor regarding Anti-Asian Racism and attacks against the AAPI communities. Actor Kelly Marie Tran presented her with this award.

TOP QUOTE: When introducing Amanda, Kelly Marie Tran said, “Amanda is not only my friend, my sister, and my role model, she is also a civil rights activist…I am so proud of you. I am truly, constantly inspired by your persistence, tenacity, and your grace. You’ve taught me so much.”

TOP QUOTE: Amanda Nguyen, CEO and Founder of Rise,  upon receiving the award, said, “We can absolutely speak our issues into the consciousness of the nation, of the world. There’s a long history of people taking their painful living truths and channeling that into justice, and I have joined that tradition by penning my own rights into existence…We are certainly stronger when we come together.”

HIGHLIGHT: President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, Teresa C. Younger,  shared remarks about the theme of the event.

TOP QUOTE: “We decided we would embrace joy as a stance towards resistance. And so tonight, we are joy unmuted,” and continued on with the importance of the Ms. Foundation’s work, “By letting our grantees lead, we’re able to amplify the voices of the next generation. And with your help, we are going to continue the fight for true equity and justice for all.”

HIGHLIGHT: Annually, the Ms. Foundation honors grassroots leaders, influencers and philanthropists who have made an indelible impact on the gender justice movement at the local, state, and national levels, and this year, Marissa Nuncio, Director of The Garment Worker Center and Laura Jiménez, Executive Director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice were the recipients of this Women of Vision Award.

TOP QUOTE: Marissa Nuncio said, “Organizing for worker rights is also about organizing for women’s rights because it is women who bear the brunt of labor abuses at their impacts.  At GWC [The Garment Worker Center], when women are organizing, they’re organizing for the agency that fair compensation gives them in their personal lives and household, for the right to have their bodies respected and free from danger and violence in the workplace, for freedom from mental abuse by their bosses, and for the empowered voice that they enjoy when they take collective action side-by-side their sisters and brothers in struggle. We’re grateful the Ms. Foundation champions this collective power within our membership.”

TOP QUOTE: Laura Jiménez said, “We have seen how over the last four years especially the situation for reproductive rights, health, and justice has become more and more dire – but I also want to remind you that even so, we have made significant wins: passing legislation to support young parents, defeating restrictive abortion laws at the Supreme Court, and turning out voters. This is the power of women, girls and femmes who will not be silenced into submission.  So, make sure you use your voice to speak about issues that matter to you because your voice matters for you and so many others.”

HIGHLIGHT:  Founding Mothers Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin made special appearances for the event, discussing the history of the founding of the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1973. Key quotes include:

TOP QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”There was no other foundation devoted to the female half of the population in all of its diversity.”

TOP QUOTE:  Patricia Carbine, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”We had the luxury of deciding how we were going to arrange ourselves as a group at the Magazine. We really started from scratch.”

TOP QUOTE: Letty Cottin-Pogrebin, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”We had that, what is now called intersectionality, in our minds. There was a consciousness that maybe didn’t have a name.”

TOP QUOTE: Marlo Thomas, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”That’s why this Foundation started, we were four women who reached out to these other women Dolores Huerta, Maxine Waters, and all the ones that we’ve been discussing today. We knew that we wanted their voices, and we knew what we wanted to do with the money. We were very purposeful. We were ambitious, audacious, and purposeful. You have to be that way to change the world.”

The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of  Vision is still available for viewing at: wov2021.forwomen.org and paid ticket purchasers can gain access to the full exclusive Founding Mothers conversation.

For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021