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Dr. Nancy O’Reilly Joins National Women’s History Museum Board of Directors

On September 30, Dr. Nancy was pleased and honored to be appointed to the National Women’s History Museum’s Board of Directors. Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is an innovative online museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society. A renowned leader in women’s history education, the Museum brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history and serves as a space to experience, collaborate and amplify women’s impact—past, present, and future, striving to fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.

“In March 2020, we were proud to honor Dr. Nancy O’Reilly with our prestigious Women Making History Award for her tireless work championing women’s equality and advancement,” Susan Whiting, Board Chair of the National Women’s History Museum said. “Today, we’re humbled to have Dr. Nancy join our Board of Directors. Dr. Nancy brings decades of experience as an educator, author, philanthropist, and advocate to our Museum, and will help guide us as we work to bring to life the immeasurable and often untold roles women have played in shaping, influencing, and creating American history.”

Dr. Nancy first began working with and supporting NWHM’s work shortly after the 2020 Award. Considering several developments and events currently scheduled, like Tiffany Shlain’s first solo exhibitionHuman Nature – presented by NWHM in partnership with Women Connect4Good – she feels now is the perfect time to get more deeply involved and help move the work forward. “As we know, women’s contributions and accomplishments have been largely kept out of our history books. We know the history of our papas, but It’s time for us to know the stories of our mamas, so we can follow in their capable footsteps and make history of our own” Dr. Nancy said.

“The Museum is how we do that. I’m truly honored to join this impressive group and to be part of the work, charged with sharing women’s stories,” Dr. Nancy added. “This is an exciting time for the Museum too, because after 26 years of providing online information about women’s contributions to history they are preparing an interactive exhibit in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Washington DC – a location that is not only easily accessible, but one that is also quite inspiring.”

While the physical exhibit is definitely something the Museum team is looking forward to, Susan Whiting added, “The online component of the Museum’s work will continue and get even more inclusive as they add more stories of outstanding women who have been omitted and forgotten in our historical record. NWHM will access numerous spaces to continue its work recording history and preserving it for ourselves and future generations.”

The NWHM fills in major omissions of women in history books and K-12 education, providing scholarly content and educational programming for teachers, students, and parents, reaching more than four million visitors each year through online content and educational resources. To learn more about the Museum and their work, go to WomensHistory.org.

Human Nature – Tiffany Shlain’s First Solo Exhibition

Tiffany Shlain is an acclaimed multi-media artist working across film, text and performance. For her first solo exhibition in San Francisco, Tiffany introduces new perspectives evoked by the compelling relationship between time and nature through her current exploration in time-based media, photography and sculpture. The exhibition is presented by the National Women’s History Museum based in Washington, D.C. in partnership with Women Connect4Good, Inc.

Tiffany is known for bringing forth complex ideas in new ways with humor and provocative insights. “In Human Nature, I use a feminist, philosophical, and ecological lens to explore the humility and realignment we feel when we view ourselves in the context of deep time and nature. I want to conjure up the sublime: our sense of perspective, smallness and awe created by expansive vistas and towering trees that have stood as witnesses for thousands of years.” Tiffany says.

“Everything Tiffany does is so timely and important for us to understand and know.  Much of her work has long focused on gender and women’s rights and leadership. Human Nature is adding to her impressive body of work,” Dr. Nancy said. “This exhibit reveals a new perspective about women and power throughout history. Women Connect4Good and the National Women’s History Museum are pleased to help Tiffany tell this story in such an awe-inspiring way. It has been exciting to watch it come together, and I urge everyone to come see it and share it with your daughters, your sons and all the generations to come.”

Honored by Newsweek as one of their “Women Shaping the 21st Century, Tiffany is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, and author of the national bestselling book 24/6: Giving up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection, winner of the Marshall McLuhan Outstanding Book Award. Her work has received over 80 awards and distinctions, including selection for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s 100 Visionaries continuing Einstein’s legacy. The US State Department has selected Tiffany and her films to represent North America at embassies around the world.

Human Nature, opens November 2, 2022 at SHACK15 in the San Francisco Ferry Building, where Tiffany is the current artist-in-residence. To learn more about the exhibition go to TiffanyShlain.com/art.

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is a Wakeup Call For Us All

Last week marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day the average Black woman in the US finally—after nine extra months of work—made what their white male counterparts did in 2021. It’s important to note that in 2021, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day was recognized on August 3, but in 2022 it’s been pushed back by nearly two months. That means the pay gap is widening – fast. September 21 was not a day to celebrate, but a stark reminder of the gross inequities that Black women continue to face and is a wakeup call for us all.

This loss of pay is charted by HerMoney.com, who reported that in 2020, Black women made 63 percent of what white, non-Hispanic men made. However, the pandemic caused full-time Black women workers’ median wage to be reduced to 58 cents in 2021, according to ACS Census data. This widening gap is similar to the levels of the 1960’s and is even more shocking compared to the 83 cents gap of women of all races, reported by The American Association of University Women. Factoring in all races moved Equal Pay Day for the rest of us to March 15 this year, which means that Black women had seven more months to earn the same pay as non-black women in this country where all people are supposed to be equal.

Overall, Black workers have always faced discrimination in the workforce, and Black women are especially vulnerable as they face the double jeopardy of not only being Black, but also being female. That discrimination costs them too, as much as $1,891 per month, $22,692 per year and a staggering loss of $907,680 over a 40-year career, according to the National Women’s Law Center. This means that a Black woman has to work until she’s 80 years old to make what a white man makes by the time he reaches 60. The wage gap starts with girls as young as 16 and worsens as Black women progress through their education and careers. Even though Black women enroll in college at higher rates than men, Black women who have bachelor’s degrees still earn 36% less than white men with bachelor’s degrees on average.

Part of the current disparity can be traced to the pandemic. COVID-19 dramatically shifted the labor market and hit women of color the hardest. Millions of women were forced out of the workforce due to layoffs and increased caregiving demands, with women of color suffering the greatest economic losses, to the tune of 1.4 million jobs, largely in industries in which Black women are overrepresented such as services and hospitality,according to a separate report from the NWLC. The report further states that unequal pay has left Black women less able than their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts to successfully weather the economic fallout of the pandemic. And data shows that economic gains in recent months have not been experienced evenly across groups by race and gender. For example, the unemployment rate for Black women was double digits for 6 months in 2020—including a peak of 16.6% in May 2020—before finally declining. That means Black women have been yet again excluded from full economic recovery, and the unemployment levels they have been facing would be labeled recessionary if they were applied to all workers.

While COVID-19 brought some of the racial and gender issues that Black women face to light, it’s important to remember that these are not new problems. Black women have been working twice as hard for half as much long before COVID-19, the pandemic simply added another layer to the inequities they’ve long faced.

Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, told ABC News that the solution for closing the gender pay gap for Black women needs to come from both the government and private sectors. “On the federal level, Mason said the passage of legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act can help promote pay equity and transparency, while enforcement of existing civil rights and equal employment laws can help lower workplace discrimination.”

Black women are in crisis, and the growing pay gap must be reversed. We need to work together to address the disparities and close the pay gap for Black women, while creating a system that supports all women the same way it supports and protects our male counterparts. We need to make sure that women across the board are recognized for their skills and talents and actually get paid fairly for the work they do. Equal pay for all (women and men) needs to be a top priority, and this year’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is a resounding wakeup call – reminding us to take action. We need to take steps to make change for everyone, point out the injustices, and do what we can (all races and genders) personally and politically to make sure that Black women get the equal pay they deserve.

The Cassandra Project Shows Why Women’s Voices Must Be Heard

Filmmaker Barclay DeVeau’s new project focuses on one unifying and terrifying truth – when women’s voices are not heard, it is very dangerous for everyone. The Cassandra Project is a trilogy of narrative short films highlighting the reality and risks of women being dismissed and disbelieved. The project will feature the stories of three female protagonists whose voices are discounted due to gender disparity, in each case leading to extremely high stakes situations. By tying the films together in a trilogy, Barclay believes the impact will be all the greater.

On The Cassandra Project website, the team writes, “Like many of you, we have been disturbed by the current state of things in our country. So much progress has been reversed recently, that it often feels like retreat or resignation are the two most viable options. But we refuse to do that. In discussing what we can do to push back, fight and take a stand, we decided to create The Cassandra Project…The specific idea for this project came from one of our own experiences of a medical crisis that was discounted, disregarded, and disbelieved. The rest of us watched for months as our friend’s health deteriorated and she tried to get help, but it wasn’t until she was critical that she received the medical care necessary. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. In almost every scenario imaginable, women’s voices are not given the same credence as their counterparts, and the stakes for everyone are extremely high.”

That “friend” was Barclay herself, who got very sick in 2020 with a wide range of symptoms that ultimately affected seven systems of her body.

“For more than eight months, I begged doctors, nearly daily, to help me – pleading with them as I felt a poison spreading throughout my body,” Barclay said. “During this time, as I attempted to get a diagnosis and help, I was repeatedly dismissed, disregarded and disbelieved, even as my symptoms increased.”

In fact, it was not until she had a seizure – which led to a temporary coma – that she started being heard. “By that time, what turned out to be a rare bacterial infection, had spread to my heart, my brain, my autoimmune system, my neurological system, and my connective tissue, joints and muscles,” Barclay added.

Now that she’s received intensive treatment – from wonderful doctors who have given her life back – Barclay feels a responsibility to use her filmmaking skills to speak out and show how not listening to women can be a matter of life or death.  The Cassandra Project (named after the Greek goddess who could see the future, but was disbelieved because of a curse) ties three very different stories together as a trilogy. The films will include Barclay’s own story, which will become a sci-fi/horror, “because, well…that’s what it was.” She’s not able to reveal anything about the other two shorts yet, but says, “trust me, they’re awesome!  And we have some incredible cast members attached.”

To happen though, The Cassandra Project needs support. Shooting is planned for January and February 2023 and with completion scheduled for summer 2023.  Barclay says that she will submit the trilogy to all the major film festivals and to the Academy for Oscar consideration in the short film category. The goal is to raise $50k for production costs, including cast and crew, camera, grip and lighting equipment, art department expenses, locations, permits, catering and postproduction costs.

To help Barclay make The Cassandra Project a reality, Dr. Nancy is offering to match up to $10k in donations through September 30. That, coupled with incentives Barclay’s team is offering for contributions at different levels, has helped kick off their fundraising campaign. While they’ve started strong, they still have a way to go.

“Dr. Nancy is an amazing advocate for women, and we are absolutely thrilled to have her on board as a partner in this project,” Barclay said. “Every contribution, no matter the amount, will help us raise awareness and affect change with these films; every single dollar is deeply appreciated.”

To learn more about The Cassandra Project, or to make a donation and help Barclay and her team raise women’s voices, go to www.thecassandraproject.net.

Take The Lead Presents Make Good Trouble

Warning! Your Voting Rights Are at Risk –
Read This ASAP to Make Sure Your Vote Will Be Counted

Have you checked your voter registration?  It’s important to check, even if you’ve voted before.  All over the country there are reports of people who thought they were registered to vote that have recently found out they no longer are.  And voting registration deadlines are coming up QUICK, in some states as early as this month!  Voting is one of the best ways to get your voice heard, and if you aren’t registered, that voice is silenced.

Take the Lead has partnered up with some fantastic organizations to provide you with information on how to register to vote, check your registration, find your polling place and anything else you need to get out to the polls this midterm election.  Voting is leadership, and you have the opportunity to make a real impact in your community.  If you’re with an organization, share Take The Lead’s Voter Toolkit with your group to so they’ll have everything they need come this November.

Check your registration NOW and register to vote here: weall.vote/takethelead

Join Take The Lead online this Tuesday September 20, 2022, at 3pm ET/12pm PT for the Make Good Trouble: How to Be an Effective Citizen Panel on Civic Engagement, coinciding with National Voter Registration Day.  The panel will feature Take The Lead Co-Founder and President Gloria Feldt, When We All Vote Deputy Director of Partnerships Priestley Johnson, Power The Polls Partnerships Marta Hanson and Vote Early Day Project Director Bryce Bennett in a non-partisan discussion on civic engagement, voting as leadership and how YOU can make an impact in your community.  Register for free at taketheleadwomen.com/CivicEngagement.

Marina Arsenijevic Supporting Take The Lead With Latest Release

Marina Arsenijevic’s performance during Take The Lead Women’s Power Up Concert at the Arizona Biltmore set the tone for a powerful conference experience for attendees. But her impact didn’t stop there as she is donating a portion of the profits from her latest album, “Tesla Rhapsody” to Take The Lead, helping them advance their mission to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women across all industries and sectors to reach parity in leadership by 2025.

Marina opened the concert with her favorite Chopin “Fantaisie-Impromptu,” followed by her version of Mozart blended with “Peter Piper” and “Music Box Dancer.” She then introduced two of her own compositions inspired by her heritage growing up in Serbia and the Balkans, “Danube Rising” (a theme from her “Tesla Rhapsody”) and “Fire & Soul.” She continued with her classical/pop rock version of “My Beauty” using her own voice as a second instrument. She concluded the program with Chopin’s “Revolutionary Etude” as an introduction to “America the Beautiful.”

Dr. Nancy attended the performance and said that Marina was fantastic. “She shared the gifts of her talent and beautiful music with us all, and the standing ovation she received was well deserved. Marina’s performance also illustrated her commitment to and support of women’s leadership – evidenced by the fact that she is donating a portion of the profits of her latest CD to Take The Lead. Marina’s donation provides us all with a glimpse of her big heart and gentle, caring soul. She is a true changemaker, and her support is going to help us help other women move forward.”

“Marina wows the audience with her passion and brilliant performance,” said Gloria Feldt, Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. “Everyone is buzzing about Marina!”

“Marina tore the damn house down,” Leadership Brand Strategist and Founder of BlackWomanElevate.com Felicia Davis added.

Check out Marina’s performance, and learn more about her and her work at MarinainAmerica.com.

Why Women Are Poised to Control Our Financial Future

Book Review: The Rise of Women and Wealth: Our Fight for Freedom, Equality, and Control of Our Financial Future by Cindy Couyoumjian (with R.F. Georgy)

Women are struggling for equality in every area of society, from wages (54-80% that of men) to leadership (leading only 7.4% of Fortune 500-ranked businesses), and many women defer to men to control their finances. How did we get here? Especially when you consider that women own over half of the investible assets in the U.S.  Cindy Couyoumjian gives us a sweeping picture of women, money and power in her new book, The Rise of Women and Wealth: Our Fight for Freedom, Equality, and Control of Our Financial Futures. She shows how women were subjugated through the centuries by our patriarchal society in ways that convinced everyone, even women, that their strengths – like intuition, empathy, nurturing and collaboration – were actually weaknesses, instead of effective leadership qualities.

Cindy cites great thinkers throughout the ages – from Aristotle to Freud – to show how men and women were made to believe women were the weaker sex and should not be allowed to make important decisions governing their lives. This historical perspective is crucial to our understanding for two reasons: one is that women today are collectively traumatized by what came before–“vulnerabilities, doubts, hopes, fears, struggles… and men are carrying collective guilt of the misdeeds of past generations….”. Secondly, Cindy says, “Knowledge is power.” Her passion and purpose are to empower women to pursue “their inalienable right to financial self-determination.” And this book lays the groundwork for women to make that move.

As part of that groundwork, Cindy also details the advances of feminism, and inspiring women in history who stepped out in front and used their voices and abilities to create truly beneficial change. For example, how many people know that the Suffragist Movement actually began with five women over a quiet cup of tea before the big meeting in Seneca Falls? And who can name the outstanding accomplishments of Francis Perkins in the 1930s? As the longest serving Labor Secretary, Francis was responsible for implementing the Social Security Act, established unemployment benefits, the 40-hour work week, minimum wage, and only failed on implementation of universal health care. Cindy credits Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, for spearheading the second wave of feminism and for getting women out of the kitchen and into the workplace in the 1960’s. She marks the third wave as beginning in the 1990s with Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas’ harassment, followed by the #metoo movement voicing protests over toxic masculinity exerting power over women.

The fourth wave of feminism is about “women, money, and power.” With over 36 years’ experience in the financial industry, Cindy urges women to become financially literate, get engaged with their money and learn how to increase it. She says that women lack confidence to invest because of hardwiring from culture, and she quotes Allianz Insurance as saying, “‘money and investing is in many ways the last – and perhaps the most important – frontier to gender equality.'” While women don’t have it yet, (earning less than men through wages, unpaid caregiving, and living longer than men), they are predicted to inherit “70% of the wealth in America,” amounting to over $30 trillion.

Women taking charge of their economic power and directing their own financial future will revolutionize the world. In the last half of The Rise of Women and Wealth, Cindy turns teacher, explaining why we need to invest, how to maximize your financial security from budgeting and managing credit card debt, and various ways to invest. Possibly the most enlightening portion of the book is her discussion of how hidden factors can undermine your investment return (think politics, economics, government regulations, etc.). None of these risks exist in a vacuum and Cindy illustrates how they interact together (historically and theoretically) and how they should be considered before making investment decisions.

Cindy says that women are poised to create real generational wealth. She believes that when women understand the powerful tool money can become, they will offset the greed and imbalance created by our patriarchal society. She asserts, with many others, that financial literacy should be part of primary school education, so that everyone with a high school degree will start their adult life with the tools they need to be in charge of their finances. Much of that education is included in this book. Whether you think you know your way around investments or don’t even try to balance your checkbook, you’ll enjoy reading this book. It will open your eyes to the way you think about money and inspire you to change your financial future.

How Women and Wealth Will Create the Financial Revolution

Guest post by Cindy Couyoumjian

Women are on the verge of extraordinary financial change more than any other time in human history. Today women control $10 trillion in financial assets and by 2030 that figure is expected to rise to $30 trillion. This unprecedented amount of wealth is revolutionary for women. It will give them the unique opportunity to hammer away at the remaining patriarchal obstacles that prevent them from achieving economic freedom and agency in the world.

In my book, The Rise of Women and Wealth, I explore how patriarchy has kept women in a subordinate position for millennia. Over the past one-hundred and fifty years, women started to challenge this oppressive structure that is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. It is everywhere in the sense that it shapes and defines the role of men and women in a male-centered society, yet nowhere because, like gravity, it’s invisible and we don’t think about how this toxic force perpetuates male domination at the expense of women.

The first wave of feminine change challenged the political order, which led to women exercising their inalienable right to vote. The second wave, which was inspired by Betty Friedan’s best-selling book, The Feminine Mystique, challenged the comfortable social construct of the 1950s and ‘60s that defined women as housewives and mothers while simultaneously denying them agency in the world. By the 1990s, and more recently the #MeToo movement, third wave feminism exposed the ugly and toxic side of masculinity. Beginning with the Anita Hill Congressional testimony against United States Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, and later numerous reports of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry showed what happens when society allows vulgar male power to go unchecked.

Although there is no general agreement regarding the fourth wave of feminine change, I think that we are currently in the midst of a powerful change that will affect women everywhere. I call this change the financial revolution, which will finally give women the power to shape and define their own destinies. . Today, with the massive wealth transfer women are set to inherit, real generational change is within reach. The one thing that is missing, and urgently needed, is that women must improve their financial literacy.

For centuries, women were led to believe they didn’t belong in the male-dominated financial world. As a result, women have not been properly educated about money. For the financial revolution to succeed, women need to embrace money as a tool and learn how to use it. The financial industry needs to increase the number of women financial planners and advisors. Women need to trust their financial intuition and ask questions about investing and creating generational wealth. Women today are on the precipice of long-term change.   It’s up to women to take the next step, accept responsibility for driving the financial revolution, and direct this new feminine wave into true equality for women.

—–

Cindy Couyoumjian is the founder of Cinergy Financial and is dedicated to empower people by expanding their financial literacy and awareness. With 36 years in the industry and seven securities registrations, Cindy is more than a leader in the industry, she is also an innovator of investment methodology. Her newest book, The Rise of Women and Wealth: Our Fight for Freedom, Equality and Control of our Financial Future, urges women to become financially literate and reclaim their power and liberty to become agents of change.

Leading Women Available on Audiobook August 8!

Leading Women on Audiobook“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler 

Dr. Nancy O’Reilly has interviewed some of the world’s smartest, most amazing women (and men) for her podcast. Since these guests inspire her, she has always wanted to help them get their message out to help other women. Their stories share “best practices” for building businesses or careers, creating strong relationships, and using their time, talent and treasures to change the world for the better. She has long had a mission to support other women and to close the gender gap. Having conversations with these guests is one way of providing a platform for them to share their stories.

Dr. Nancy firmly believes, we connect through our stories. “When I tell my story, I find a connection with other women that is so close, I feel like something magical occurs. We connect through our shared truth, and the hardships and traumatic events of life that made us grow and push past the barriers that held us back. Once we dissolve these barriers, we stop being victims of our circumstances and become empowered through knowing and engaging our own truths. I’ve always felt that it’s very important for women to reach out and support one another in this process of sharing stories without worrying about how they will be perceived. The more we do this, the bigger our community will become to help us make the greatest positive impact on the world.”

It was from these podcast guests and their stories that she selected a group of international leaders to contribute to her 2014 book, Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life. Each one of these co-authors shared their wisdom, real-life stories, and advice to help women conquer their internal barriers, claim their power and respect, and change the world by helping other women do the same. They all offered immediately actionable steps to help women change their relationship with power, increase their confidence to use their voices, and rely on their feminine skills.

While there are a lot of books inspiring women to be courageous, make our voices heard, and claim our seats at the table, few tell us HOW to do so. Leading Women fills that need. The book includes specific advice on how to:

  • become a powerful communicator,
  • use your innate ability to connect and collaborate,
  • better manage yourself in meetings,
  • reframe things you’re afraid of.
  • raise your profile.

And you can now take all of these lessons on the go, because Leading Women will be released on audiobook August 8, 2022.

Leading Women is filled with women’s stories, not just to advance your career – it is for every woman who wants to find her way, use her voice, reinvent herself after a divorce or layoff, leave a legacy, or leverage her power in other ways. It also reinforces Dr. Nancy’s belief that when women share their passion and purpose, anything is possible. With a wide array of advice from some of the world’s most influential women, Leading Women is 1,000 years of wisdom all wrapped up in a concise how-to manual for smart, busy women.

On August 8, Leading Women will be available at Chirp.com for only 99 cents for the first 48 hours before moving to its regular $14.95 price. It will also be available on 43 platforms, including Audible, Apple Books, B&N Audiobooks, Google Play, Chirp, KOBO, WalMart, Scribd, Librio and more.

Pick up your copy on August 8, and tell your friends. The world needs women’s leadership more than ever, and Leading Women can help more women see themselves as leaders and empower them to become the change we all need in our communities, our workplaces, and the world.

#ShePersisted Is Fighting Gendered Disinformation Online

Fighting_Gendered_DisinformationThe midterms are underway, and across the country women are taking center stage and running for everything from local school boards and city councils to the US Senate. However, many of them are finding themselves in the crosshairs of online abusers spreading disinformation–spreading half-truths, exaggerations, and outright lies–to knock them out of their races. According to #ShePersisted, “All over the world, women in politics and journalism experience relentless volumes of online abuse, threats, and gendered disinformation campaigns on social media – and things are even worse for women facing intersectional discrimination and bias on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, and other factors. These campaigns are designed to discredit, devalue, and delegitimize women’s political standing, with the goal of ultimately undermining their ability to participate in civic life.”

Sexism in politics is nothing new. In fact, you don’t have to look any further than the 2020 election cycle to see it at work. While sexism may not have been THE factor that determined the winners, it carried weight. Female candidates had to prove their qualifications more than the men they were up against, they had to deal with increased media scrutiny and gender bias, and they faced greater issues surrounding likeability and voter perception on the campaign trail than their male counterparts. All of which of course, was further amplified via social media.

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about it when she suspended her presidential campaign. “Gender in this race — you know, that is the trap question for every woman. If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner.’ And if you say, ‘There was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?’”

Social media is playing a part in this election cycle as it has in others, and the impact is much greater than many could imagine. #ShePersisted reports that “algorithms change behavior by incentivizing fake and sensationalized content – over-supplying it to users in the name of profit. This makes it much easier for gendered disinformation campaigns against women to be organized, amplified, and cheaply financed, reaching millions of people and changing the course of history.”

And many offline conversations have also ceased due today’s divisive political environment. The toxic brew of fake news, uninformed opinions and polarizing content online is wearing people down. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans have stopped discussing politics with at least one person in their lives.

This is important. It’s past time for women to be represented in equal numbers in government. Women leaders back the issues that support our families. But continued online abuse and disinformation campaigns are preventing many from getting elected. They are not only thwarting women’s runs for office; they are posing a threat to democratic institutions and women’s rights.

To combat this, #ShePersisted has developed a three-pronged strategy:

Research and Thought Leadership

With original, ground-breaking research, #ShePersisted examines major gendered disinformation campaigns, especially those linked to authoritarianism, and seeks to ensure that this issue is recognized as a dangerous threat to democracy. Through their work, they aim to increase understanding of the real world, personal harm that disinformation causes to female politicians.

Supporting Women Leaders

#ShePersisted designs and implements comprehensive communications strategies for women in politics, including tailored training on how to respond to gendered disinformation and online abuse. They are building on the work of the Women’s Disinformation Defense Project, a unique effort established with several influential women’s political organizations in the U.S. Their advice is based on the latest research and tools available – such as Ultraviolet’s innovative Fairness Media Guide for reporting on sexist and racist disinformation without replicating it.

Advocating for Safer Digital Platforms

Women in politics will not be safe online until social media platforms clean up their act. All too often, attacks on women in politics are unrestrained, unaccountable, and go unchecked. That must change if democracy is to be preserved. That’s why #ShePersisted, together with international and domestic organizations, policymakers, parliaments, and civil society, advocate for the creation of better standards for digital platforms, bringing a much-needed gender lens to conversations on disinformation and platform regulations. In coalition with a broad and diverse range of women’s organizations, #ShePersisted is putting pressure on Big Tech to stop the spread of hate and violence on their platforms and protect users – particularly women.

Their work is crucial. We need fair elections – where women are able to run the same race as their male counterparts. We need women to take their seats at the table and have an equal voice on legislation that is restricting women’s rights to make decisions about their health and families. We need to get representation that understands what it’s like to juggle the demands of a career with the needs of a family, who know that you deserve equal pay, who value affordable healthcare, childcare and workplace protections. Ultimately, we need to elect women who are empowered and who can help you make your voice heard.

To learn more about #ShePersisted and help them in their work – putting an end to gendered disinformation and supporting women’s political equity in government worldwide – go to she-persisted.org.

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