Riki Wilchins: Gender Norms and Intersectionality

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Riki Wilchins, executive director of the nonprofit TrueChild and author of, “Gender Norms & Intersectionality: Connecting Race, Class and Gender.”

Riki Wilchins, courtesy: Riki Wilchins

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I’d realized how difficult and slow social change is. I think when you’re younger, you’re a bit more optimistic. But, any kind of real change takes years, maybe decades, of constant effort and attention. 

What is your current greatest professional challenge?

Our goal is getting people to think intersectionally, so they connect race, class and gender norms. The challenge is two-fold: most organizations don’t know how to talk about gender norms, or if they do, they disconnect it from factors like race and class.

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Plan Int’l CA Voices Concerns about COVID’s Impact on Children, Girls

TORONTO, March 23, 2020 – As the world faces the worst health crisis of a generation, Plan International Canada is extremely concerned about vulnerable populations around the world – particularly children. Plan International Canada welcome’s the Government of Canada’s recent funding announcement to support humanitarian actors responding to COVID-19 and calls on governments and all responders to consider the unique needs of children, especially girls.

Plan International Canada articulates concerns for the welfare of children, particularly girls, in the COVID-19 crisis. (Image Credit: Plan)

Disease outbreaks affect girls and boys, women and men differently. Policies and interventions must be equitable, protective of human rights, inclusive of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, and responsive to the different needs and risks faced by individuals. It is especially important to apply a gender lens at all times across all actions. Girls, especially those from marginalized communities and with disabilities, may be particularly affected by the secondary impacts of the outbreak due to their age, gender and other exclusion factors.

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Platforms for Good: Summer Sanders and Plan International USA

On February 20, 2020, global development organization Plan International USA announced its newest Ambassador, Summer Sanders Schlopy.

An Olympic athlete and most decorated U.S. swimmer in the 1992 Olympics, Summer is known for using her platform for good. She rose to precedence as a member of Stanford’s swimming team, taking on the 1992 National Championship and Olympic Games. In Barcelona, Summer became the most decorated U.S. swimmer with one bronze, one silver, and two gold medals.

Summer Sanders Schlopy joins Plan International USA as their newest celebrity ambassador. (Photo Credit: Outside Online)

In the early 1990s, Summer turned to television, commentating the NCAA Swimming Championships for CBS Sports, and hosting MTV’s surf-and-sun competition show Sandblast. Her numerous television accolades include correspondent, co-host, and host for a range of sporting events, TV series, and competition shows.

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Technovation Girls Tackles Social Change with 2020 Coding Contest

On January 14, Technovation celebrated the official start of the 2020 Technovation Girls Challenge. The annual competition teaches teams of girls and nonbinary-identifying young people the basics of coding as they work together to build a mobile app that solves a problem within their communities.

Technovation Girls connects young women (ages 10-18), nonbinary, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals with coding curriculum and mentorship as they work together to tackle social change with mobile apps. (Image Credit: Technovation)

Over twelve weeks, students will study Technovation’s coding-focused curriculum as they combine their efforts to imagine, design, and build a functional mobile app that targets common issues like domestic violence, assault, climate change, and bullying. At the end of the program, an online panel of judges selects 50 Finalists to present at the annual Technovation World Summit, held this year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in August.

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United for Girls: DICK’S Fdn Invests $5 Million in Girls Soccer

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert; actor, director, and producer Katie Holmes; sports journalist Christine Brennan; and best-selling author and journalist Elaine Welteroth, among others, joined DICK’S Sporting Goods today to discuss the challenges and opportunities girls experience accessing sports and the impact sports and fitness have had on their lives

DICK’S announced its 2020 Women’s Initiative highlighted by The DICK’S Foundation’s $5 million grant to U.S. Soccer Foundation’s ‘United for Girls’ Initiative

At its 2020 Women’s Initiative at the ‘Here for Her’ Summit, DICK’S Foundation announced a three-year $5 million grant to the U.S. Sports Foundation to support girls in soccer. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for DICK’S Sporting Goods)

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation hosted a Here for Her Summit in New York City, a focused and collective effort to champion women and girls in sports and fitness.

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American Eagle Announces #AerieREAL with $400 K in Grants

Film and fashion represent two industries where the misrepresentation of women and minorities still runs rampant. However, fashion industry leader American Eagle is taking active steps to change that.

American Eagle/Aerie welcomes Beanie Feldstein to the #AerieREAL Role Models and announces a new initiative for community change. (Photo Credit: Andrew Buda/Aerie)

This year, as part of their Aerie lingerie line, American Eagle rolled out the #AerieREAL Role Models program: a group of ideas-forward young women with a wide range of backgrounds, body types, and lifestyles who model Aerie’s products. The kicker? The models in #AerieREAL photos are not touched up, digitally edited, or misrepresented in advertising. In an industry where impossible standards of beauty are often airbrushed, the prominent featuring of real women with real bodies, real disabilities, and real “flaws” (if you want to call them that) speaks to an encouraging new wave of body-positive empowerment for girls.

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PepsiCo Fdn Supports Game-Based Strategy for Young Women Workers

The PepsiCo Foundation is collaborating with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) on a digital life-skills course to help young people, particularly women, succeed in the workplace.

Game-based learning program Passport to Success helps young women develop skills for the workplace. (Image Credit: IYF)

The IYF Passport to Success program is a game-based program that can be accessed by youth worldwide using a mobile device. The 10-hour 18-unit program is designed to be “gender-smart” and includes women serving in various professional and non-traditional roles, as well as in positions of authority. The country-specific curriculum also targets barriers to gender equality as they exist in different regions.

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Empowerment is Now Online: the Hello World Connection

Imagine that you had lived your life up to this point never experiencing the internet. No smart phones, no online recipes, no Google searches or social media.

How much would your life change if, one day, you were connected to the online world?

Katrin McMillan works with local children on the construction of their Hello Hub. (Photo Credit: Project Hello World)

The potential uses of internet access are abundant: education, job training, medical resources, advancements in farming and agriculture, communication with people across the world, all available at the touch of a button. For many communities, however, that online world is something out of science fiction. Women, children, and entire societies fly under the radar of education and international support simply because they live without access to the world’s information superhighway.

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Own Your Power: Elizabeth Yntema on Gender Equality in Dance

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (DDP), which promotes “equity in all aspects of classical ballet by providing a metrics-based analysis through our database while showcasing women-led companies, festivals, competitions, venues, special programs and initiatives.” 

Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (courtesy: Elizabeth Yntema)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had had a female mentor, and she had reassured me that success isn’t defined by a linear path. I have been a corporate attorney, a lobbyist, worked as the Director of Governmental Affairs of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, was employed part-time as a consultant, opened an art gallery and, with three small children, focused on volunteering for a time. Now, I use every single one of my experiences and skills acquired over the decades. 

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Plan Probes Adolescent Thought and Behavior Re: Gender Equality


Plan International USA—an independent development and humanitarian organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls—has published an incisive report on American adolescents and gender equality.

Plan USA commissioned the research and communications firm PerryUndem to complete the study, which drew on data from roughly 1,000 interviews conducted nationwide with girls and boys ages 10-19. The results provide a snapshot on gender equity as seen by the next generation of Americans, and can be used by funders and non-profits to better define gender issues facing young people, and provide focus for programs to improve gender equity.

Plan International USA’s report helps to identify key attitudes and experiences of teenagers in the U.S., particularly around issues like sexual harassment, physical appearance, and media representation of girls. (Image Credit: Plan International USA)

Plan’s “The State of Gender Equality for U.S. Adolescents” is part of its “Plan4Girls” initiative, and surveys girls and boys on their attitudes and experience around topics including physical appearance, career aspirations, sexual harassment, gender equity, differing societal expectations based on gender, and media representations of girls. According to Plan USA, “The goal of the research is to provide a resource for policymakers, media, and others who want to understand how children are internalizing inequality and how their views may take shape.” The full 134-page report was released in September 2018; a 14-page Executive Summary is also available.

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