Female Entrepreneurs: Apply to Red Backpack Fund by April 12

Fashion and feminist philanthropy find a new intersection with The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. In response to COVID-19’s impact on woman-owned small businesses, the Foundation donated $5 million to GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund.

1,000 female entrepreneurs, majority women-owned businesses, and nonprofits in the United States will receive a $5,000 grant, totaling $5 million in funding from The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. Funds go toward majority women-owned small businesses’ immediate needs in the face of coronavirus, as well as supporting their long-term recovery once the crisis has passed.

On April 3, 2020, SPANX’s Sara Blakely announced her $5 million commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs through the Red Backpack Fund. (Image Credit: GlobalGiving and Sara Blakely)

“My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic,” Blakely wrote in her Instagram announcement. “I know first hand what it’s like to be a small business owner. As a woman it can be lonely and scary, especially during a time like this. Small business is the backbone of our culture and I want to help.”

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Creating New Ways to Expand Film’s Reach and Vision During COVID

In this global Pandemic time, philanthropic resources are stretching to a maximum. As well, our vision of what is philanthropic is also expanding. For the many of us who are tech savvy and broadband accessible, while we are isolated in our homes, our intercommunications online have tripled and quadrupled. Virtual meetings and presentations abound. We are tackling service in entirely new ways and through newly chartered venues.

From the Women Make Movies website, promoting their Virtual Film Festival. THE REST I MAKE UP began March 27. (Image Credit: WMM)

The independent film community is rallying around extending ways it can serve both its filmmakers and audiences – all while shut in at home. The Art House Convergence community listserv initiated a discussion early on and set some guidelines about safety as the coronavirus started to spread in the United States. Two days before SXSW cancelled, members of AHC pondered “when and if” questions. Then, one by one, art house movie theatres posted their closing statements, and a discussion emerged on what message to place on the empty marquees.

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Lesbians Who Tech Launches Online Series in Response to COVID

Lesbians Who Tech & Allies Announce: Your (Not IRL) Squad Series 

(March 25, 2020) — Lesbians Who Tech & Allies announces its “ (Not IRL) Squad Series,” bringing its community the content it loves in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The Squad Series will bring together Lesbians Who Tech & Allies’ favorite speakers for intimate conversations, workshops and sessions focused on technology trends, career growth, and personal wellness. This comes weeks after Lesbians Who Tech & Allies made the difficult decision to postpone its flagship San Francisco Summit. 

Lesbians Who Tech is launching a new streaming series after the difficult decision to cancel its annual San Francisco Summit. (Image credit: Lesbians Who Tech)

“It’s important that LGBTQ people have a direct connection to the larger queer community, and we are helping make that happen with our Squad Series. It’s never been more vital,” said Leanne Pittsford, Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies. “We made the difficult decision to postpone our San Francisco Summit and immediately got to work on how we can bring our community the programming and connection they need right now in this difficult time.”

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Alliance for Women in Media Announces New Board

The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation (AWM/F) are pleased to announce their 2020 National Board of Directors.

The Alliance for Women in Media recently announced is 2020 National Board of Directors. (Image credit: Alliance for Women in Media)

New to the AWM Board are: Katina Arnold, vice president, corporate communications, ESPN; Abby Auerbach, executive vice president, chief communications officer, TVB; Michelle Ray, executive director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation; Sandra Rice, senior vice president, outreach and strategic partnerships, Center for Talent Innovation; and, Esther Mireya Tejeda, senior vice president, head of corporate communications & PR, Entercom.

Officers of the board have been announced as Keisha Sutton-James, Chair, vice president & CEO, Sutton Button Productions LLC, serving as chair, Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, serving as incoming chair, Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, serving as immediate past chair, Josie Thomas, CBS, serving as treasurer, and Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group, serving as incoming treasurer. 

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#EmbraceAmbition Convenes to Challenge Gender Norms

The Tory Burch Foundation, a  nonprofit organization empowering women,  is bringing together leaders, activists, and performers for an event billed as The Summit: Challenging Stereotypes and Creating New Norms.

The Embrace Ambition Summit (#EmbraceAmbition) will be held on March 5 in New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

The #EmbraceAmbition Summit features an array of leaders and speakers discussing how to challenge gender norms and open up new options for women and girls. (Image Credit: Embrace Ambition Summit)

Speakers will include:

  • Tory Burch – Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch LLC, an American lifestyle brand, and Founder of the Tory Burch Foundation;
  • Gloria Steinem;
  • Yola – Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and musician from Bristol, England;
  • Ashley Judd – Author, actor, leader of the #MeToo movement and founding member of Time’s Up;
  • Tina Tchen – President & CEO of Time’s Up, and formerly executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls;
  • Sylvia Earle – Founder of the marine environmental organization Mission Blue;
  • Claudette Colvin – One of two survivors of the Browder v. Gayle U.S. Supreme Court Case that ended bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama;
  • Diane von Furstenberg – Fashion designer, philanthropist and Founder and Chair of her eponymous company;
  • Mellody Hobson – Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments;
  • Deja Foxx – Founder of @GenZGirlGang, an online community of womxn; and
  • Anne Finucane – Vice-Chair at Bank of America, and Board Chair of B of A’s European Bank.

The Tory Burch Foundation-convened Summit will include stories and conversations featuring female leaders from Hollywood, business, science, entrepreneurship and youth movements who will tackle “challenging stereotypes and creating new norms.” The all-day summit will include performances, including short stories, spoken word, and music.

Attendees will be able to connect with women-owned businesses at the entrepreneur marketplace, visit the Tory Burch Foundation pop-up shop, and network with other attendees. Applications to attend have closed, but anyone can sign up for the free live stream of the event.

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Will Bezos $10 Billion Address Gender Equality?

As a feminist, reading the news that Jeff Bezos has pledged $10 billion to fight climate change feels jarring, and a little frightening, especially as I scanned through several articles and realized there was no real plan for all this money, and no mention of gender as part of the strategy. I started to feel a little like a wife learning that her husband wants to work on improving their marriage, so he’s bought a boat to prove it, without considering whether she like boats or has any interest in the sport.

Jeff Bezos on vacation in Spain with Lauren Sanchez in January of 2020 (Photo credit: Twitter)

Slow your roll, Jeff. It seems like a better plan would be to step back and take a look at what the business you created has done to women, men, children, workers, the environment, and the global economy, and figure out a path to a more sustainable business model for Amazon.

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Reviewing the Weinstein Trial: Molineux Witnesses and More

Feb 18 (Reuters) – A Manhattan jury’s verdict in the sexual assault trial of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein may well hang on the testimony of three women whose accusations were not part of the underlying criminal case.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein’s tie flutters in the breeze as he arrives at New York Criminal Court during his ongoing sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Deliberations began on Tuesday in the case of Weinstein, 67, who pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress.

During the six-week trial, the three other women – costume designer Dawn Dunning, model Tarale Wulff and actress Lauren Young – testified they were enticed into meeting Weinstein for professional reasons and then groped or raped.

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Vital Voices Teams Up with wiseHer to Grow Women in Business Globally

(February 4, 2020) wiseHer and Vital Voices Collaborate to Accelerate Impact of Women Entrepreneurs Across the Globe

New partnership provides personalized advice and financial support to Vital Voices’ network of social entrepreneurs and women business leaders, expands wiseHer’s global reach

Vital Voices and wiseHer have announced a new collaboration aimed at helping women business owners with mentoring and professional development. (Image Credit: wiseHer)

Framingham, MA: wiseHer, a female-founded global knowledge marketplace that helps women business owners and professionals advance through 1:1 access to expert advice, is proud to announce a new partnership with Vital Voices, a global movement that invests in women leaders who are solving the world’s greatest challenges.

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Melinda Gates Wants Cities to Get Gender.Equality.Tech

New City-Based Initiative to Increase Women in Tech in the U.S. Kicks Off in Chicago

January 28, 2020 Pivotal Ventures, together with Break Through Tech, SecondMuse, and several leading social organizations, announced today a new initiative, Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities, designed to accelerate the representation and leadership of women in tech through the development of inclusive tech hubs across the U.S. With a $50 million investment from Pivotal Ventures, the initiative will focus on three U.S. cities over five years – kicking-off in Chicago in January 2020. 

An image of Chicago with words typed over which read Gender. Equality. Tech.
The GET Cities project will invest $50 million in three cities over five years. (Image credit: Pivotal Ventures)

As local tech ecosystems grow, GET Cities looks to engage students from the first college course, to women in the current workforce, to female founders and investors. The initiative aims to create collaborative models that can be replicated in other growing innovation hubs by bringing together key stakeholders to invest and align resources and create shared goals for women in tech across academia, non-profit, government, venture capital, and business sectors in each selected city. The goal is to maximize the impact of local women-in-tech efforts, crowd in other funders, and foster local coordination that can accelerate the pace of change, nationally.

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Gender Equality Index Tracks More Companies, Expands Metrics


GEI data reveals female-led companies have more women in other top roles, and that companies are increasingly focusing on attracting – and retaining – female customers

The 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index included 325 companies, up from 230 companies in last year’s index. (Image Credit: GEI)

New York, January 21, 2020 – Today Bloomberg announced that 325 companies headquartered across 42 countries and regions are included in the 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), up from the 230 companies across 36 countries and regions in last year’s index. The GEI tracks the financial performance of public companies committed to supporting gender equality through policy development, representation, and transparency.

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