Workers Lab Announces Innovation Fund $150K Winners

From March to April 2020, The Workers Lab issued an open call for applications to the Innovation Fund, a program co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Innovation Fund is designed to grant $150,000 to three winners per investment cycle, awarding these highly sought-after prizes to organizations and individuals with the best ideas for improving the lives of workers.

Image Credit: The Workers Lab

“Our hope in this application cycle was to better understand what innovations are out there reimagining the kinds of support workers lean on to make it all work,” said Tiffany Ferguson, program director at The Workers Lab. “That could mean services, tools, or programs – any range of ideas that, with an investment from The Innovation Fund, could make it easier for workers to access and use their full potential.”

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I Am A Scientist: Changing How We See Women In Science

Editor’s Note: The following essay is by Stephanie Fine Sasse, founder of The Plenary, Co., a 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to making social and environmental issues more accessible through science, art, and play.

A few years ago, I sat across from twelve dynamic, accomplished, and inspiring women. They were artists, dancers, singers, musicians, gamers, athletes, activists, and moms. 

I am a scientist
Stephanie Fine Sasse, Founder of The Plenary Co. (Image Credit: Eric Shilling)

And of course, they were scientists.

I watched their eyes light up as they spoke about the curiosities and purpose behind their work. And I watched their eyes narrow as they reflected on the challenges that they faced. Many of them spoke about the important roles of failure, creativity, and collaboration in the sciences; concepts that are too often missing from the job description. And others shared their favorite parts of their work: discovery, travel, teamwork, writing, or mentoring students.

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Empowering Black Women Entrepreneurs with the Doonie Fund

Kathryn Finney didn’t learn her grandmother’s real name until she turned 10 years old. Doonie Hale was an entrepreneur, a single mom, and the owner/operator of her own business as a seamstress in Milwaukee. Her story, her spirit, and her work inspire Kathryn Finney’s work today as the Founder of digitalundivided and The Doonie Fund.

digitalundivided (DID) serves as a catalyst for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. The Doonie Fund, created by DID Founder Kathryn Finney, has offered micro investments of $100 to more than 500 Black women entrepreneurs since April 2020. (Image Credit: DID)

“I was 10 years old when I learned that my grandmother’s real first name is Kathryn,” says Finney. “The lessons the original Kathryn taught me about being a Black woman entrepreneur, about creating beauty, is the reason why I’m here today.”

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Equality Can’t Wait Challenge Launches With $30 Million to Give

Editor’s Note: The following announcement was provided by Lever for Change, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Affiliate.

Equality Can’t Wait Challenge

Launched on June 16, 2020, the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge will award $30 million to help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030. Hosted by Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates, the Challenge seeks to accelerate the pace of progress for more women of all backgrounds to be in positions to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives in their homes, workplaces, and communities – because equality can’t wait. Applicants must register online by Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

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NDWA Announces $4 Mil Care Fund for Domestic Workers

In March 2020, the National Domestic Workers Alliance announced the Coronavirus Care Fund, a campaign to raise $4 million in emergency relief funds for domestic workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 16, the NDWA announced its campaign to raise $4 million to support domestic workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. (Image Credit: NDWA)

Domestic workers, a large percentage of whom are women, immigrants, and people of color, are among the unsung heroes on the front lines of the pandemic. They take care of homes, families, and people who are at high risk of catching the virus, like the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. What’s more, many domestic workers find themselves faced with the COVID-19 crisis without any kind of support network, savings to fall back on, or union to protect their rights.

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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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It’s All About STEM Women: Arianne Hunter and the Privilege of Dreams

“Women can be successful in science.” This is the core message from Arianne Hunter, a chemist in Atlanta. “Our brains can retain, analyze and distribute knowledge just like our male counterparts [so] our ideas and dialogue should be met with the same respect,” she says. 

Arianne Hunter discusses ways to increase opportunities for women and girls in STEM. (credit: Arianne Hunter)

Hunter is a first-generation college student who was a member of the Division I Women’s Basketball Team at Dartmouth College, the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oklahoma, and the founder of “We Do Science Too!” — a nonprofit serving girls who have less access to STEM experiences. She is a published and awarded scientist and is currently pursuing postdoctoral training in Forensic Chemistry at the Defense Forensic Science Center.

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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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Game Developers Celebrate Access, Diversity at PAX Unplugged

From December 6 to December 8, 2019, developers, funders, and fans alike flocked to the convention center in Philadelphia, PA for three days of dice rolls, panel discussions, and high-octane fun.

Philadelphia, PA – Attendees walk into the Expo Hall on the first day of PAX Unplugged. (December 6, 2019 – Photo Credit: Maggie May)

PAX Unplugged is the analog gaming edition of the Penny Arcade Expo series. “PAX” refers to a collection of games conventions founded by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, authors of the popular web comic Penny Arcade. Held each year in Seattle, Boston, Melbourne, Philadelphia, and San Antonio, these conventions are an opportunity for celebration, new releases, demonstrations, and discussion surrounding the rapidly evolving world of gaming.

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GameDev Culture Must Change: #MeToo Arrives at Gamer Event

The annual Women in Games European Conference kicked off in London on September 11, facilitating a conversation the games development industry has been itching to have since 2014.

Attendees at the Women in Games European Conference gather for two days of advocacy, discussion, and recognition. (Photo Credit: WIG European Conference)

Sexual harassment, assault, and unhealthy work environments for women, nonbinary individuals, and other marginalized communities are all far too common in gamedev. In recent years, allegations of harassment and assault have come to light, leading to major restructuring decisions from games industry giants like news sources Polygon and IGN, and developer Bethesda.

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