Anybody that knows me can tell you that I have a few borderline-obsessions: coffee is absolutely one of them.
Alyza Bohbot took over the family business, Alakef Coffee Roasters, when she was 29 and saw that the company was struggling. One of the first things she did was start a sister company, City Girl Coffee Company, which makes it a point to fight gender equality in the coffee industry. She was adamant that a company that took a strong social stance could not only be profitable, but that social justice advocacy could be their greatest marketing tool.
City Girl Coffee gets its beans from farms that are owned or managed by women, and donates 5% of all profits to Orgs with similar stances (including International Women’s Coffee Alliance and Café Femenino). City Girl has a VERY strong online sales presence, and is slowly but surely moving into Midwest markets, getting into more and more grocery stores and co-ops.
In 1995, country music legend Dolly Parton started a local non-profit to help foster literacy in Sevier County, Tennessee. She started this program thinking of her father, a smart man who was unable to go to school because he had to work at a very young age to help provide for his family. He never learned to read or write. After remarkable success at the local level, Imagination Library quickly grew at a national level, now mailing at a pace of 1 million books per month to children in the program. This past week, Dolly was invited to the Library of Congress to celebrate the program’s 100 millionth book delivery.
The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are now behind us, and there was a great showing from the kick-ass women representing the US. Below are the medal winners:
Gold: US Women’s Hockey
Probably my favorite event/results. The US Women’s Hockey team won gold for the first time in 20 years, preventing rival Canada from reaching the top podium spot for a 5th consecutive time. Added cool fact (not that it needed any): this win came on the anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, when the US Men’s Hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, preventing their rival from moving on to the gold medal match, and potentially winning top honors ALSO for the 5th consecutive time (US went on to win gold).
Gold: Snowboarding – Women’s Slopestyle
Silver: Snowboarding – Women’s Big Air
Gold: Snowboarding – Women’s Halfpipe
Gold: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Giant Slalom
Silver: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Alpine Combined
Jessica Diggins & Kikkan Randall
Gold: Cross-Country – Women’s Team Sprint Freestyle
Lauren Gibbs & Elana Meyers Taylor
Silver: Bobsled – Women’s 2-Man Competition
Bronze: Figure Skating – Mixed Team
Mirai Nagasu, Bradie Tennell, Maia Shibutani (who also got bronze in Figure Skating – Mixed Ice Dance), & Alexa Scimeca Knierim
Bronze: Snowboarding – Women’s Halfpipe
Bronze: Freestyle Skiing – Women’s Halfpipe
Bronze: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Downhill
Bronze: Speed-skating – Women’s Team Pursuit 6 Laps
Heather Bergsma, Carlijn Schoutens, Mia Manganello, & Brittany Bowe
Sherry Johnson was raped when she was 8 years old by multiple men in positions of power within her family’s religious institution. She was pregnant and gave birth at age 10, and was married off to one of her rapists at age 11. This did not happen in some hard to imagine, rural area of India or Afghanistan, but in Florida, USA.
Sherry’s story is at times an unsettling read (trigger warning), but I still highly recommend taking time to read it, because this blog post won’t do it justice at all.
Sherry is now sharing her story and spearheading efforts to call on Florida legislators to change current laws that allow young girls to be coerced into marriage via loopholes (permission from parents/judges). She hopes to help Florida become the first state to abolish child marriages (200,000 in the US in the last 15 years, 87% of which were young girls). The original bill proclaiming 18 to be the legal marriage age, no exceptions passed unanimously on January 31, but a similar bill was introduced last week to allow exceptions for pregnancy of 16 and 17 year olds.
I braced myself last night, but still cringed pretty hard listening to President Donald’s State of the Union address, especially when he got into the subject of Immigration reform. I just find it amazing that many members of the GOP’s ancestors would not have been able to come into the US under their proposed new rules, and was reminded of the fantastic story of Jennifer Mendelsohn (@CleverTitleTK) and the fun #resistancegenealogy movement on Twitter.
Jennifer, an author, journalist, and genealogist, has been using her skills in the latter to uncover public records and shine light on some of the hypocrisy rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate. Examples:
- Rep Steve King, who said last year that “you cannot rebuild civilization with somebody else’s babies.”… Jennifer quickly uncovered that King’s 4-year old grandmother came through Ellis Island in 1894.
- Tomi Lahren who said that Dreamers were not “law-abiding citizens”…Jennifer found that Lahren’s great-great grandfather was indicted by a grand jury for forging his naturalization papers.
- Found evidence of “Chain-migration” history on both Dan Scavino and Vice President Mike Pence
Your Grandma Was a Chain Migrant – The New Yorker
A very hearty congratulations to Maame Biney & Erin Jackson, who became the first and second African-American women ever to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating teams! (Biney on the short-track team, and Jackon on the long-track)
Biney, who was born in Ghana, is just 17 years old, making her the youngest member of her team. Jackson, 25, had only picked up the sport 4 MONTHS AGO after making the transition from inline skating.
I grew up in a Classic Rock and Alternative Rock household. Pink Floyd, The Doors, Rolling Stones, The Who, Yes, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Ozzy Osbourne, I enjoyed all of those guys (key word), to name a few, and would race my siblings to “Name the Band” first whenever they came on the radio. I don’t think I had the mentality that only men can rock out, but I didn’t exactly listen to any women that stood out to me (closest was maybe Stevie Nicks, who I didn’t fully appreciate until later in life)
Enter “Zombie” from The Cranberries
Holy crap, do I love this song. Written in 1994 about an IRA bombing that killed two children, Dolores O’Riordan completely shattered my experience and expectations of female rockers, and to this day I stop what I’m doing and rock out to the song whenever it comes on. RIP, Dolores. 46 is way too young to go.
Luciana Vega is American Girls’s 2018 Girl of the Year, inspiring young girls to aim for the stars and pursue STEM. A Chilean-American girl, Luciana’s story has her going to Space Camp and hoping to one day make it to Mars with NASA.
To get things just right, American Doll collaborated with some stellar badasses of the industry:
- Megan McArthur Behnken (astronaut)
- Ellen Stofan (former NASA chief scientist)
- Deborah Barnhart (US Space and Rocket Center CEO and Executive Director)
- Maureen O’Brien (manager of strategic alliances at NASA)
“I think a lot of girls are sometimes intimidated by STEM careers because they think they have to be perfect in math or the top of their class. But what you really need to have is determination, the spirit to pick yourself up when you make a mistake and keep going. I really think it’s that determination, that will, the ability to come back from failure, that are the most important characteristics. I hope that girls who read these books are inspired by these tales of failure but persistence.” -Ellen Stofan
Image via Al Drago for The New York Times
I shared a post on Facebook recently that made me very frustrated and angry. The short of it was that a mother took her daughter (a Girl Scout), and her son (a Boy Scout) to the College Football Sun Bowl in Texas to sell programs and raise money for their troops. While the son was congratulated, talked to respectively, and asked if he was going to pursue becoming an Eagle Scout, the young girl and others in her troop were harassed by older men. One was called pushy for not giving programs away. Another was called a bitch. And another was asked if her and her friends could be girlfriends to a group of men…. the girls’ ages ranged from 9 to 11. None of them were asked about the Gold Award.
Anger aside, it reminded me of this Op-Ed I came across written by Girl Scout Alice Paul Tapper (named after historic Women’s and Civil Rights activist), a 5th grader who created a national Girl Scout patch called Raise Your Hand. She’s incredibly well-written, so I’d like to point to her Op-Ed directly:
As the Girl Scout cookie season comes into full-swing, I’d like to encourage everyone who sees these future leaders selling boxes around town to stop and talk to them about their time in the Girl Scouts. Congratulate them for participating in activities that help their community. Ask them about the Gold Award and yes, perhaps buy some cookies even if you’re trying to eat healthier =)
Dorsa Derakhshani is an Iranian chess Woman Grandmaster (WGM).
-Very quick aside, today I learned that the WGM title is the highest women-specific chess title (rating of 2300), but does not prevent women from also reaching the title of Grandmaster (GM, rating of 2500)-
In February of 2017, Dorsa was kicked off the Iranian chess team for “harming national interests” after she participated in a tournament without wearing a hijab. She had participated in previous tournaments without issue, but during this tournament, her brother played against an Israeli Grandmaster, which I guess is also a no-no (but fear not, Jared Kushner will create peace in the Middle East). Both Dorsa and her brother were banned.
Since the ban, Dorsa has won a chess scholarship from St. Louis University and studies biology while playing for the university’s chess team. She has changed her Chess Federation status to the United States, where she will continue to kick ass.
BONUS – My favorite of this week’s 20 Funniest Tweets from Women