Women play a significant role in the social sector – a White House study puts the number at 73% in fact. But despite this, there’s a glass ceiling in this sector as well, where women are underrepresented in leadership positions. For some #ladyboss #girlspo (#girlspo = girl + inspiration), we are happy to feature five women who have founded nonprofits and are helping to change the representation of women in leadership roles.
Esther Pearl, Founder, Executive Director, believes in the power of great storytelling to create social change. She founded Camp Reel Stories because she believes that when women and girls are better represented behind the scenes in the media, they will be better reflected on the screen. Camp Reel Stories is a non-profit organization that empowers 13-18 year old young women with the skills to create their own media, to view current media critically and thoughtfully, and to aspire to leadership in their field.
After years of struggling with unrealistic body standards that lead to issues with self-image, anorexia, and bulimia, Jenny Gaither, Founder/CEO, was inspired to create Movemeant Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to empowering young women to feel confident in their bodies by providing them with tools to be active.
#HappyPeriod was founded by Chelsea VonChaz and her Mother, Cherryl Warner. The idea behind the initiative came to VonChaz after witnessing a homeless woman crossing the street, wearing blood stained undergarments. After some research and talking to a representative of an organization that services the homeless, she learned that pads and tampons are rarely donated and not required to be included in any shelter’s operations budget. Using social media to spread awareness on the initiative, Chelsea and her friends put on the first #HappyPeriod gathering on February 8, 2015, passing out kits in the Skidrow area of Downtown Los Angeles. In its first year, the nonprofit became a movement, forming chapters across the U.S., including New York City, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
Amber M. Koonce, Founder of BeautyGap, launched the nonprofit after traveling to Ghana in the summer of 2009 to work in a detention center for young women and teach at a local grade school. While interacting with the young people she realized that none of the young girls she worked with owned dolls that looked like themselves. Koonce also had frequent conversations with these young girls in which they would express a desire to look more Western. By providing dolls of color for these young girls to adore, Beauty Gap seeks to promote the affirmation of every child’s features in a world where they are not usually celebrated.
Move over Movember, its Dressember. Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women. Those who participate in Dressember are supporting the abolition of modern day slavery and in 2015, raised nearly one million dollars. Started by founder, Blythe Hill, she had the desire to line up interests, talents, and the goal to make a difference in a cause that mattered to her.
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