As published on LinkedIn Influencers on December 22nd, 2016.
There’s been so many new and amazing things to discover this past year, I thought I’d share some of my favorites before we all disappear into turkey comas once more. Feel free to share your own in each of these categories.
5 – Books of 2016
Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (For A Sexist Workplace) by Jessica Bennett – What began as a monthly gathering for women to vent about the sexism they were encountering at work eventually gave birth to the Feminist Fight Club, a no holds barred survival guide/manifesto for working women everywhere. Filled with personal stories, research, statistics, and hard hitting advice, Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club is a sassy and fun-read.
Gender Lens Investing: Uncovering Opportunities for Growth, Returns, and Impact by Joseph Quinlan and Jackie VanderBrug – Women today are an unparalleled force in the global economy—as successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives and family breadwinners. Yet gender-based violence, the absence of women’s legal rights, and the persistent wage gap stubbornly remain. This paradox creates an unprecedented and underexplored opportunity for investors. This is the first book of its kind to examine, in-depth, the advantages of integrating gender into investment analysis. I have been advocating for years for gender lens investing, and I was thrilled when I heard about this book’s development and publication. I have also known Jackie VanderBrug for years and I am a huge fan. The practical insights included in it can be used to support any issue and/or cause, so please pick up a copy today and move forward in aligning your investment dollars with your values and the causes you hold most dear.
The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream by Courtney E. Martin – For the first time in history, the majority of American parents don’t believe that their children will be better off than they were. But what exactly does “better off” mean in an age when people are rejecting the traditional model of “the good life” in ever greater numbers and finding an alternative American dream? Martin has coined this movement the New Better Off, and this book is an incredible compilation of her knowledge, research, and advice on how to navigate this new world.
We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino – Make no mistake, this is a heavy read. But it is essential reading in understanding rape culture, the issue of consent, and how these relate to the epidemic of campus sexual assault currently happening in the United States. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy, but especially parents. Let us learn from these stories so we can help teach our young girls and boys about consent and healthy sexual relationships, and let’s move the dial on sexual assault. These amazing women also founded the non-profit End Rape on Campus which I am a proud supporter of, and if you have not yet seen the documentary film The Hunting Ground, it is now on Netflix.
Where Fairy Tales Go by Annette Ross – 16 years ago, Annette Ross and her husband Bill found their whole life changed forever when a medical error during the delivery of their second child left Annette without the ability to walk. Where Fairy Tales Go is a personal and intimate memoir of the years that followed, and their struggles to rebuild their lives, raise their family of five young girls, and reclaim a fairy tale that was lost. Annette is a personal friend of mine, and her story is as inspiring as it is moving.
4 – Films of 2016
Audrie & Daisy – This hard-hitting documentary film is an urgent real-life drama that examines the ripple effects on families, friends, schools, and communities when two underage young women find that sexual assault crimes against them have been caught on camera. Audrie & Daisy, which made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, takes a hard look at American’s teenagers who are coming of age in this new world of social media bullying, spun wildly out of control. Audrie & Daisy is available to stream on Netflix, but please consider hosting a screening in your local community. Post-screening discussion guides are available online.
Captain Fantastic – If you missed this film in theatres this past summer, and the box office numbers suggest that you probably did, I highly recommend checking out this compelling family drama starring Viggo Mortensen as a father raising his six children off the grid in the Pacific Northwest. Captain Fantastic premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January, and more than lives up to its name. Truth be told I am a huge Viggo fan.
Step – Set to premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, keep a look out for Step, a documentary film that chronicles a year in the life of the Senior class of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. Baltimore is a city that is fighting to save its youth, and this school is attempting to rectify the struggle that young girls endure to be successful in school despite their home life and the influence of their Baltimore community. This documentary chronicles the trials and triumphs of the Senior girls on the high school’s Step Team as they prepare to be the first in their families to go to college – and the first graduating class of The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. Step is more than just a hobby for these girls, is is the outlet that keeps them united and fighting for their goals.
Unrest – Also set to premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Unrest is the first film from Jennifer Brea, an acclaimed journalist who has spent years chronicling her struggle with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), formerly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At the age of 28, Jenn became progressively more ill, losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair, and when doctors told her it was “all in her head,” she picked up her camera to document the world of millions of patients medicine forgot. Unrest tells the stories of Jen and Omar, newlyweds facing the unexpected, and four other families and their wildly different journeys with ME. Together, they fight to live in spite of the world’s most prevalent orphan disease. I know that this will be an incredibly important film, so please keep a look out for it in the coming year.
3 – Must Watch TED Talks
Suzanne Barakat: Islamophobia Killed My Brother. Let’s End the Hate – I saw this talk in person at TedxWomen this year, and it brought me to tears. Please watch, reflect, and learn from this horrific crime.
Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action – This is an oldie but a goodie. For anyone interested in how great leadership can inspire great things, please watch this classic TED Talk.
Halla Tómasdóttir: It’s Time For Women to Run for Office – Another highlight of TEDxWomen 2016, this talk by Halla Tómasdóttir recounted how she overcame media bias, changed the tone of the political debate, and surprised her entire nation when she ran for president of Iceland — inspiring the next generation of leaders along the way. A must see!
2 – Newsletters to follow
The Broadsheet – A daily newsletter by Kristen Bellstrom with all the news on the world’s most powerful women. One of my daily reads.
Women and Hollywood – A weekly newsletter from the Women and Hollywood blog, founded by Melissa Silverstein, which focuses on gender diversity in the entertainment industry.
1 – Podcast
On Being by Krista Tippet – On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast that opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? A friend told me about this amazing platform, and now I can’t wait for my walks with my dogs or for a few found moments in the car so I can listen to yet another recording. The very first one I listened to remains by favorite; an interview Ms. Tippet did with Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin (yes, the author mentioned above) on the subject of rebellion. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
Happy Holidays everyone!