New Land O’Lakes CEO makes history

There’s a first for everything, and the Land O’Lakes company has hit a major company milestone.

According to HuffPost, the Minnesota-based company has named Beth Ford its new CEO, becoming the first openly gay woman to lead Land O’Lakes in its history. Ford explained her pride in the promotion to CNN, says HuffPost, especially that it’s considered “an important milestone by many LGBTQ rights advocates.”

“‘I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life,’ said Ford, whose resume includes stints at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. ‘If my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment.'”

While HuffPost points out that Ford joins Apple’s Tim Cook and Dow Chemical Company’s James “Jim” Fitterling as the third openly gay person to take the helm of a Fortune 500 company as its CEO, she is the only woman to do so.

Deena Fidas, director of workplace equality for the Human Rights Campaign, expressed her the magnitude of Ford’s promotion this way:

“This is not a story of someone getting into the higher echelons of leadership and then coming out,” she told CNN. “This is someone walking into this role with her full self.”

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Zendaya fights for equal audition opportunities

Equal opportunities are important across all industries and upon all forums, but especially so in the highly visual, visible and influential world of Hollywood.

And so for multi-hyphenate Zendaya, making sure all are considered for acting jobs is just one way to achieve equal access to opportunities and ultimately, equal representation. In a new interview in Marie Claire‘s September issue, Huffington Post reports that the 21 year old told Janet Mock that her process for auditioning is both intentional and barrier-breaking.

“I always tell my theatrical manager, ‘Anytime it says they’re looking for white girls, send me out. Let me get in the room. Maybe they’ll change their minds,'” she said. “And, honestly, if there’s a part that I didn’t get or that I really wanted at the time, shit always ends up working out.”

Using the example of her role as MJ in “Spiderman” as an example, HuffPost says while the role wasn’t written for a woman of color, Zendaya pressed forward for an audition.

“I definitely went into it like, ‘Hopefully they’ll’ ― as they call it in the industry ― ‘go ethnic,'” she said, according to HuffPost. “I remember making the decision to straighten my hair. I didn’t know that they were going to be more diverse in their casting. I didn’t know that I was walking into a situation where they were already breaking the rules. You get so used to having to break the rules for people.”

The is one type of rule breaking we’ll fully support! Click here to read the full interview.

Senate approves resolution allowing Duckworth to bring newborn on floor

After becoming the first senator to give birth while in office, Tammy Duckworth faces what millions of women around the world face: how to balance caring for their family while also thriving in their career. But a new Senate resolution just made it a whole lot easier for this new mom and democratic senator from Illinois.

According to The Hill, the Senate has approved a resolution to allow Sen. Duckworth to bring her baby on the floor, opening the door for any senator to “bring a child younger than one year of age onto the floor during votes.”

Because senators have to be physically present in the Senate chamber in order to vote, The Hill said Duckworth filed the resolution shortly after giving birth to her baby girl, and senators Amy Klombuchar (D-Minn.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) quickly moved it out of committee. The resolution was eventually passed with unanimous consent.

“We are proud to have Senator Tammy Duckworth — working mom to a newborn —among our ranks and I’m glad the Rules Committee was able to swiftly make this historic rule change for her and future senators,” Klobuchar said in a statement, according to The Hill, with Blunt adding that “being a parent is a difficult job, and the Senate rules shouldn’t make it any harder.”

For Duckworth, the move may have larger implications beyond the Senate floor.

“The Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies,” she said in a statement. “These policies aren’t just a women’s issue, they are a common-sense economic issue.”

While changes like these to workplaces around the U.S. may not be on the horizon just yet, this resolution may just open the door for changes that provide family-friendly workplaces for all.

Streep seeking to end sexism in Hollywood

Sexism is everywhere: in corporate America, in schools and in sports. But according to Meryl Streep, it doesn’t have to exist in Hollywood any longer.

That’s why she’s teaming up with her fellow actors to change the culture in the movie capital of the world and forge a level playing field for all. Glamour reports that at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, Streep told Gloria Steinem that she’s working with other actresses to stamp out sexual harassment and lead the charge in creating an environment of equality.

“Right now I’m getting together with a bunch of actresses that you know very well, and we’re all sort of going to make a set of nonnegotiable demands,” she said. “We’re after 50-50 by 2020.”

Spurred to create change by the numerous allegations against former film producer Harvey WeinsteinGlamour says Streep sees him as the most egregious case of the sexism that exists in Hollywood and beyond.

“The thing about Harvey Weinstein is that he is sort of the most gargantuan example of a kind of disrespect that permeates every industry, every enterprise,” Streep said, according to Glamour. “I’m not sure why. I have a lot of theories — maybe it’s in response to the women’s movement. Maybe it’s in fear of the women movement. But these abuses are about dominance.”

And changing that notion of dominance starts with lifting more women into high-ranking positions of power, says Streep, who thinks that “it starts at the top, none of these shenanigans would have filtered down and been tolerated.”

Offering a suggestion for every industry, Glamour said Streep summed up her argument by urging employers — and white men in power — to hire beyond their own ‘type’ to increase not only the diversity of employees, but also diversity of thought.

“White hires white. A guy who wears his baseball cap backward hires a guy who wears his baseball cap backward,” she said. “So we have to encourage the people who are currently in power, who are of one gender, to open the door.”

 

 

Kay Customz displays diversity in kids’ toys

Children everywhere can now see themselves represented in their dolls, thanks to Kay Customz.

According to Hello Giggles, the custom-product company has designed a line of collectible  and customizable vitiligo dolls, putting the superficial skin disorder on the map and advocating for inclusivity with each doll’s unique appearance. Created by store owner Kay Black, Hello Giggles says Black hand paints the dolls to ensure that they match the skin of those who order the dolls.

Continuing her latent mission of equal representation, TODAY reports that Black tries to be inclusive to all people.

“My goal is to go beyond the average assembly line-looking doll, to make relatable and realistic works,” she told TODAY Style. “I find new and used dolls at different thrift stores and yard sales and use them as a canvas. I’ve created ones with red hair and freckles and others with albinism.”

Through her work, Black says she sees firsthand just how important it is to have everyone represented and accurately portrayed.

“People are literally in tears when they get their dolls,” she told People magazine. “I want to create dolls everyone can relate to.”

 

 

Student film flips gender roles

Sometimes, it takes the youngest among us to see the world from a different perspective.

Just ask Ella Fields, a 14-year-old filmmaker who HuffPost says created a film on gender roles last year as a student of the Cinematic Arts Academy at Millikan Middle School in Los Angeles. Tasked with creating a film focused on something she was passionate about, Fields immediately landed on gender stereotypes, she told HuffPost.

“One of the first things that popped into my head was gender stereotypes, and how I truly believe that anyone can wear whatever they want, and how colors should not have any gender associated with them,” she said. “They are just colors.”

Fields channeled this sentiment into her film, “Stereo,” which HuffPost says reverses gender roles and imagines a world where “boys are the only ones who are supposed to wear dresses and girls are forbidden from participating in musical theater, both things the female protagonist yearns to do.”

In reflecting on her work, Fields told HuffPost that her main goal for the film was to “raise awareness of how stereotypes are meaningless.” And with her film being viewed over 1.6 million times, she did just that.

Watch Fields’ film here.

Raisman raises body-positive point on Instagram

Women can wear whatever they want and still be respected — just ask Aly Raisman.

According to HuffPost, the gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast took to Instagram to make a statement about body confidence. Posting a photo of herself in a swimsuit with a plunging neckline, HuffPost says Raisman captioned the photo this way:

“Wear whatever makes you feel happy and confident. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t dress. We are all entitled to wear what we want. Females do not have to dress modest to be respected. Be proud of your body.”

Raisman continued her inspiring message by offering that despite our insecurities or the number we see on the scale, we are “unique and beautiful in your own way.”

That’s a message we’ll be sure to keep in mind all summer long!

Macron fills cabinet with female ministers

The faces of French leadership are increasingly female, thanks to new French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to the BBC, Macron has already created a “gender-balanced cabinet,” filling 11 of 22 positions with female ministers, fulfilling an early campaign promise.

Some of the women taking up cabinet positions include, Sylvie Goulard, who the BBC says will be the defense minister, while Laura Flessel — an Olympic fencer — is sports minister. BBC also reports that Macron named Marlène Schiappa, whose s”uccessful blog Maman Works saw her dubbed the ‘spokeswoman for working mums,'” a junior minister for gender equity.

While the move certainly places women in high-ranking positions, the BBC says that “one of the top five posts, that of defence, went to a woman.”

 

 

Portman imparts pay gap wisdom

The gender pay gap has certainly impacted the women of Hollywood: from Jennifer Lawrence and Hilary Swank to Robin Wright and Emmy Rossum, both film and television actresses alike have often been paid much less than their male co-stars. But that’s not stopping them from speaking out on the issue to incite change.

According to the Huffington Post, Natalie Portman is the latest to discuss a moment in her career when she was paid less than what she now realizes she deserved. In the Jackie star’s interview with Marie Claire UKthe Huffington Post says Portman shared that for their film No Strings Attached, her co-star Ashton Kutcher earned “three times as much” than her for their work on the film, which was released the same year she won an Oscar for her role in Black Swan (2011).

“‘I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,’ she said in the magazine’s February cover story. ‘Your quote is the highest you’ve ever been paid. His quote was three times higher than mine so they said he should get paid three times more.'”

Looking back, however, HuffPost says Portman shared, “I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been! I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain. But the disparity is crazy.”

Also noting that “in Hollywood we are making 30 cents to the dollar,” Portman said that the pay disparity also indicates a lack of opportunity for women, according to HuffPost.

“We just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities,” she said. “We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem.”

Wambach’s the ‘MAKER’ of Equality

After a prolific career in soccer, two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Abby Wambach has set her sights on bigger and better things in her recent retirement from the sport.

According to The Huffington Postthe former soccer star joined AOL CEO Tim Armstrong at the MAKERS Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California this week to discuss her future plans — which include attaining equality for all.

“It’s astonishing to me that at the executive level at many, many Forbes 500 companies, there are very few women, very few people of different orientations, different colors, different ethnicities,” Wambach said. “So I want to tackle the biggie. And it’s the thing that drives me the most crazy – it costs zero dollars to treat someone equally.”

Although removing herself from the world of athletics — a realm she has always known — has been difficult at times, Wambach has already found some new passions on which to channel the time and energy she used to spend training.

The Huffington Post says, “The 35-year-old has been on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton and vocal about the gender pay gap — an issue that has become particularly visible in the soccer world,” and Wambach believes that politics can change such disparities across industries.

As if her new passion project weren’t enough, Wambach was also honored with her own Barbie at the conference, pointing to the impact her successful career can have on young girls.

While she may be pursuing other things these days, make no mistake: Wambach knows she is going to give it her best shot, just as she always did.

“I know no matter what I do I’m gonna be good at [it]. But unfortunately, for me, that’s not good enough. I want to be the best at whatever I do next. And it’s gonna be changing the world, and fighting for equality for everybody in every industry in every city in every country so that everybody has equal opportunity no matter who you are. So that’s what I’m gonna do. I have small goals.”