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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Beauty brand offers gender-neutral products for all

Beauty for all — that is the philosophy of this inclusive cosmetic brand.

According to PopSugar, gender-neutral beauty brand Fluide not only provides ultra-trendy (re: glitter! metallics!) makeup looks, this beaut-for-all brand also donates portions of its profits to LGBTQ+ rights organizations.

Currently featuring a lineup of “liquid lipstick, glitter pigments, and sparkling nail polish to help anyone and everyone get their glow on,” PopSugar says Fluide displays their products on a cast of diverse models, further driving home their mission of providing makeup looks for all.

As if that isn’t enough, the brand “donates a portion of its sales to the LGBTQ+ health center Callen-Lorde and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which fights to protect the civil liberties of nonbinary people,” even encouraging its customers to offer suggestions of the organizations it should support.

Ready to shop this inclusive line? Click here.

Iceland makes pay inequity illegal

2018 started off with a major change in Iceland.

According to ELLE, Iceland made it illegal to pay women less than men as of Jan. 1, 2018, becoming the first country in the world to “make equal pay the law.” As for the specifics of the law, ELLE reports that it mandates “companies that employ more than 25 people are obliged to obtain a government certificate showing their pay equality policies,” and if they don’t, they will be hit with a fine.

The move to create a more level playing field in the country follows their 2017 announcement of the legislation on International Women’s Day, says ELLE, following through on the year-old promise and asserting their position as a worldwide leader in gender equality.

But their efforts to create a more gender-equal society don’t end there: ELLE says the law is part of an effort to close the gender pay gap completely by 2022.

Former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson perhaps put it best at the Global Leaders’ Meeting in 2015 when he said, “Men cannot sit idly by when issues such as gender-based violence and the gender pay gap are being discussed. These are not only women’s issues. These are issues of general human rights.”

Apple unveils new gender-neutral emojis

Whenever Apple makes an announcement, you can be pretty sure that it is going to be game changing, and its latest move is no exception.

According to InStyle, the tech giant recently announced that they will offer a host of new emojis to their already-expansive collection, including some new gender-neutral characters. The additions, which CNN says comes along with the iOS 11 update, includes “more expressive smiley faces, gender-neutral options, mythical creatures, clothing, food and animals,” while also adding more skin tones and country flags to their roster.

Additionally, InStyle reports that the update also includes new “empowered female emojis,” which take the form of “a female rock climber and a woman breastfeeding.”

With these changes to Apple’s emoji repertoire, hopefully there will come increased representation in the future.

 

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.

Murray serves up essay on gender equality

Having an ally in the fight for gender equality is always a plus. And thanks to tennis star Andy Murray, female athletes in tennis and beyond are getting yet another advocate for securing level playing field — or court.

According to HuffPost, Murray penned an essay for BBC Magazine on “the importance of gender equality in tennis and in all sports,” a topic he learned much about after hiring Amelie Mauresmo, a former professional tennis player who he hired as a coach between 2014 and 2016. It was in this experience, HuffPost sayswhere Murray witnessed firsthand the sexism that plagued her every day, and it was here where he learned he could no longer keep silent on this issue.

Commenting on the tenacity of male and female tennis players, Murray offered that there is no difference between athletes of different genders.

“People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player,” he wrote. “And that work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman…Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour.”

Murray concluded his essay by asserting his hope for the future, says HuffPost, offering that a “level playing field” may be coming soon. We hope he’s correct!

To read his essay in full, click here.

 

 

 

Sowers hired by San Francisco 49ers

Katie Sowers is used to tackling obstacles in her way; she’s played football since she was a child and even played professionally in the Women’s Football Alliance. But recently, Sowers took down one of the biggest barriers in her way — and in the way of countless others.

According to ThinkProgressSowers was recently hired by the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant, not only making her “the second full-time assistant coach in the NFL,” but also “the first openly LGBTQ coach in NFL history.” Her move to a full-time position follows a stint working as a scouting intern for the Atlanta Falcons, says ThinkProgress, where she got to know and later work with then-offensive coordinator for the Falcons  Kyle Shanahan (now the 49ers head coach).

ThinkProgress also reports that Sowers began working this summer as a coaching intern with the 49ers through the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Fellowship program, which led to her full-time position. As an offensive assistant, ThinkProgress says Sowers will “help break down film, help with practice scripts and player rotations, and generally assist the wide receivers in their day-to-day preparations.”

Speaking with OutSports about her position and the influence diversity can have in pro sports, Sowers shared that seeing women work in football never seemed possible when she was a child.

“I would have loved to see women in this role when I was growing up because I think it would have allowed me to follow my passion even earlier,” she said.

But now that she has broken into the role, Sowers said that creative a diverse and inclusive environment where people feel comfortable being themselves should become a priority.

“The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people,” she told OutSports, “no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”

Congratulations, Katie!

 

Sorority to accept trans women

It looks like the Alpha Chi Omega sorority is about to live up to its Twitter bio: “Real. Strong. Women.”

According to Glamour, the sorority announced a month ago that it will begin to accept transgender women to all of its chapters nationwide — a move that Alpha Chi Omega national president Angela Costley Harris wrote aligns with their mission:

“Alpha Chi Omega exists to develop and empower strong women,” Glamour says she wrote to sorority members. “If we are to continue to live this important mission in today’s world, Alpha Chi Omega must be inclusive of all who live and identify as women, regardless of their gender assigned at birth.”

So far, Glamour shares that response by active Alpha Chi Omega members has been positive, with several members around the country offering welcoming messages of acceptance.

While there are others who have expressed concerns, perhaps the move is best summed up by the director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who shared with Glamour that Alpha Chi Omega’s decision “demonstrates the growing awareness of gender identity going beyond the binary and a recognition and acceptance that gender is not binary.”

 

Audi tackles gender equality in Super Bowl ad

If a car commercial could ever be both enlightening and empowering, a Super Bowl ad spot by Audi was exactly that.

According to Glamour, the unexpected ad delivered a thoughtful message on gender equality by telling the story of a young girl facing off against a boy in a racing competition. Narrated by the girl’s father, Glamour says he wonders in the voiceover how to explain the gender inequalities that exist in out society to his daughter:

“‘Do I tell her that her grandpa is worth more than her grandma?” the father ponders as she pulls ahead of the pack. ‘That her dad is worth more than her mom? Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets? Or maybe, I’ll be able to tell her something different.'”

While the young female competitor ends the race victorious, Glamour says that Audi used the commercial to do more than showcase a touching tale of a father’s concern for his daughter’s future. Instead, the commercial served as an announcement for Audi’s own attempts to level the gender playing field and close the wage gap.

With the commercial ending on the words, “Progress for everyone,” it looks like Audi is ready to live up to their words — and their commercial’s — main message.

In the video’s description on Audi’s Youtube channel, Glamour reports the company wrote, “Progress is in every decision we make, every technology we invent, every vehicle we build…It’s our past, our future, our reason to exist. Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work.”

Beyoncé to headline Coachella in April

With a total of nine Grammy nominations, Beyoncé has a chance of winning big at the music industry’s biggest night. But it looks like the pop superstar has already won the stage of one of the biggest music festivals in the world.

According to the Huffington Post, Beyoncé is set to headline Coachella, along with Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar. While snagging a headliner spot is enough to celebrate, the Huffington Post  points out that it will be a history-making moment: “She’s also the first solo female artist to headline Coachella in the last decade and the first black woman ever to headline the California-based festival.”

Only two other women have headlined Coachella since its start in 1999, says HuffPost: Bjork in 2007 and female-fronted English rock band Portishead in 2008.

Beyoncé’s headlining performance comes after a year when Coachella performances were comprised of only a small number of female acts. HuffPost reports, “last year, Coachella’s lineup included 168 male artists and just 60 female artists ― a figure that includes both all-female and mixed-gender acts.”

While this year’s lineup still doesn’t achieve gender parity — HuffPost says the 2017 performances include “108 all-male acts and 40 all-female and mixed-gender acts” — Beyoncé’s headliner stint may help usher in a new era for Coachella and spur other music festivals to follow suit.