Barbie unveils new dolls in ‘Inspiring Women’ line

Kids everywhere are about to get some new — and some time-honored — heroes to play make-believe with and look up to.

According to HuffPost, Mattel is adding a host of dolls to their new “Inspiring Women” Barbie collection, which honors women who have made history in their respective fields and industries. This new line includes the likes of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the first female aviator to journey across the Atlantic Ocean Amelia Earhart and boundary-breaker in science and math for NASA Katherine Johnson.

While this line of dolls does not have an anticipated release date, HuffPost says the company is also adding 14 new dolls to their existing “Shero” line, this time honoring modern women who are making a name for themselves in the United States and around the world.

Glamour reports these new inductees include: Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins; U.S. Olympic gold medal snowboarder Chloe Kim; Australian conservationist Bindi Irwin; British boxing champion Nicola Adams; Turkish windsurger Çağla Kubat; French chef Hélène Darroze; Chinese volleyball champion Hui Ruoqi; German designer and entrepreneur Leyla Piedayesh; Mexican pro-golfer Lorena Ochoa; Polish journalist Martyna Wojciechowska; Italian soccer player Sara Gama; Chinese actor and philanthropist Xiaotong Guan; Chinese prima ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan; and Spanish entrepreneur and fashion designer Vicky Martin Berrocal.

Senior Vice president and General Manager of Barbie Lisa McKnight said in a release that the dolls aim to teach girls — and all children — to reach for the stars and dream beyond what they see is presently possible, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day.

“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day, because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see,” she said, according to HuffPost. “Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”

Shop Barbie’s “Inspiring Women” collection here.

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Girl Scouts serve up message on consent

Consent is about much more than saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ — it’s about deciding your response for yourself, feeling comfortable in your decision and not being swayed by others to act in a certain way.

A new essay released by The Girl Scouts discusses this very topic, according to Glamour; called “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” the essay warns parents to not force their children to “hug or kiss relatives and other people” and not make their children believe that they “owe” someone a hug by sheer virtue of their relation.

While Glamour reports that much has been made about the message the piece is sending, with some criticizing the essay for sexualizing greetings among family members, the piece makes clear that it is not about this. It is instead about not having parents impose their will on their children while letting kids decide who they feel comfortable greeting and how. An excerpt reads:

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she ‘owes’ another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.”

And this, says Glamour, doesn’t mean that kids won’t naturally decide to hug or kiss family and friends; the point is to not force those who are hesitant and perhaps encourage other polite ways of interaction.

As the piece so succinctly concludes, “Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection.”

 

 

 

Uber to donate $1.2M to Girls Who Code

Uber is finally getting a bit of good PR while also doing some serious good to encourage women and girls in STEM careers.

According to Glamour, the ride-sharing company is “moving forward with their multi-year partnership with Girls Who Code and giving the nonprofit a $1.2 million grant to help make their vision—closing tech’s gender gap—a reality.”

The move follows several reports of sexism and harassment within Uber, says Glamour, but with the company under new management after CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted and a March 2017 diversity report forcing them to double down on making a gender-inclusive workplace, Uber is taking steps in the right direction. Uber’s three-year endeavor to end the diversity gap in the tech world starts with Girls Who Code, reports Glamour, with Uber’s donation helping to “teach over 60,000 girls the skills they need to break into the tech world.”

Glamour also reports that Uber’s new chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John will also be joining the board of directors of Girls Who Code, marking another attempt to encourage girls in tech.

Small steps in the present will help make a bigger impact in the future! Good going, Uber.

Malala brings ‘girl power’ to Iraq on her 20th birthday

Malala Yousafzai is known globally as the single most powerful voice in the fight for securing education for girls around the world. And even on her birthday, the young advocate used her day to focus on giving the gift of education to girls in Iraq.

According to HuffPost, Yousafzai spent her 20th birthday on July 12 — also known as “Malala Day” — by speaking to girls at Iraq’s Hassan Shami camp for the displaced, located just outside of Mosul. The visit, HuffPost reports, is part of her “Girl Power Trip,” which aims at “promoting education for women and girls around the world.”

During her time at the camp, HuffPost says Yousafzai met with girls living under the Islamic State and heard their stories, one of which she documented in a blog post. Meeting with a 13-year-old Iraqi girl named Nayir, Yousafzai wrote that despite having fled Mosul, the young scholar has maintained her determination when it comes to attaining an education.

“‘No matter what, nothing will keep me from finishing my studies,'” she told me. Her new classroom is a small tent in the camp. She just took her exams in sweltering heat,” Yousafzai wrote of her conversation with Nayir.

 

Driving home the importance of education, Yousafzai shared another snippet of her meeting with Nayir:
“But Nayir knows that education is her best chance for a better future. After all she has suffered, she described the feeling of returning to school: ‘It was as if all my hopes came back.'”
Here’s hoping countless girls around the world find their hopes return to them through education.

Yousafzai brings advocacy to social media

While Malala Yousafzai officially completed her last day of secondary school, the 19-year-old education advocate is far from finished in her fight to secure education for girls around the world.

In fact, BBC reports that to mark her last official day as a high schooler on July 7, Yousafzai sent her first-ever tweet from her account to share a message on education and her future pursuits in advocating for education worldwide.

“I know that millions of girls around the world are out of school and may never get the opportunity to complete their education,” she wrote in a thread of six tweets, says BBC. “Next week, I will be back on my to meet girls in Middle East, Africa & Latin America.”

Completing her thread by reaffirming the power of girls’ voices as “our most powerful weapons in the fight for education and equality,” BBC says Yousafzai asked her more than 200,000 followers to join her in her efforts for education.

“On and off Twitter, I’m fighting for girls —  will you join me?​”

We surely will, Malala.

Dunham demonstrates body-positive point on Instagram

Lena Dunham recently bared it all on Instagram to make a statement on body image and self-love — literally.

According to InStyle, the Girls creator and star posted a nude photo of herself (save for a few strategically-placed emojis) along with a caption that not only discussed the impetus behind her decision to post the photo, but also the reason why she is choosing to love her body. Referencing the Instagram account @eatingboys, which InStyle reports frequently addresses body image, Dunham wrote:

“Just wanted to share that one of the reasons @eatingboys has inspired me so much is because of the way she mixes her humor and sexuality. I spent so many years loving my body but thinking it wasn’t lovable by others- its sole purpose was to be fodder for jokes.”

Dunham continued her caption says InStyle, sharing that she often made herself the punchline to jokes so no one else could, but now, she recognizes that her body is worth much more than a joke.

“…At age 31, having been through hell and back with my health and other people’s perceptions of my physicality, I feel deeply comfortable with the idea that this pear-shaped pot of honey is equally good for making people laugh and laying out like a Suicide Girl circa 2004. Love it all.”

Thanks, Lena Dunham, for reminding us to “love it all.”

Beyoncé launches scholarship program

Beyoncé is making it a little easier for young women to pursue higher education.

In honor of the one-year anniversary of surprise album LemonadeELLE reports that the singer is launching the “Formation Scholars” awards for the 2017-2018 academic year, which aims to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident.”

The award is open to current or incoming female students of undergraduate or graduate status that are “pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies,” says ELLE. Four scholarships will be awarded — one to each participating university, which are Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.

If students are interested in applying, details are available from each college.

 

Doing ‘justice’ to inclusivity

Tween clothing store Justice is making sure that all of their young customers are represented in their brand new ad campaign.

According to Amy’s Smart Girls, the retailer updated their Facebook cover photo with an image from their forthcoming ad campaign called, “See Yourself in Justice,” which depicts a diverse group of girls in their clothing, including one young woman in a hijab.

Vice President of Corporate Communications Keriake Lucas told the Huffington Post that the photo is about much more than just making the clothing marketable to an array of young shoppers.

“We’re looking at ways of continuing with our message around inclusivity,” she offered. “We’re really proud to project to our girl that we are really dedicated to every girl, every day.”

The photos, the Huffington Post reports, will run as part of the marketing campaign throughout the rest of February.

 

Marley Dias to release book with Schol

She may only 12 years old, but Marley Dias certainly has a lot to say — enough to fill an entire book.

According to The Cut, the young author who gained public acclaim after creating the #1000BlackGirlBooks drive —  a book drive just for books where black girls were the main characters — will be releasing a title of her own with Scholastic.

Due in Spring 2018, Mic reports that the nonfiction work will serve as a guide to helping kids pursue their dreams. The Cut cites a release announcing the news that describes her forthcoming book this way:

“In her forthcoming nonfiction book for ages 10 and up, Marley Dias, the powerhouse girl-wonder who started the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign, shows kids how to make their own dreams come true. In this accessible “keep-it-real” guide, Marley tells how she’s turned her passion into a literacy crusade that has captured the attention of the media, policymakers, and young people throughout the world.”

While Vice President and Executive Editor for Scholastic Andrea Davis Pickney said they are “thrilled to welcome her to the Scholastic family,” the excitement is certainly not lost on Dias.

“I am so excited to be doing this book with Scholastic,” she said in a release. “All my friends can probably only name one publishing house and that is Scholastic; they are everywhere. Scholastic is the perfect partner for spreading my message of diversity, inclusion and social action.”

Stars support education for girls around the world

Countless girls may be one step closer to achieving an education thanks to the help of a celebrity-backed campaign.

According to Teen Vogue, 81 celebrities — including Lady Gaga, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Danai Gurira and Rashida Jones — have “signed an open letter that is part of ONE‘s campaign to support education of girls all around the world.”

Called “Poverty is Sexist,” the organization’s campaign seeks to help the nearly 130 million girls who lack funds necessary to attain a proper education secure just that, says Teen Vogue; the open letter signed by some of Hollywood’s best and brightest will be sent to leaders around the world in the hopes that action will be taken to give all girls access to education.

“All children deserve a good education, but in the poorest countries girls are denied it more often than boys,” the open letter says, according to Teen Vogue. “Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Every additional year of school that a girl completes increases her future earnings, which is good for her family, her community and her country.”

To help girls get the education they deserve, add your name to the letter here.