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8/11 - This Week in Women: Speaking Out, Speaking Up

News

This week, conversations surrounding some of women’s most discussed yet neglected topics covered headlines worldwide. From pay equity in New Zealand to female oppression in India, to diversity in Hollywood, all topics were on the table, with these five women unafraid to put them there.


New Zealand’s Labor MP Annette King Comments on Pay Equity

After a 30-year political career, MP Annette King is retiring from New Zealand’s Parliament following this month’s election. This week, King gave her farewell speech with closing comments that included the lack of equality for women throughout the country, particularly at work. In her speech, King said, “I’m ashamed that we don’t have pay equity in New Zealand. Women have waited long enough. No more excuses, no more half-baked measures, no more litigation. It’s time for us to once again lead on women’s issues.” King also recognized that women “only make up 31 percent of MP’s,” noting the change needs to carry into the political parties, so that Parliament can more wholly represent New Zealand.

Annette King Courtesy of RNZ

Comedian Niecy Nash Discusses Female Representation in Hollywood

Niecy Nash Courtesy of Newsweek

As part of Nash’s new series, Claws, the comedian is drawing attention to how far black women have come in the media – attributing this to actors like Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington. However, the comedian still feels as if not all women have benefitted from the strides these women made.

“There are so many other women in the world besides black and white women whose stories are not being told – Asian women, Indian women, and Muslim women,” said Nash on air with Chelsea Handler. Nash continued to discuss the importance of growth in the right direction to continue to diversify Hollywood. Following this television appearance, Vox published an article in which they used the following statistics from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film as sobering data in support of Nash’s comments: only five percent of broadcast female characters were Asian, five percent Latinas and two percent identifying as “other.”

Taylor Swift’s Battling her Sexual Assault Case

All week, the musician has been trending on social, as followers criticize the lack of support from other celebrities and speculate results. Yesterday, the trial began against former country radio DJ David Mueller, keeping Swift at the top of trending articles due to her “gutsy” testimony and “sharp” responses. “Because my ass is located in the back of my body,” Swift replied to Mueller’s attorney asking why the photo, in which Swift says Mueller was “grabbing her ass cheek,” showed the front of her skirt in place. The attorney continued to question why Swift didn’t take a break during the meet-and-greet after she was alledgedly groped, to which Swift said, “Your client could have taken a normal photo with me.” Throughout the trial, Swift continued to fire short, similar lines as defense, and also as proof of her determination to be a role model to encourage young women that this behavior is unacceptable. The trial continues in Denver next week.

Taylor Swift Courtesy of TGM

Varnika Kundu Inadvertently Starts #AintNoCinderella Campaign

This week Kundu, a DJ, was walking home from work late at night when she was “chased and almost kidnapped” by multiple men in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh. Kundu took to Facebook to post about her experience, noting her appreciation for the quick response by local authorities.

Palak Sharma Courtesy of BBC News

After the post went viral, however, local politician Ramveer Bhatti continued to draw attention to the event by blaming Kundu for the attack. Bhatti said, “The girl should not have gone out at twelve in the night…why was she driving so late in the night?” As a result, Congress party’s social media launched a campaign with the hashtag #AintNoCinderella in response to Bhatti’s reaction to Kundu’s curfew. Spandana told the BBC, “Why shouldn’t women go out after midnight? I’m asking people like Mr Bhatti who are they to set curfew hours for us. This is such a regressive mindset.” The hashtag began trending as more women posted photos of themselves out after midnight, continuing the conversation around victim-shaming and international female oppression.

Rose Namajunas Poses Nude for Women’s Health

Rose Namajunas Courtesy of MyMmanews

As part of the “Naked in 3 Words” campaign put on by Women’s Health, the UFC star said she felt motivated to participate, posting her image on Instagram with the caption, “Cut, The, Shit. Be yourself, work hard, love your body and put your best self forward. What are your 3 words?” In addition to this post, Namajunas also spread body positivity during the shoot, saying, “My naked body is…the story of my whole life. All the scars on my body, all the bumps and bruises, all the muscles – that is a story of everything I have done.” Namajunas continued, “I have a middle finger that was jammed in one of my craziest fights, and it looks like a swollen turkey to this day. There’s a bone chip that’s in there, and it’s a reminder that this finger contributed to my fight, and to my beautiful house, to everything in my life. It might be ugly, but it’s mine and I love it. I’ve got some big old knees, big old feet. I could nitpick, but at the same time, I think it’s all friggin’ beautiful.”

Business

Taking My Own Advice: How I Learned To Let Go Of The Things That Are Out Of My Control

It seemed like everything happened overnight because, well… it did.


One moment, my team and I were business as usual, running a multi-million-dollar edible cookie dough company I built from scratch in my at-home kitchen five years ago and the next we were sitting in an emergency management team meeting asking ourselves, "What do we do now?" Things had escalated in New York, and we were all called to do our part in "flattening the curve" and "slowing the spread."

The governor had declared that all restaurants immediately close to the public. All non-essential businesses were also closed, and 8.7 million New Yorkers were quarantined to their tiny apartments for the foreseeable future. Things like "social distancing" and "quarantine" were our new 2020 vernacular — and reality.

What did that mean for us? Our main revenue source was the retail part of the business. Sure, we offered delivery and take-out, but that was such a small portion of our sales. I had built a retail experience where people from near and far came to eat edible cookie dough exactly how they craved it. We had two stores, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, which employed over 55 people. We have two production facilities; an online business shipping cookie dough nationwide; a wholesale arm that supplies stores, restaurants, and other retail establishments with treats; and a catering vertical for customizable treats for celebrations of all sizes. And while business and sales were nearly at a complete halt, we still had bills. We had payroll to pay, vendors we owed, services we were contractually obligated to continue, rent, utilities, insurance, and none of that was stopping.

How were we going to do this? And for how long will this go on? No one knew.

As an entrepreneur, this certainly wasn't my first-time facing challenges. But this was unprecedented. Unimaginable. Unbelievable. Certainly unplanned. This control-freak type-A gal was unraveling. I had to make decisions quickly. What was best for my team? For my business? For the safety of my staff? For the city? For my family and unborn baby (oh, yeah, throw being 28 weeks pregnant and all those fun hormones in there, it's real interesting!). Everything was spiraling out of control.

I decided to take the advice I had given to many people over the years — focus on the things you can control. There's no point worrying about all the things you have no control over. If you focus there, you'll just continue spiraling into a deeper, darker hole. Let it go. Once you shift your perspective, you can move forward. It's not going to be easy; the challenges still exist. But you can control certain things, so focus your energy and attention on those.

So that's what I did. I chose, for the safety of staff and customers, to close the retail portion completely — it wasn't worth the take-out and delivery volume to staff the store, open ourselves up to more germs and human contact than absolutely necessary.

I went back to our mission and the reason I started the business in the first place — to spread joy. How could we continue to bring happiness to people during this uncertain time? That's our purpose. With millions of people across the globe stuck inside, working from home, quarantined with their families, how can we reach them since they can't come to us? So I thought back to how and why we got started.

Baking, for me, has always been a type of therapy. I could get lost in the mixing bowl and forget about everything else for a moment in time. Sure, I have a huge sweet tooth, but it's about the process. It's about taking all of these different ingredients and mixing them together to create something magically sweet and special. It's about creating and being creative with the simple things. It's about allowing people to indulge in something that brings them joy — a lick from the spatula or a big batch of cookies.

It's about joy in the moment and sharing that joy with others. So my focus is back on that, and it feels good.

We could still ship nationwide, straight to people's doorstep. So we are making it easier and less expensive to send the ultimate comfort food (edible cookie dough) by introducing a reduced shipping rate, and deals on some of our best-selling packages.

In a way for us, it feels like we are going back in time… back to our roots. When I first started the business, we were only shipping nationwide. There were no stores, no big team, no wholesale. It was just me, a small crew juggling it all, and we made it work then. And we'll make it work again. We have to leverage our online business and hope it floats us through this time.

We are focusing our digital content strategy on sharing recipes, activities, and at-home treats with our engaged, amazing social following so they bake with their families and stay busy at-home. We started live baking tutorials where our fans can bake-along with me and I can share all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years with them.

I've leveraged the cookbook I published last year, Hello, Cookie Dough: 110 Doughlicious Confections to Eat, Bake & Share, to come up with fun content and additional things to do at home. We started shipping it and our at-home baking mixes for free to encourage people to get busy in their kitchens!

And as a business, we will continue to connect with our community to bring them joy and focus on what we can control, including our attitude and outlook first.

During times of uncertainty, which this certainly is, you should do the same. Identify the things you can control and focus your time and energy on those things. Distract yourself with the positive. Force yourself to stop asking and worrying about all the what-ifs. Do what you can for the moment and then the next moment. Make a list, and take it day-by-day.

It's going to be okay. You will be okay. We will all be okay.