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An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos, From SWAAY

Lifestyle

Very recently, Jeff Bezos asked people to reply to his tweet with their ideas. Just a few hours later there were more than 3,600 such replies. A few days after that, tens of thousands of replies streamed in as numerous as they are varied. From Girl Scouts of America to funding a solution to the Flint, Michigan water crisis to international causes, the requests proliferated like mushrooms in northern Michigan springtime.


Bezos and his family have donated $35 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and $15 million to Princeton University, his alma mater. Crowdsourcing philanthropic ideas, especially presented in a single post, might lead to flooding. But at least it's a start. So, without further ado, a friendly letter to our friend Jeff is in order:

I'll respect your valuable time and keep this short and sweet: it's time for you to join us on the Feminist Jet as we fly off to visit four worthwhile causes that could greatly benefit from your fiscal intervention.

1. The first stop is Women on Wings. Founded by Maria van de Heijden and Ellen Tacoma in 2007, this organization connects women with entrepreneurs, who employ them and market their crafts, giving poor women living in India an independent income.

As you already know, as an admirer of India, it's a rapidly expanding economy with a population of 700 million people, who mostly still live on just $2 dollars per day. A quick visit to their website will reveal that they have created 221,000 sustainable jobs for women as well as saved 660,000 children from malnutrition, while additionally enrolling them in school.

2. The second stop, Girls on The Run, is dedicated to empowering girls to become healthy and confident young women. The organization achieves this by using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. They envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. GOTR was founded by Molly Barker and thirteen girls in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996.

The following year Barker met Dori Luke and together they expanded programming in Charlotte and other communities. What began as one school is now more than 200 strong in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2015 GOTR served its millionth girl and hosted more than 350 end-of-season 5K events across the United States.

3. Our third stop, Girls Not Brides, is a global partnership of more than 700 civil society organizations from over 90 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18 – the equivalent of 28 girls every minute, or one girl every two seconds.

The first global study on the economic cost of child marriage shows that this human violation also has a major negative impact on national economies.

The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage research, conducted jointly by The World Bank and The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), shows that the biggest economic impacts of child marriage are related to fertility and population growth, education, earnings and the health of children born to young mothers.

The study highlights that investments in ending child marriage can help countries achieve multiple development goals. It explores the impacts of child marriage in five areas: fertility and population growth, educational attainment and learning, labor force participation, decision-making and investments, and health, nutrition and violence. The research found that child marriage could save the global economy trillions of dollars between now and 2030.

4. Our final stop takes you to the doors of SWAAY Media, a ground-breaking digital publication in Manhattan that harnesses the glamour of today's business-minded woman, and was founded by Ms. New York U.S. 2015, Iman Oubou. Offering an editorial platform for business-minded women, SWAAY serves as an innovative example of what female-focused media should embody: intellect, influence and a powerful visual of femininity.

Iman has also worked as a cancer research scientist and is a board member of 'Mission to Heal,' an NGO based in Washington, D.C. Like yourself, Iman boasts an engineering background and chose to pursue other passions.

Whatever you decide to do with your charitable donations, we appreciate you taking the time to invest in a good cause. The world needs more generous people like you.

Warm Regards,

Your friends at SWAAY Media

Our newsletter that womansplains the week
3min read
Career

Momtors: The New Wave of Mentors Helping New Moms Transition Back Into Careers

New parents re-entering the workforce are often juggling the tangible realities of daycare logistics, sleep deprivation, and a cascade of overwhelming work. No matter how parents build their family, they often struggle with the guilt of being split between home and work and not feeling exceptionally successful in either place.


Women building their families often face a set of challenges different from men. Those who have had children biologically may be navigating the world of pumping at work. Others might feel pulled in multiple directions when bringing a child into their home after adoption. Some women are trying to learn how to care for a newborn for the first time. New parents need all the help they can get with their transition.

Women returning to work after kids sometimes have to address comments such as:

"I didn't think you'd come back."

"You must feel so guilty."

"You missed a lot while you were out."

To counteract this difficult situation, women are finding mentors and making targeting connections. Parent mentors can help new moms address integrating their new life realities with work, finding resources within the organization and local community, and create connections with peers.

There's also an important role for parent mentors to play in discussing career trajectory. Traditionally, men who have families see more promotions compared to women with children. Knowing that having kids may represent a career setback for women, they may work with their mentors to create an action plan to "back on track" or to get recognized for their contributions as quickly as possible after returning to work.

Previously, in a bid to accommodate mothers transitioning back to work, corporate managers would make a show at lessoning the workload for newly returned mothers. This approach actually did more harm than good, as the mother's skills and ambitions were marginalized by these alleged "family friendly" policies, ultimately defining her for the workplace as a mother, rather than a person focused on career.

Today, this is changing. Some larger organizations, such as JP Morgan Chase, have structured mentorship programs that specifically target these issues and provide mentors for new parents. These programs match new parents navigating a transition back to work with volunteer mentors who are interested in helping and sponsoring moms. Mentors in the programs do not need to be moms, or even parents, themselves, but are passionate about making sure the opportunities are available.

It's just one other valuable way corporations are evolving when it comes to building quality relationships with their employees – and successfully retaining them, empowering women who face their own set of special barriers to career growth and leadership success.

Mentoring will always be a two way street. In ideal situations, both parties will benefit from the relationship. It's no different when women mentor working mothers getting back on track on the job. But there a few factors to consider when embracing this new form of mentorship

How to be a good Momtor?

Listen: For those mentoring a new parent, one of the best strategies to take is active listening. Be present and aware while the mentee shares their thoughts, repeat back what you hear in your own words, and acknowledge emotions. The returning mother is facing a range of emotions and potentially complicated situations, and the last thing she wants to hear is advice about how she should be feeling about the transition. Instead, be a sounding board for her feelings and issues with returning to work. Validate her concerns and provide a space where she can express herself without fear of retribution or bull-pen politics. This will allow the mentee a safe space to sort through her feelings and focus on her real challenges as a mother returning to work.

Share: Assure the mentee that they aren't alone, that other parents just like them are navigating the transition back to work. Provide a list of ways you've coped with the transition yourself, as well as your best parenting tips. Don't be afraid to discuss mothering skills as well as career skills. Work on creative solutions to the particular issues your mentee is facing in striking her new work/life balance.

Update Work Goals: A career-minded woman often faces a new reality once a new child enters the picture. Previous career goals may appear out of reach now that she has family responsibilities at home. Each mentee is affected by this differently, but good momtors help parents update her work goals and strategies for realizing them, explaining, where applicable, where the company is in a position to help them with their dreams either through continuing education support or specific training initiatives.

Being a role model for a working mother provides a support system, at work, that they can rely on just like the one they rely on at home with family and friends. Knowing they have someone in the office, who has knowledge about both being a mom and a career woman, will go a long way towards helping them make the transition successfully themselves.