In this week’s Wednesday 5: portraits of women around the world who are “stirring the fire”; the first Palestinian women’s auto racing team; the culture of (unhealthy) competition among women; Rita Wilson on why being 50 is the “bomb!”; and Patrick Stewart stands in the gap for his mother, a victim of domestic violence.

 

1.

Women ‘Stirring the Fire,’ by Photographer Phil Borges

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In this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you the work of photographer Phil Borges, through his exhibition “Stirring the Fire,” which profiles and celebrates  women and girls who have become catalysts for change in their communities. Particularly moving are the portraits of 50-year-old Gilo, from Ethiopia, who is the first person in her entire family to get a formal education; 38-year-old Fahima, from Afghanistan, who opened a secret school girls in defiance of the Taliban; and 59-year-old Renchin, from India, who founded the Tibetan Nuns Project, an organization that provides exiled nuns with shelter, health care, and, notably, education.

 

2.

The First Palestinian Women’s Auto Racing Team

The call themselves the “Speed Sisters“—the Middle East’s first all-women motor racing team, who have come together, despite the odds, in the occupied West Bank “to compete against each other for the title of fastest woman, for bragging rights for their home city, and to prove that women can compete head on with men in Palestine and beyond,” writes Amber Fares of GOOD. The women are currently being profiled in a documentary film by the same name, Speed Sisters. See the preview below.

 

 3.

Women Resenting Women

“That feeling of resentment rather than joy at the personal and professional achievements of another woman is something most of us can relate to,” writes Ann Friedman in “Shine Theory: Why Powerful Women Make the Greatest Friends” for New York Magazine in a piece that has been gaining a lot of traction, perhaps because it strikes a chord with many women. Friedman poses an important question when talking about the culture of (unhealthy) competition created and fueled by women:

It’s worth asking why we’re spending all this time creating a ranking system in our minds. When we hate on women who we perceive to be more “together” than we are, we’re really just expressing the negative feelings we have about our own careers, or bodies, or relationships.

Yet, as complicated as this question is, the point of Friedman’s article is a simple one. She urges women “to seek out other powerful women as friends” as a way to quell the culture of competition. 

 

4.

Rita Wilson “Being 50 is the Bomb!”

Rita WilsonWe love Rita Wilson (56)—actor, singer, producer (and yes, also Tom Hanks’s wife for the past 25 years). Wilson shares with NPR’s Michel Martin her embrace of her 50s:

“I think being over 50 is completely liberating. I want to say to everybody out there who’s listening who’s not: Get ready. It’s a blast. All the things that you cared about before that you thought were important, they aren’t: how much you weigh or how taut your upper arms are. All that stuff doesn’t matter. It gives way to something that is far more satisfying.”

Wilson also weighs in on that what she took away from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, is the importance of choosing the right romantic partner and its impact on your professional career.

“[Sandberg] also says something else that’s really great in there, which is choosing your partner, the right partner, and knowing what you’re going to each be doing. In my life [Tom and I] tried not to work at the same time so that we could be with each other when the kids were little and we were raising them.”

Listen to the full show here.

 

5.

 Patrick Stewart Against Domestic Violence

We all know that there need to be more men standing with women against domestic violence. One such man, Patrick Stewart, has been very vocal and public about his support for women who have been the victims of violence. In this video, he reveals that he witnessed his mother enduring violence at the hands of his father, and his helplessness to do anything about it. “I do what I do in my mother’s name because I couldn’t help her then. Now I can,” he said. Watch his moving and candid talk about standing in the gap for his mother and uncovering that the source of his father’s rage was a result of combat stress.