Wednesday 5: Sheryl Sandberg, Suzanne Braun Levine, Charmian Gooch

In this week’s Wednesday 5: After you’re done leaning in, Sheryl Sandberg wants you to “ban bossy” from your vocabulary; reimagining women’s magazines to reflect the true realities of the lives of women and girls around the world; instead of using models to show its spring collection, a clothing company puts women with doctorates in front of the camera; Suzanne Braun Levine, first editor of Ms. Magazine, shares her story; and anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch wins the $1 million 2014 TED Prize for her big idea that will inspire the world.



Lean In and Ban Bossy

Just last week our Susan Lieberman wrote about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In movement. She begins with:

What surprised me even more was that an hour into reading it on a plane trip home, I found myself crying.  It hit me hard that I hadn’t leaned in, and instinctively I was aware I hadn’t done so because I feared what it would do to my marriage.

But the feelings of regret about perhaps not leaning in enough soon gave way to gratitude. Lieberman concludes:

But I have stopped feeling sad.  My second surprise from reading this book was to find that, in the end, it made me more appreciative of the life I’ve led than I felt before reading the book.  Now THAT is a great read.

Sandberg has added a new component to the Lean In movement: Ban Bossy. The initiative takes aim at the gendered leadership between men and women. At the heart of the initiative is the notion that “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.'” Watch the video below; our favorite line comes from Beyoncé: “I’m not bossy, I’m the Boss.”



International Women’s Day—More Than Just a Cover Story

We thought this “Cover Stories” campaign by Catapult, a crowdfunding site that advocates for global gender equality, was absolutely brilliant—reimagining women’s magazines covers with images and headlines that reflect the true realities of the lives of women and girls around the world. The magazines are re-dubbed Child Bride and Good Slavekeeping and Thirteen, to call attention to the following grim statistics:

  • This year, 14 million girls—some as young as eight years old—will be married against their will.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked into slavery each year; 80 percent are girls.
  • In New York City, the average age at which a girl first becomes a victim of commercial sexual exploitation is 13.
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Women With Really Big Brains

What do you think the models above all have in common? Well, they are not models at all, but women with or pursuing doctoral degrees! The folks at the clothing company Betabrand decided to say to no the “professionally beautiful” for their spring campaign and instead put out a casting call for women with doctorates. The company’s online shopping site boasts “Fifteen fantastic new women’s items modeled by our ravishing roster of PhDs and doctoral candidates.” What was the inspiration behind the big idea? According to Betabrand founder Chris Lindland, “Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?”

Yes, why not!



In Her Own Words: Suzanne Braun Levine, First Editor of ‘Ms. Magazine’

The folks at have added Suzanne Braun Levine, the first editor of Ms. Magazine, to their incredible roster of groundbreaking women. In her interview, she talks about her first days at the magazine with Gloria Steinhem, the importance of publishing articles about issues she herself was threatened by,  the battle of the sexes, how Title IX changed the lives of women, and women at work vs. women at home. Watch the interview here.



The Anti-Corruption Activist Charmian Gooch

TED Talks turns 30 this year. And they just announced that its  winner for the 2014 TED Prize this year goes to anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch, who in her blistering talk from TEDGlobal 2013, explained why she founded Global Witness and spent the last two decades exploring the many ways that corruption weaves itself into society. The TED Prize is awarded to an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change. Gooch will receive $1 million to invest into a powerful idea. While we wait to hear what the powerful idea will be, here’s her TED Talk from last year.

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