Online Abortion Service Women on Web Welcomes New Executive Director
Women on Web, a Canada-based international telemedical abortion service is excited to announce the appointment of Venny Ala-Siurua as its new Executive Director. She previously held the role of Manager of Operations in the organization.
After 15 successful years, Dr. Rebecca Gomperts will step down as the Executive Director and become Research Director, continuing to steer the organization’s innovative research efforts.
“To have the opportunity to work with such a strong and charismatic leader as Rebecca Gomperts has been a great privilege and opportunity. No one exceeds her in creativity and devotion. I know her commitment to the Foundation remains undiminished and now, with the leadership of our wonderful new Executive Director, Venny Ala-Siurua, Rebecca will be able to commit herself more to helping envision our next 15 years and beyond.” Richard Owens, Chair of the board of Women on Web International Foundation.
Venny brings to the role over a decade of leadership in health and social protection projects, with international experience in nonprofit management and organizational change.
Venny’s hiring comes at an exciting juncture for the organization as we re-imagine our future role in the post-pandemic landscape of abortion access, enabling the preference for self-managed medical abortions and advocating for abortion services that correspond to the rights, needs, and autonomy of pregnant people. Under Venny’s leadership, digital rights will carve out a prominent space in our work as part of the organization’s growth and evolution.
“We will continue working towards a future where at-home abortions are a part of modern and inclusive healthcare. Self-managed abortions should not only be endorsed during a time of crisis, and they should not be considered as the last resort that individuals turn to after all other options have been exhausted.” Venny Ala-Siurua, Executive Director of Women on Web International Foundation.
You can read the full interview with Venny on the website.
This announcement coincides with Women on Web’s 15-year anniversary campaign that looks back on the past achievements and focuses on some exciting new directions. To stay updated on their future work, please sign up for their newsletter to be launched in June.
COMCAST ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE OF TWENTY PEARLS – A DOCUMENTARY EXAMINING THE STORIED HISTORY OF ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, INCORPORATED – ON ITS NEWLY LAUNCHED BLACK EXPERIENCE ON XFINITY CHANNEL
Comcast NBCUniversal is excited to announce the exclusive premiere of the documentary film “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated”, arriving Friday, March 26 on its newly launched Black Experience on Xfinity Channel, available on X1, Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app.
From award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, produced by Coffee Bluff Pictures, and narrated by Phylicia Rashād, Twenty Pearls closely examines the founding and legacy of the first Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which is now regarded as one of the most significant and influential Black organizations in history. The documentary tells a powerful story of sisterhood. In 1908, nine Black women enrolled at Howard University made one decision that would change the course of history. These college students created Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. For over 113 years, the sorority has influenced many of the most famous watershed moments in history.
“This is an extraordinary time to look back at our past to serve our future,” added filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper. “A future where Black women are centered. Helming this documentary love letter to the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the generations of women that followed in their footsteps, and to all Black women everywhere is an honor. This is an important history for all of us to know and understand.”
“We’re thrilled to work with award-winning filmmaker, Deborah Riley Draper, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to bring this exclusive premiere to the Black Experience on Xfinity channel, furthering our company-wide mission of investing in and showcasing authentic Black stories and culture,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “We launched this channel to help facilitate the discovery of stories like Twenty Pearls while providing a platform for emerging Black content creators.”
“Telling our own story is essential to preserving our history and uplifting the culture,” said Alpha Kappa Alpha International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover. “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s remarkable 113-year journey which began on the campus of Howard University is punctuated by stories of history makers, ceiling breakers, public servants, and ordinary women who have changed the course of American history. Through this beautifully written and narrated odyssey, this film highlights in undeniable ways the vision, courage, tenacity, determination, and power of Black women while putting to bed the age-old questions about the relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities.”
Black Experience on Xfinity is a first-of-its-kind destination of Black entertainment, movies, TV shows, news, and more. It features high-quality content from many of Xfinity’s existing network partners, at no additional cost, while investing millions of dollars in fostering and showcasing emerging Black content creators. The channel is the only one of its kind endorsed by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the world’s largest group of Black film critics that gives annual awards for excellence in film and television. Available at home on Xfinity X1 and Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app, the Black Experience on Xfinity will entertain, educate and uplift, featuring Black actors, writers, producers and directors. At home, Xfinity subscribers can visit channel 1622 or simply say “Black Experience” into the Voice Remote to instantly enjoy the ultimate in Black storytelling.
Visit Xfinity to learn more about the Black Experience on Xfinity and other Black programming available on X1, Flex, and the Xfinity Stream app. Visit Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated to learn more about Twenty Pearls, which premieres on March 26 on Xfinity and is free for subscribers, and will be available nationwide, on-demand, starting on March 30, 2021.
How many times have you heard something said about women that was just not “true?” The myths seem to be everywhere, even as women penetrate areas that seemed out of bounds in the past.
What do we hear? Women aren’t great leaders. They aren’t decisive or they are too collaborative or too caring. Then you watch Angela Merkel or Kamala Harris, or all the other women today who are leading the way forward in challenging times.
Maybe you are a young woman dreaming of becoming a surgeon, like my granddaughter wants to be, and your teacher suggests you might consider being a pediatrician instead. They might tell you that women don’t make great surgeons, except on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Maybe you just have great ideas about the fashion industry like so many of those women graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology—and the graduates are almost all women. Those women look around wondering how to smash the ceilings holding them back when they see men running most of the major fashion companies. Women don’t run the companies as well as men do, or so you are told. Women do the work, create great fashion designs, while the men run the companies.
You aren’t even sure that becoming an attorney is the right career for you when you see that 40% of the lawyers are women today but only 19% of equity partners are women and women are less likely to get to the first level of partnership than their male counterparts. You aren’t sure why being a lady lawyer is going to be so tough for you. It is much the same in accounting firms where women are more than 61% of all accountants and auditors, yet less than a third are partners and principals.
As a woman you feel your boldness emerging. You see the dreams that are becoming realities. You feel a sea change in public and private stories that are being told about what women can do and are doing. But you realize that we are not there yet. We still have a lot of myth-smashing to go before people expect women to be those leaders, surgeons, and great CEOs.
I bet that all you heard from others through much of your life is that your dreams “will never, or might never, happen.” In reply, you might have asked, “Why?” Well, they would tell you something like “that’s not what women do” or “women are meant to have and raise the children, not start their own business.” You might have been encouraged to study IT, only to find that the world of coding is filled with men who are not particularly encouraging to you and your dreams. You find that, indeed, most surgeons are men, and women are discouraged from going into surgery, are rarely welcome, and often are held to a higher standard than the men are.
In the entrepreneurial arena, 40% of the businesses in the U.S. before the COVID-19 pandemic were owned and run by women. Yet less than 3% of the venture-capital investments were in women-owned businesses. The women were going to start and grow their businesses, and hope to succeed, by relying on family, friends, and revenue to underwrite their growth. If we dug deeper, we would find that their markets, often controlled by men, were not particularly supportive of those women-owned businesses, and neither bought from them nor helped them build their businesses.
The gap between the achievements of women and the culture in which they are trying to succeed reflects the myths that men have created over centuries and reluctantly modified in more recent times. What is a myth? Think about the stories that we tell each other, our children, our friends, about what we believe to be those “sacred ways we do things” in our societies.
As people, the secret of our success is in those imagined realities that we create to give meaning to our daily lives. Our cultural myths have driven how we believe our lives should be lived. Once we give these stories, these mythical “truths,” almost “godlike” power, these myths become what we believe are immutable realities. Are they “real”? Yes and no. They are what the stories in our minds believe to be our “reality.” But they can change, if we collaborate with our minds, change our stories, and share those new ones so our shared stories can change as well. This is not a solo act, even though it might feel that way.
These are myths that need to be smashed if we are going to change how men and women relate to each other, how women can succeed, and how organizations of all sizes and in all industries can find greatness in the women with whom they work and live.
None of this is happening to diminish the value or importance of men. Many men are great mentors and coaches to their women employees. It is just time for men to shift over and enable, encourage and empower women so both men and women can create better societies, businesses, schools, hospitals, and everything that is so important in our lives. Let’s change those men’s clubs enough to let women in without the men fleeing them.
It is time to get past the gender fatigue that men are feeling about having to actually address the inclusion, equity and need for diversity in their workplaces, in their organizations, and in our government. The times demand it. Women are ready for it. And the shift is happening, despite the brick walls, the glass ceilings, the enduring men’s clubs. These are important times to rethink our myths about what women can do and what men will allow them to achieve. It is time for men and women to rewrite these myths so women can thrive, and our society can become the best that it can be.
Andi Simon, Ph.D., author of the new book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.
In a surprising turn of events, Japan’s current era of politics has come to an end following the sudden resignation of Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest serving prime minister. Abe attributes his step-down due to serious health issues related to colitis, a chronic intestinal disease
His departure leaves the highest-ranking political position in the third-largest economy in the world with an open seat. The scramble for who will replace Shinzo Abe has begun, and its importance cannot be understated.
The next prime minister of Japan inherits a host of serious issues including coronavirus relief response, a decreasing economy, an aging population, an increasingly aggressive China, the confusion of the Olympics, female rights, the complexities of potentially reintroducing militarization, a changing United States dynamic, and more. “It makes me wonder why anybody would want to be prime minister,” said Jeffrey Hornung, an analyst at the RAND Corporation.
In considering relations with the United States, Mr. Abe aspired towards a more independent Japan. His term can be considered a success in some regards, but whether that is attributed to Mr. Abe or to a United States shrinking from international engagement under President Trump is up for debate. Either way, Japan in recent years has worked to assert itself in Eastern politics, especially in comparison to potential rivals in South Kora and especially China. These efforts will become increasingly important as Japan navigates the highest public debt amongst advanced industrial economies at a staggering 251.91%
Despite all these issues, there is a host of men clamoring for the job. They include Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister; Toshimitsu Motegi, the current foreign minister; Taro Kono, the current defense minister; Shigeru Ishiba and Tomomi Inada, both former defense ministers; and Seiko Noda, a member of the lower house of Parliament. Ms. Inada and Ms. Noda, both women, are the only female candidates attempting to throw their hat into the ring. However, Japanese politics remains male dominated and the likelihood of a female prime minister remains slim. Odds are in favor of Abe’s top aide, Yoshihide Suga replacing him.
Shinzo Abe’s successor will be voted on September 14th with a Liberal Democratic Party election, with the Diet (Japan’s national parliament) formally electing the winner two days later. The winner will the serve the rest of Abe’s term until September 2021 and after may choose to run for prime minister for their own term.
A series of historic and liberal rulings have been passed in the Supreme Court within the last few weeks, the latest being an abortion decision, the first under Trump as President.
The Louisiana law dictating that doctors must have certain privileges at local hospitals in order to perform an abortion was ruled out by the Court on Monday by a 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts tipping the scales to the Democrats. It comes as somewhat of a surprise as many expected Trump’s court, including two of his appointees, to remain restrictive against abortion. The decision comes following multiple occasions of criticism towards Justice Roberts from Republicans in cases concerning the national census and the Affordable Care Act. One such Republican, Senator Ted Cruz, reacted with a scathing remark that the Justice “sided with abortion extremists who care more about providing abortion-on-demand than protecting women’s health.” Progressives simply chalked it up to committing to precedent. It is most definitely not a certain signal that Justice Roberts would uphold Roe v. Wade. The law, if passed, would have limited the state of Louisiana to just one abortion clinic.
Recent years have seen massive feminist mobilizations in virtually every continent, overturning social mores and repressive legislation. In this brilliant and original look at the emerging feminist international, Verónica Gago explores how the women’s strike, as both a concept and collective experience, may be transforming the boundaries of politics as we know it.
At once a gripping political analysis and a theoretically charged manifesto, Feminist International draws on the author’s rich experience with radical movements to enter into ongoing debates in feminist and Marxist theory: from social reproduction and domestic work to the intertwining of financial and gender violence, as well as controversies surrounding the neo-extractivist model of development, the possibilities and limits of left populism, and the ever-vexed nexus of gender-race-class. Gago asks what another theory of power might look like, one premised on our desire to change everything.
Verónica Gago is a leader in Argentina’s #NiUnaMenos movement (Not One More!), as both a theoretician and an activist. She is a Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Professor at the Instituto de Altos Estudios, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, and Assistant Researcher at the National Council of Research (CONICET). Her work is deeply influenced by active participation in the experience of Colectivo Situaciones, who recorded the Argentine social movements around the 2001 debt crisis with remarkable acuity.
Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs, Frameline
Benedetta Barzini wants to disappear. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali, Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. But at the age of 75, she is fed up with all the roles that life has imposed upon her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind, to disappear to a place as far as possible from the gaze of the camera. Only her son Beniamino is permitted to witness her journey. Having filmed her since he was a child in spite of all her resistance, he now wants to make a film about her, to keep her close for as long as possible — or, at least, as long as his camera keeps running. The making of the film turns into a battle between mother and son, a stubborn fight to capture the ultimate image of Benedetta — that of her liberation.
Today women are fighting for rights to our bodies, searching for success in what is still a men’s dominated workforce, and balancing motherhood along with everything else. We look to influencers and self-help experts for guidance. But the one woman we should look at is someone who helped pave the way for females in all these areas: Barbara Roberts, MD, the first woman to practice adult cardiology in Rhode Island (as a single mother of 3 no less) and outspoken feminist who fought for safe abortions.
Dr. Roberts’ life is a story of passion: for women’s rights, motherhood, medicine, love, and the underdog. She stood up for what she believed in and battled politics, career stereotypes, her children’s fathers, the Family Court system, public scrutiny, and even her own conscience at times. And she made it through all, proving to be the hero of her own unique journey. Her memoir, The Doctor Broad:A Mafia Love Story [Heliotrope Books, September 3, 2019], details it all.
“I wrote this book because the world has changed so much from the world I grew up in,” Dr. Roberts recently told NBC 10’s Coffee Break with Frank and Friends Facebook TV Show. “I wanted particularly younger women to be able to learn some lessons in how to survive adversity, how to overcome heartbreak and how to come out in the end and really have led a full and happy life.“
About Barbara Hudson Roberts, MD
Barbara Hudson Roberts, MD was the first female adult cardiologist in the state of Rhode Island. She graduated from Barnard College and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. As a resident at Yale New Haven Hospital, she became active in the pro-choice movement, before Roe v Wade made abortion legal. She helped found the Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition (WONAAC) and was the keynote speaker at the first national pro-choice demonstration in Washington DC in November 1971. She also was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, and spoke at the last mass anti-war demonstration on the grounds of the Washington Monument on the day of Nixon’s inauguration in 1973. She was a staff physician at Planned Parenthood for many years, and continues on the voluntary faculty at Brown where she is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine.
About the Doctor Broad
The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story is the memoir of Barbara H. Roberts, MD. There are people in the know who say that she caused the downfall of the New England Mafia. She did this, not by killing someone, or sending someone to jail, but by keeping someone alive, and out of prison, for about a year too long. During this time, Roberts navigated life in two separate worlds. In the “straight” world, she was a single mother of three, the first woman to practice adult cardiology in Rhode Island, and an active feminist. In the other world she was the physician whose testimony prevented Raymond L. S. Patriarca, the head of the New England Mafia, from having to go to trial, and the secret lover of the alleged #3 man in the New England Mafia, Louis “Baby Shanks” Manocchio. Roberts’ commitment to feminism and medicine leads her into unexpected byways as she faces moral dilemmas she never envisioned, but two things of the girl she once was remain: a love of children and a desire to heal. Her story was even featured on an episode of the Crimetown podcast.
Finnish pop powerhouse ALMA releases new single and music video for “When I Die” via Casablanca Records / Universal / Warner / Virgin EMI & PME today. Listen HERE. Watch HERE.
Produced and written by ALMA,Justin Tranter,andMike Sabbath“When I Die”is the second installment from her highly anticipated debut albumHave You Seen Her? set for release on the 5th of April 2019. It also marks the start of a period of continuous activity, which will see fans receive a new track with accompanying visual episodically into its release.
Shot in her native Finland and directed by celebrated Finish director Miikka Lommi, the video for “When I Die”depicts a gothic last supper scene and ALMA digging her own grave. “This song was born from a big conversation about when and how we leave the world is so out of our control. We spend so much time worrying about things out of our control, we’re always trying to be better, richer, more successful. We rarely appreciate the moments in front of us. Go to the party, blow your money (even if you have work tomorrow) you will survive!” says ALMA. “I wanted the video to look like our last party, what might the night look like if we knew this was it.”
“When I Die” highlights ALMA’s unique voice as a writer; honest, brave and fresh. As she says, “I’ve spent a lot of my life being told who to be, what to say or how to behave by the world. There’s constant pressure on us all to fit in and my music is about exactly the opposite. I want my fans to feel like they can be whoever, say whatever and look however when they listen to my music. Here you are accepted no matter what.”
ALMA – a 23-year-old with neon green hair, a magnetic punk attitude and a voice that could demolish buildings is part of a new wave of female powerhouses that have something say. Engaged and opinionated on issues from women’s rights to body positivity and sexuality ALMA is forward thinking and making a change.
Following her critically acclaimed EP “Dye My Hair” with platinum single “Chasing Highs”, smash track “Phases” FT French Montana (including an exclusive Charli XCX directed video) and her 2018 mixtape Heavy Rules; ALMA has garnered over 350 million combined Spotify plays and topped iTunes charts around the world.
This January, Wellesley College will host several of the world’s most influential women, including Sally Yates, Wendy Sherman, Andrea Mitchell, Katharine H.S. Moon, and Madeleine Albright herself, as part of the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs ninth annual Wintersession, a three-week intensive program at Wellesley that educates the next generation of women leaders.
● On January 8, from 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Albright Institute welcomes Sally Yates, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General (2015-2017). Yates will present a keynote talk, “Principles Not Policy: Essential Norms in Preserving the Rule of Law,” exploring the vital role of trust in creating stable and just societies. This event will be available via livestream.
● On January 16, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., a group of North Korea experts will present “Beyond the Headlines: Understanding Korea,” led by Katharine Moon, Edith Stix Wasserman Professor of Asian Studies at Wellesley and nonresident senior fellow with Brookings. This event will be available via livestream.
● On January 24, beginning at approximately 6:40 p.m., Secretary Albright will present a dinner dialogue entitled “In the Balance: Setting a Course to Restore Democratic Principles” with Wendy R. Sherman, senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group and former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (2011 to 2015). This event will be available via livestream.
● On the final day of Wintersession, January 25, Secretary Albright will join Andrea Mitchell of NBC News speaking at the closing ceremony for Albright Fellows. This event will not be livestreamed.
“The Albright Institute is educating the next generation of global leaders—with its interdisciplinary, experiential approach to learning and its expert faculty, talented students, and the powerful and influential women leaders it brings to Wellesley’s campus, including former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Wellesley Class of 1959,” said Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson. “The global problems we face—including threats to democracy, climate change, and poverty and income inequality—are increasingly complex and fraught, with the potential for worldwide repercussions. The Albright Institute is preparing its students to meet tomorrow’s challenges head on, and the world has never needed them more.”
More on Albright Institute Featured Speakers
Sally Yates, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Justice, spent more than two decades as a federal prosecutor in Georgia and was appointed U.S. Deputy Attorney General in 2015 by President Barack Obama. She was named acting U.S. Attorney General in January 2017 and served in that position for just 10 days before being fired for defying the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban—an executive order temporarily halting entrance to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Yates’s talk, “Principles Not Policy: Essential Norms in Preserving the Rule of Law,” will be moderated Lawrence A. Rosenwald, Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of American Literature, professor of English, and co-director of the Peace and Justice Studies program at Wellesley. The talk will be followed by a lunch with the fellows, who will have an opportunity to converse with Yates directly.
Albright Institute Director Joanne Murray said, “No one represents the mission of the Albright Institute better than Sally Yates—cultivating in fellows the habits of principled clarity, bold service, and courageous action to shape a better world.”
During her time as undersecretary of state, Wendy Sherman was the lead U.S. negotiator in the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran. For this and other diplomatic accomplishments, Sherman was awarded the National Security Medal by President Obama. According to Murray, Sherman “demonstrated the ability to bring opposing countries to consensus and to forge trust. She will share what deliberative negotiating means as Albright Fellows sort through potential policy solutions to the problems posed to them.”
The January 16 panel led by Professor Katharine H.S. Moon, “Beyond the Headlines: Understanding Korea,” will feature three panelists: Jieun Baek, a Ph.D. candidate in public policy at the University of Oxford, former research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, and author of North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society; Melissa Hanham, senior research associate in the East Asia Nonproliferation Program; and a third panelist, who works on a variety of causes related to human rights issues, including rights for North Korean defectors in South Korea.
In addition to Yates, Sherman, and these experts, this year’s program will feature an array of other distinguished individuals, including Anne Richard, U.S. assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration from 2012 to 2017, and Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and faculty director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.
About the Albright Institute
The Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley College supports the College’s mission of educating students for leadership in an increasingly complex and interconnected global environment. The program combines the intellectual resources of faculty from Wellesley, researchers from the Wellesley Centers for Women, and leading alumnae and other practitioners and policy makers in the fields of international relations and public policy.
About Wellesley College
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,400 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.