LIISBETH DISPATCH #57

Righting who writes code, Canada’s first feminist accelerator, travel like a feminist and more . . .

Photo By Leandro Crespi

WHAT WE’RE THINKING ABOUT 

Having lunch with an iconic Canadian feminist served as a reminder of why LiisBeth exists: a media channel that advances feminist literacy and tells stories of alternative enterprise models that enables flourishing for all. Like VentureKids Canada, where underserved youth can learn how to code. Or how Ample Labs uses design and tech to help the homeless. Activist art as a sustainable venture idea, or a gig career, takes ingenuity and persistence but gives needed voice to the hard issues of systemic racism, violence again women, patriarchy. LiisBeth is also here to call out hate and call in those looking to be more deeply informed with articles that include facts and opinions from a human rights point of view. Like when a so-called feminist thinks that trans rights threaten women’s safety…could she be the real threat to feminism? At the end of the day, the world is warming and the holidays are coming. Check out our feminist gift guide that includes seed bombs and wearable art you can feel good about.

And as we enter the last month of 2019 and reflect on a year’s worth of newsletters, let us know how we can improve. We’re listening.

NEW FEATURES ON LIISBETH 

#chatbot4change
Ample Labs: Ending Homelessness With Technology

HOMELESSNESS: THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Resources can be a click away, thanks to a Toronto startup’s tech empowerment.
Read the Ample Labs story on our site.

Photo by Kamil Karamali, Global News

MEGHAN MURPHY: DID THE TORONTO LIBRARY DO ITS HOMEWORK?

In October, a small branch of Toronto’s Public Library (TPL) system made the news by hosting a talk by Meghan Murphy, a Vancouver based anti-trans rights feminist and founder of The Feminist Current, a blog and podcast with an estimated 14,000 followers.

Despite the fact that Murphy’s talks have been heavily criticized as hate speech, Toronto City Librarian, Vickery Bowles, backed the event because the library “has an obligation to protect free speech.” Bowles also told the Globe and Mail that Ms. Murphy has never been charged or convicted of hate speech.

That, however, just may be a matter of timing.

This week on LiisBeth, feminist and human rights lawyer, Pamela Cross, offers a critique and legal insight on Meghan Murphy’s ideology.

Speaking from a place of compassion, we can only imagine that Murphy has had personal experiences which fuel the raison d’etre for her views and her efforts to promote them. Really, what does anyone get out of making the lives of a tiny, heavily persecuted group in society who are already traumatized enough? Perhaps a book deal? Fair enough. Tapping fear worked for Jordan Peterson.

At LiisBeth, and as social justice and systems centred feminists, we stand firmly as a trans-inclusionary organization. Call to Action? What is the path to restorative justice? We hope that the trans community rallies and continues the debate and takes the issue to court as a violation of Canada’s Human Rights Code.

Photo by Champagne Thompson

STUFF YOUR STOCKINGS WITH FEMINIST JOY

Giving and celebrating doesn’t need to be powered by a capitalistic consumer agenda. Get the scoop on what feminist makers and changemakers have to offer from the Feminist Market at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, Ottawa’s Feminist Fair, and Indigenous and Ingenious in Toronto.

Photo supplied by Takara Small

RIGHTING WHO WRITES CODE

What’s more fun than smashing through barriers to be a Black woman in tech? For Takara Small, it’s helping kids smash through them too. Read more about VentureKids Canada on our site.

‘Ashaba’; No human can look at her directly by Karen White explores unseen oppression.

SHUT UP, SHUT OUT, FUCK THAT

Ilene Sova’s need to talk real sparks a feminist art collective. Read her story this week on LiisBeth.

Jack Jackson and Jet, Photo by Jack Jackson

WELCOME TO LIISBETH’S NEWEST ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER–JACK JACKSON

Fun facts about Jack:

1) He was our very FIRST article written by Margaret Webb back in 2016.
2) He has been an ardent supporter of LiisBeth, attended BOTH EFFS, and served as our EFF photographer.
3) He is a trans rights activist (we did the story on his DYWM initiative)
5) He has an I AM A FEMINIST jacket!
6) He is smart and well-versed on gender issues.
7) He has never been on a board–this would be a great learning experience for him (his words)

Jack also runs a Toronto-based dog walking enterprise and photography business. Check out his latest inspiring project to advance trans inclusion, Don’t You Want Me.

PK’S VIEWPOINT 

Photo by Lana Pesch

LUNCH WITH A FEMINIST ICON 

What was it like having lunch with with Canada’s Gloria Steinem? So engrossing we forgot to take a photo of her. Our conversation about the importance of alternative media channels is a reminder of why we need to keep going. Read PK’s Viewpoint here.

LIISBETH FIELD NOTES

Digital Justice Lab

BUILDING ALTERNATIVE DIGITAL FUTURES

The Digital Justice Lab’s mission is to focus on building a more just and equitable future.

Imaging Feminist Interfaces was a workshop held earlier in November in partnership with Digital Justice LabTrinity Square Video and tendernet.us, presented as part of a series at MOCA Toronto’s Age of You exhibit.

The workshop explored what voice technologies might look like if they were designed in line with the central commitments of feminism: participation, agency, embodiment, equity, empowerment, plurality and justice.

There’s one more workshop in the series, Mapping Digital Bodies that navigates the impact of how our data is used, stored and shared.

WHAT WOULD THE INTERNET LOOK LIKE IF MORE WOMEN WERE BUILDING IT?

Australia’s Girl Geek Academy initiatives include coding and hackathons, 3D printing and wearables, game development, design, entrepreneurship and startups.

WHERE DO FEMINISTS GO FOR ADVICE ON HOW TO GROW THEIR ENTERPRISE OR  SUCCEED ON THEIR OWN TERMS?

Well if Kelly Diels has anything to say about it, it’s not a Tony Robbins event, or a business networking event that features talks by patriarchal Silicon Valley bros and VCs, extractive neo-libreneurs, unicorn hunters, or exploitative Uber-esque enterprises founded by any gender.

Nope. Feminists in business–or those who run any organization or project looking to model alternative ways of doing business–need advice from other walking the same path–but who might just be a few steps ahead of you.

We at LiisBeth have benefited from SOOOOO much awesome advice from generous, caring people we have met along the way. It’s why we are still here three years later.

So we created a NON-FACEBOOK (read: unsurveilled, no disappearing timelines, no money for Zuckerberg) online community on the Mighty Networks platform (founded by a woman)–the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC).  If you want to build a sustainable feminist enterprise, connecting, supporting and partnering with others is key.

WE INVITE YOU TO GIVE FEC A TRY.
JOIN US TODAY! SUBSCRIBER SPECIAL OFFER: 3 MONTHS FREE! CLICK HERE.

Photo of CV Harquail by PK Mutch

WHY JOIN FEC?

In addition to having the opportunity to meet up with other feminists in business, each month we will be featuring a monthly FEMINIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM. This is someone who will be on the site answering your questions, and offering online ZOOM webinars or hosting discussion sessions to help you take the next step for your project or idea.

OUR FIRST FEMINIST IN RESIDENCE: CV HARQUAIL

CV Harquail is a feminist scholar and author of Feminism: A Key Idea for Business (2019), and co-creator of the feminist business model canvas. She believes that including feminist values and practices into your workplace and the ways you do business will help to create great products and connect with customers.

Harquail says: “It’s possible, using feminism in business, to feel creative, purposeful, authentically you, “all in”, and as though everything/anything you do at work is making more of a difference than you could ever have imagined.

She will posting and responding to queries and offering a ZOOM session on the Feminist Enterprise Commons from January 5 to 31, 2020.

SIGN UP FOR YOUR 3-MONTH FREE TRIAL
After the trial period, memberships are $17.99 CDN or $15.00 USD per month, and an accessible $4.00 USD rate per month for international readers.

Amandine Fouillard

TRAVEL LIKE A FEMINIST 

Amandine Fouillard’s coming of age European trip took a unique twist. The young French feminist‘s commitment to learning more about feminism combined with her desire to travel plus her dreams of writing formed “Travel like a feminist”. On her seven-month tour, she visited several European capitals and met with associations, researchers, politicians and personalities who were working on equality issues.

Why? To gain a deeper understanding of the advancements of the European feminist movements have made.

What did she learn? There is still a long way to go to achieve equality.

On her French Ulule site, you can check out her interviews, videos, and articles (en français) on European feminist news and country-by-country comparisons of existing legislation and rights.

WE HAVE TO ASK 

LiisBeth has published over 190 original articles and profiles of enterprising feminists. We hold leaders accountable. We advance important discourse about feminism, entrepreneurship and social change. Our dedicated team works tirelessly to advance gender and social justice. We are ad and surveillance free and believe that reader-supported media is the antidote to a corporate media dominated conversation on important issues that matter to us all.

This holiday season please consider supporting LiisBeth with a donation either via our Patreon page or on our Support Our Mission page which provides both credit card and Paypal options.

Christina Cai of @myKnowtions speaking at #movethedialsummit

WOMEN IN FINTECH MOVING THE DIAL 

The importance of mentors, funding models, and inclusivity at all levels of business were just a fraction of topics covered in the many presentations at the #movethedialsummit earlier in November, in Toronto.

Entrepreneur Christina Cai was on the panel WOMEN IN FINTECH: BUILDING AND GROWING
(pictured above). Cai is co-founder and COO of Knowtions Research Inc., a company that is building the first enterprise AI platform for health insurers. The past decade has seen a marked change in the number of women who are founding new businesses, leading teams, and investing in the next generation of unicorns, but there is still a long way to go. However Cai encourages startup founders to think more like cockroaches than unicorns and “refuse to die!”

In the video below she shares her “poor startups survival guide” that include some lessons learned in her business journey so far.

WOO HOO! CANADA’S FIRST FEMINIST ACCELERATOR PROGRAM!

Now THIS is exciting. And gutsy.

The Canadian Film Centre’s IDEABoost team, Ana Serrano and Nataly Dupont, together with partners Eve-Volution Inc (LiisBeth’s parent company), Marigold CapitalOCADU’s Superordinary Lab, the University of Toronto’s Digital Justice Lab and the Pivotal Point have launched Canada’s FIRST feminist values-led enterprise growth accelerator for women-owned/led digital media companies based in Southwestern Ontario. 

Fifth Wave is all about helping women grow and build resilient enterprises that value equity, wellness, community and fairness. The program recognizes that definitions of success vary and supports organic growth strategies as well as founders seeking venture capital.

Fifth Wave Labs, the accelerator program starts in spring 2020. Applications to the pre-requisite program, Fifth Wave Connect, are open now!

FEMINIST FREEBIE!

The first two people to comment on our feminist icon story will receive a COMPLEMENTARY COPY of her latest book. But we can’t tell you who it is–you have to read the article here first to find out!

WHAT WE’RE READING 

Technology and empathy for curious young readers. 

The Computer and the Canceled Music Lessons is a children’s book that introduces young readers (and older ones) to ‘data science,’ the process of ethically acquiring, analyzing, visualizing and monetizing data.

With advancements in technology, new jobs are emerging and old roles are being transformed as a result of the explosion in data from mobile technology, cloud computing, social media, the internet of things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Start this important conversation with kids in a fun way by reading and discussing with them, how one student in this story uses data to solve a problem at school.

Author Shingai Manjengwa (Twitter: @tjido) is the chief executive officer at Fireside Analytics Inc., a Canadian ed-tech startup that offers customized cloud-hosted data science training and consulting services to corporations, governments, and educational institutions. Shingai’s data science courses have over 300,000 registered learners on platforms like IBM’s CognitiveClass.ai and Coursera.

She is also the founder of Fireside Analytics Academy, a registered private high school (BSID: 886528) that teaches high school students to ethically acquire, analyze, visualize and monetize data! The IDC4U, High School Data Science program is inspected by the Ministry of Education in Canada and it uses real-life youth-focused case studies to combine statistics, mathematics, business, and computer programming: the pillars of data science. The program is completely online; international students are welcome.

A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms

Run a Google search for “black girls”—what will you find? “Big Booty” and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in “white girls,” the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about “why black women are so sassy” or “why black women are so angry” presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society.

In Algorithms of OppressionSafiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. — NYUPress

An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.

“Noble makes a strong case that present technologies and search engines are not just imperfect, but they enact actual harm to people and communities.” ~Popmatters.com

AND FINALLY . . . IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!

  • In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans woman in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. Published by Book*hug Press, the book won one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards; the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. This Toronto Star story outlines Benaway’s conflicted feelings around the recognition since the win coincided at a time when Benaway and many others denounced the Toronto Public Library for refusing to cancel an event featuring a speaker who has been critical of transgender rights. See our feature story for more insight.
  • The good old hockey game is only great when it’s for everyone. This CBC story follows the collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) to the rise of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), where 200 top female players vowed to sit out this season in order to push for one financially viable and sustainable professional league. Julie Stevens, a professor in Brock University’s sport management program, says members of the PWPHA can overcome these historical challenges by shifting the conversation from a social case to a business case. “It’s basically a startup. It’s an emerging venture that you need to look at what the market research is telling you,” Stevens says.
  • Download the 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution and hear journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong argue that the future of humanity depends on strengthening the status of women and girls. The facts, Armstrong says, are beyond dispute: when women get an education, all of society benefits; when they get better healthcare, everyone lives longer.
  • TIME magazine’s coverage of Colombia’s historic moment; the first time a woman and openly gay candidate was elected as mayor of the capital city. Claudia López ran for mayor on an anti-corruption platform and challenged the positions of right-wing politicians, promising to advance equal rights for minority communities and women. Her victory marks the country’s shift away from the political elite, and indicates a desire in the residents of Bogotá for a transition to more liberal policies.

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #57! 

As we near the end of 2019, the LiisBeth team paused for reflection at our annual advisory board meeting and community reception that followed.

Wow. What a year.

We are proud that the readership of our online magazine is now over 19,000 (up 40%), and surprised to find we have over 8,000 following us on social media (we are trying to get better at that).

More importantly, we are chuffed we have been able to publish over 190 impactful, quality original articles (not blog posts or curated pieces we bought from elsewhere) and provided fair income opportunities for over 30 womxn journalists, writers, and editors. And we were thrilled at the turnout of our Feminist City Walk in partnership with Jane’s Walk.

We are also SUPER excited about our new online community space you read about up top, the Feminist Enterprise Commons hosted on Mighty Networks. It’s going to take a while to work out the kinks, but we are ready to go! We gave ourselves an activist check mark for taking our community off Facebook (we still have our FB page but will only use to advertise events). Frankly, we got tired of Facebook disallowing LiisBeth article post boosts because apparently, feminism is considered extreme political activity. We also deeply question Google and Facebook’s role in elections, and are tired of Zuckerberg making money off our free labour and exposed identifies. But we thank them for pioneering this space initially and now motivating us to change platforms.

All these accomplishments were realized with one volunteer publisher, three core freelance staff, volunteer advisory board members and a tiny budget.

We plan to publish a short and jolly holiday newsletter on Tuesday, December 17, and will be back in full force in January. We hope you will consider donating to help us continue this work.

In the meantime, stay in touch with us daily on Twitter @LiisBethHQ

With gratitude and thanks,

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