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Newsletter 12.20.19

Last year was coined the "Year of the Woman." The mass distribution of female stories, both good and bad, symbolized the year as a major turning point for women globally. In my final letter of the editor last year, I wrote that 2019 would be the year women continue to power the movement of changemakers. I'm so humbled to be a part of a growing movement in the right direction, but I've realized it's not a matter of one year, it's a matter of rapid growth in this coming decade. The WEF reported it will take 95 years to close the global gender gap. Although this may sound daunting, it solely serves as a reminder that complete reversal is slow, but change is coming.

Tomorrow I'll be graduating from Cornell University, a surreal feeling that I can only attribute to the immense growth I've felt being here for the past 3 years. I've started things here, met incredible people here, and discovered parts of myself here, all in hopes of taking advantage of the education I've been honored to receive.

I am thoroughly looking forward to the next year and the next 10 years we are all moving towards. 
Change is good when we can rally the changemakers to inspire and empower communities, technologies, initiatives — all of which constitutes unwavering progress I am excited to contribute to. 

To 2020 & the next decade,
Maya Frai, Founder of Let's Hear It

The latest news on women.
Mind the 100 Year Gap: World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2020
It will take 95 years to close the gender gap in political representation, with women in 2019 holding 25.2% of parliamentary (lower-house) seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions. Although education attainment as well as health and survival enjoy much closer to parity (96.1% and 95.7% respectively), one important area of concern is that of economic participation and opportunity. This is the only dimension where progress has regressed. The report reveals that the greatest challenge preventing the economic gender gap from closing is women’s under-representation in emerging roles. In cloud computing, just 12% of professionals are women. Similarly, in engineering and Data and AI, the numbers are 15% and 26% respectively. WEF, December 11, 2019
Abebe will be first black woman to receive computer science Ph.D. from Cornell
Abebe’s research focuses on AI for social good. She designs and deploys algorithmic, discrete optimization, network-based, and computational techniques to improve access to opportunity for historically disadvantaged communities. She is also a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. Rediet will become the first black woman to earn a computer science Ph.D. from Cornell University when she graduates on Dec. 21.
 Harvard Engineering, December 10, 2019
#ANGELS founding partner raises $25M for debut fund Moxxie Ventures
“We just aren’t moving fast enough,” Stanton said. “We need to take bigger swings to move the needle faster. The fastest way to make progress isn’t to move inside those existing institutions but by creating new ones.” Stanton is not new to investing, having built a portfolio of some 40 companies over the last several years, including Cameo, Carta, Coinbase, Ethel’s Club, Lambda School, Literati, Modern Fertility, Shape Security and Threads. As such, she was able to raise the $25 million effort in roughly six months. 
TechCrunch, December 18, 2019
Female executive club Chief plans a West Coast expansion
Los Angeles will serve as the third Chief location. Due to increased demand, the company recently secured a second New York City clubhouse—a 20,000-square-foot Flatiron building that occupies five stories and will serve as its flagship. In just one year since its launch, Chief grew to 2,000 members and now boasts a wait list of more than 7,000. Such impressive numbers pushed the cofounders to seek further investment: In June, Chief secured a $22 million round of funding led by Ken Chenault at General Catalyst and Alexa Von Tobel at Inspired Capital. 
Forbes, December 16, 2019
Publication features on women and their careers. 
Photo: Teen Vogue Magazine.
Malala Yousafzai on Education, Islamophobia, and the New Wave of Youth Activism

"There are hundreds and thousands of women and girls [Greta Thunberg, Emma Gonzalez] in all parts of the world who are standing up. Some of them we don't even know — their names would never be known — but they're changing their communities."

After recovering from the attempted assassination, Malala went on to become a global activist, with the goal of securing girls’ access to education. She cofounded the Malala Fund. She wrote a book. At 17 years old, she was the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. And after having done all that, she was accepted to Oxford University, where she is studying philosophy, politics, and economics. She turned her trauma into an opportunity to position herself as arguably the most famous citizen activist in the world.

Read more here.
Op-eds and letters on advice, experiences, and inspiration.

Mr Obama said while in office he had mused what a world run by women would look like. "Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you're better than us [men]. "I'm absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything... living standards and outcomes." When asked if he would ever consider going back into political leadership, he said he believed in leaders stepping aside when the time came.

Saira Asher, "Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men" –– BBC

When I think about what it means for a woman to exercise power and influence, I picture a CEO setting new strategies for her company, a fast-food worker successfully taking action against the boss who harasses her—or any woman, whether she works outside the home or not, sitting down with her partner to divide the household chores in a way that makes sense for their family. Those interactions, multiplied every day across millions of women, will change everything. — Melinda Gates.

Fortune Editors, "25 Ideas That Will Shape the 2020s"

Afton Vechery, Co-Founder and CEO of Modern Fertility, cited 3 important reasons for why it's taken so long for the fertility industry to catch up with current trends — and how it's led to the rise of the "fertility," rather than the "infertility" industry:

1) Millennials are "waiting longer than any other generation in the U.S." to start their families.
2) 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQA, making the process of creating a family longer and more complicated.
3) While sectors like beauty and fitness have seen massive gains in tech to keep up with consumers' lifestyles and demand for data, it's not mainstream for people to collect their own fertility data until there's an issue. 

Sy Mukherjee, "The 3 Things That Have Been Holding Back the Fertility Business" –– Fortune

→ Related: LHI Interview w/ Carly Leahy, Co-Founder of Modern Fertility.

Because women in music have shaped this past decade.

Taylor Swift Wins Billboard's Artist of the Decade

"Female artists in music have dominated this decade in growth, streaming, record and ticket sales, and critical acclaim. So why are we doing so well? Because we have to grow fast. We have to work this hard, we have to prove that we deserve this, and we have to top our last achievements. Women in music, on stage or behind the scenes, are not allowed to coast. We are held at a higher, sometimes impossible-feeling standard. And it seems that my fellow female artists have taken this challenge and they have accepted it."

Watch the full speech here

→ Related: Taylor Swift's NPR Tiny Desk Concert (she's pretty awesome).

The LHI Newsletter is sent straight to your inbox every Friday morning. 

'Till next time.

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