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It is quite ordinary these days to read names of celebrities and big-time people in society give a percentage of their money to the needy people of third-world countries. They do this by supporting and donating to charity institutions that aim to protect or support different causes.  Some of these institutions’ programs center on homeless kids in Africa, some on malnourished children to another part in the world, and there are also others that support the welfare of abused women and children.

The word needy is quite a broad term. Dictionary.com defines it as [someone] “in a condition of need or want; poverty-stricken; impoverished; extremely poor; destitute.” It does not just refer to people who are financially poor. It may also refer to people who are in dire and abusive situation such as domestic abuse. Basically, the needy people are those who are in deep need for help to rise above and get away from their current horrific situations.

In early history, women have not been given as much importance as men. In many societies in the past, women were not sent to schools or any venue of formal education. Women were merely made to stay home and be trained to do household chores and other homemaking duties to prep them for the married life. Women who fought against that discrimination were often ridiculed upon or received rejection from their societies.

In some events, women were not given the same rights as men, as in their inability to exercise the supposed right to suffrage. However, despite the many hardships women from different times have suffered, many have risen above the sexual discrimination and made a name for themselves by changing the world with their love for the people in need.  These women helped the poor, gave access to the underprivileged, and paved the way for reforms to help individuals stand on their own two feet.

If you are thinking about making a difference, here’s a list of 5 women, who made a difference by helping the needy, that might inspire you.

Michelle Obama

The wife of then President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama has made quite a name in charity efforts herself. She initiated and launched several movements that aimed to promote healthy lifestyle, education, and empowerment. Michelle has touched so many lives all across America that even when Former President Obama’s ratings fluctuated, hers remained high.

Oprah Winfrey

When it comes to popularly generous celebrities, Oprah Winfrey is the one likely to come up first. It has been reported that she has donated millions of dollars to charity institutions, three of which received the bulk of the donations. These charities are The Angel Network, Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. Sometimes, donation she receives from other sources go directly to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Other than supporting these charity institutions, Oprah also uses some of her to time to volunteer to other charity causes and events

Nora Roberts

Dubbed by The New Yorker as “America’s favorite novelist, Nora Roberts is an internationally popular writer. True to her profession, the Nora Roberts Foundation is primarily focused on Literacy support. Its support prioritizes local organizations. The foundation also supports Children’s programs, humanitarian efforts, and arts organizations.

Isabel Allende

She is a Chilean-American international best-selling author of the books The House of Spirits, The City of Beasts, and the memoir of her daughter who died at the age of 29, Paula. Among her best-selling pieces, she has authored more than 20 more books that have been translated in 35 languages and copies sold reached more than 67 million. While Isabel is best-known as a journalist and a writer, her foundation The Isabel Allende Foundation is also a quite popular charity institution that has been “laser-focused on supporting and empowering women around the world and makes grants in education, reproductive rights, healthcare, and more.”

Angelina Jolie

Popularly known all over the world as an award-winning actress and movie director, Angelina is also an active humanitarian and is a Goodwill Ambassador of the UNCHR. Angelina became even more interested in humanitarian work when she filmed in Cambodia for her Lara Croft movie. She later became a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and became very participative and active in her role. She traveled to areas in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Darfur extensively despite reports if disputes in these areas.

Her advocacies also are not limited to such humanitarian works with the UN. She also actively lobbies campaigns that support children’s education, and the protection of child immigrants, and other children in need as well.  In fact, she has helped put up education policies with the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. Jolie has also successfully gathered a network of lawyers that champions in the human rights advocacy in developing countries, under the Jolie Legal Fellowship she herself established.

These women who have impacted the world greatly with their advocacies to help the needy have gone through countless ordeals that they overcame because of their commitment and passion to help. If you want to do the same, you can start within your family and your community. Take a leap in leading at making the world a better place with the skills and resources that are within your reach. You don’t need lots of money to start. All you need is the passion to help those who are in need and the commitment to keep going in your advocacy no matter what – just like these 5 women who made a difference, in their own ways, to the world we live in.

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In the popular fairytale, Cinderella, the heroine, “Cinders”, is rescued by the handsome prince – not from certain danger but from a life of unkindness and unskilled labour for her step-sisters. A parallel which can be drawn with female creatives within the animation industry who work within the considerable shadows of their male counterparts.

From glass slipper to glass ceiling

Although, to an extent, inequality in women’s pay, status and opportunities exist in many industries, it is particularly the case for women working in the animation industry, an area which many still see as a male dominated domain, with the assumption that it is simply a male-oriented skill. Nothing could be further from the truth and the industry doesn’t lack talented female animation artists and entrepreneurs.

Canadian Janet Perlman, whose credits include “The Tender Tale Of Cinderella Penguin”, “Dinner For Two” and “I Want To Go Home”, is an animator who has worked extensively with The Arts Council Of Canada.  Artist, illustrator and Academy Award nominee, Janet also taught animation at Harvard and holds workshops around the world in order to motivate and inspire fledgling animators.

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter published its ‘Annual Animators Roundtable’ – which consisted of seven white men, further proliferating the idea that animation is a man’s man’s world. Adding to this is the fact that 91 out of 92 major U.S. animated releases in the past ten years were directed by men. Although statistics show that 60% of animation students are women, only 20% of employed animators are – a disparity completely out of proportion in the modern world.

Bonnie Arnold, formerly of Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar claims that, alarmingly, the number of women in the animation industry is actually in decline, despite the high percentage of women gaining qualifications. British Academy Award winning animator, Suzy Templeton, creator of “Peter And The Wolf” known for its beautiful concept art, has become a leading light in the industry despite being discouraged by her family and peers. Suzy explains, “”People said to me: ‘Oh, you shouldn’t do that, it’s a dying art, you should get into CGI!”. Ignoring the advice of others, Suzy stuck to her guns and plans to begin work on a full length feature film and she uses her Pinterest and social media forums to encourage and inspire others by telling her story.

The ultimate goal is, of course, for women to make up at least 50% of the animation workforce. The empowerment organisation, Women In Animation, says, “We need to ensure that animation content represents the world as it should be – a world where women are equally represented, both behind the scenes and on the screen, to move culture forward. Women’s influence in animation is one that rounds out the industry, grows revenues, and contributes to that forward cultural momentum.”

Women In Animation’s goal is that, by the year 2020, the animation industry will not only accept but celebrate the creative and innovative talents of it’s female animators.  A vision which may be ambitious but not impossible. Animator Brenda Chapman believes that the key to success in the industry is for female animators to be each other’s fairy godmothers in the form of mentorship. She explains: “If young girls and women see other women working successfully in the industry, it will encourage them to follow and work for their own dream job in film and entertainment. If they see it, they can do it, too.”

Adult Swim Creative Director Mike Lazzo says that he doesn’t hire female creatives because “when you put women in the writers room, you get conflict, not comedy,” a statement which is startling not just in its sweeping generalisation but also in its inaccuracy.

To be seen as equal in skill, qualifications and employability should be something that the talent pool of female animators can take for granted and it’s up to every woman in the industry to take up the fight.

Groups like Women In Animation have begun to lead the way toward a more fair and balanced industry and encourage female animators to shout about their skills and to never take no for an answer. Whether or not they reach their goal of 50/50 by 2020 or not, there’s one thing to keep in mind – not only did Cinderella go to the ball but she took the big prize too!

Frankie Caplan is an animator interested in applying animation to business projects. She’s also a careful observer of the development of animation industry and women’s entrepreneurship in the creative fields. You can find her writing at Pigeon Studio.

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Career mobility isn’t just about moving to a new city or country. It’s about stretching, learning, and transforming. Whether you’re working on your own career or you’re a manager, a mentor, or a coach helping others, Up Is Not the Only Way offers you six ways to build successful mobile careers.

Learn more here.

Courtesy of NPR:

It’s perhaps the unlikeliest symphony orchestra in the world — an all-female ensemble from a strict Muslim society where it’s often dangerous for young women to step outside of their homes unescorted. It’s called Zohra — the name of a music goddess in Persian literature, according to its founder. Watch the video below and read the rest of the article here.

Those of us with careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM fields, in today’s common parlance) know the importance of truths revealed by numbers. How can it be, then, that so many people in our numbers-based fields are inured to the deep disappointment I feel regarding statistics on gender disparities in STEM-related jobs?

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.