Every three weeks Mark and I ‘do nails’ together. It’s a sweet ritual we began in Tami’s Montreal salon twenty years ago. Mark was the first man to be invited in to have his nails done — we used to tease him that it is good to be a woman.
When Tami died of brain cancer five years ago, everyone was devastated: her five sons, her daughter Vivian, husband, friends, and of course all of her clients. Now Vivian, quiet and beautiful laughs with us, and at us, just as Tami did.
So after Mark and I catch up with Vivian, our ‘nail bonding’ includes the latest rag/mag celebrity news. We preface each item with a mock, “Who Knew” as we report on who is leaving whom, who is thrilled to be wearing which dress, and who is kicked off of what show – you know real brain cell-shriveling details (true or not) based on people we don’t really know or care about.
Last month was different. IN STYLE’S ‘BADASS WOMEN’ issue was dedicated to women, both known and unknown, who are moving the dial. As I read each article I’d throw up my hands with a whoop, with Vivian saying, “Careful— your nails are not dry”.
As we celebrate the 45th worldwide Women’s Day this week, let me share a few nuggets of “Who Knew” from that magazine – and a few from my own life. (If your heart or curiosity nudges you to participate or support any of them – dig deeper and go for it.)
Jane Fonda (an unstoppable 82) was so inspired by Greta Thunberg that she moved to Washington DC last October to lead weekly demonstrations called Fire Drill Friday’s. At one point, she was even arrested in her bright red coat. She responded in an open letter, “I can no longer stand by and let our elected officials ignore—and even worse, empower—the industries that are destroying our planet for food.”
Allyson Felix broke Usain Bolt’s record for the most gold medals at a World championship (12) just 10 months after giving birth by emergency C-section. She then had no choice but to stand up to Nike when they refused to guarantee the maternity protections in her contract. Because of her courageous stand, many major sponsors have changed their policies—including Nike.
Esther Duflo is the second woman and the youngest to win a Noble Prize in Economics, for her “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. She said in her speech, “ I cannot help but hope this prize with its emphasis on the essential question of how to improve the lives of others, and with one woman among the laureates, will encourage many other women to come join us.”
Zarifa Ghafari, at 26 is the youngest and first female mayor in Afghanistan. “My goal is to make people believe in women’s power.”
Michelle Pesce, a sought-after and hot DJ, co-founded WOMAN which is a collective to ‘shift the needle on inclusivity, safety, freedom, consent and mental health in nightlife spaces.”
Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor and the CEO of RISE is literally rewriting laws to increase protection for the more than 72 million survivors across the US. In just four years her non-profit has helped pass 27 new laws.
Eva Galperin created and heads a privacy and security research group within the Electronic Frontier Foundation to protect vulnerable populations: women, journalists, LGBTQ+ and people of color. Her goal is to eliminate ‘stalkerware’, the software that many domestic abusers use to track their partners. “I’m working on the most badass thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “I’m working on destroying an industry.”
Jennifer Lonergan is a Canadian historian and social entrepreneur who co-founded Artistri Sud, a woman’s empowerment charity, whose goal is to enable women in third world countries to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves by selling self-made products in their own micro-industries—in other words, training them all to be entrepreneurs.
Terri Swan, an amazing woman who did her personal Think8 intensive sessions with me several years ago, was sure she was meant to join me in this work. But once she realized her Purpose, she knew that her path was to pioneer powerful healing modalities for the transformation of womb wounds. Terri wrote, “For too long women have felt the confinement of silence, the isolation of shame, and the desperation of not having the resources necessary to really heal. This is exactly why I created Womb Cocoon.”
Ana Perez, another of my Wonder Women who lives on Purpose is the senior technical gender advisor with RTI, a non-profit research organization. Ana’s current focus is women’s economic empowerment projects in East Africa where she led the creation of a platform for women in the Rwandan Energy sector (WIRE) to encourage and support each other. ‘Inspiring Young Women’ is also an initiative in Rwanda to disrupt gender stereotypes by collaborating with companies and schools to inspire girls to achieve in STEM. Ana recently wrote, “I’m committed to moving the needle toward a future that transforms exclusionary mindsets, redefines power structures, confronts and disrupts bias and smashes the ceiling for a new generation of women as they approach the workforce, educated and empowered.”
Are you whooping and cheering as you read this list? If so, share it with your friends.
But I bet you could send me an even more impressive list of all the women you know who are also moving the dial. Including yourself. Do that too. And send it to your friends.
And don’t forget to gather the women you love this week just to celebrate each other. Wine. Nachos or even a protest.
It is a good time to be a woman.
Sending you my love,