Wednesday, March 14th, 2018  |  VIEW EMAIL

I believe we are in a moment that is turning into a movement. Men are starting to really speak out for gender equality. Slowly but very surely, they are standing up for the rights of women. The struggle for gender equality cannot succeed without the participation of men. Emma Watson coined it “He for She”, it could also be called We for We. Or: I am because We Are. See, gender equality isn’t just for women, it’s for men too. There is no healthy, balanced existence men can obtain if they benefit in any way shape or form from the oppression of women.

We are approaching an era where it is utterly indisputable that gender discrimination, in all its various forms, from impunity with sexual violence to the lack of wage parity, simply makes no sense. And those who do not stand on the right side of this issue today will be judged by history tomorrow. Finally, we are entering a moment where the justifications we have heard throughout time regarding gender disparity are no longer condoned or accepted in the public eye. The needle truly seems to be moving. And one of the indicators of this is finally, we have started to hear the voices of men speak out in favor of gender equality. Slowly but very surely men are standing up for the rights of women. The Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said in order for equality to exist, men have to give up power they gained through gender discrimination. That takes courage. But the more I look around me, the more I see men stepping up and speaking out for this cause. This wasn’t always the case. I used to wonder where the male voices were in this struggle. The ones on the side of equality that is. Though we still have a long way to go, it’s happening.

March is a month allotted to celebration and acknowledgment of historical female contributions to society. Women’s History Month. This month I wanted to give the floor to men who wished to share who their favorite women in history are, and why. Let’s celebrate some of the women whose powerful legacies have affected the lives of men across the globe, and across time.



Mary Edwards Walker (November 26, 1832 - February 21, 1919) trained to become a physician at a time when women just didn’t, and she did this whilst also refusing to wear the cumbersome women's clothes of the time, abandoning dresses in favor of trousers—a practice she insisted on, even when a prisoner of war for four months in 1864. She had found herself a “guest" of the confederacy because having been refused entry to the Union army as a soldier, she became one of its surgeons, insisting on healing civilians on both sides of the conflict. During one of her trips south, across enemy lines, Mary was arrested as a spy by the confederacy. For her courage and contributions during the Civil War, she was awarded the congressional medal of honor. When she married a fellow physician she did so in a full suit and top hat, insisting that the vow to obey was omitted from the ceremony. After the war, she ran for congress and senate and campaigned tirelessly for the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, but sadly died a year before the amendment was passed. At her funeral in her hometown of Oswego, New York, an American flag was draped over her coffin, and inside, Mary's body was, of course, dressed in a suit and tie.

Paul Bettany is actor known for his roles in The Da Vinci Code, Iron Man sequels, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War.


Harriet Tubman (1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman who was a devout Christian, escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women's suffrage.

Ryan Coogler is a director and writer, known for Creed, Fruitvale Station and Black Panther.


Nancy Roman (born May 16, 1925) is an American astronomer who was one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout her career, Roman has also been an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences. Raised in a time when women were discouraged from pursuing a science career, she not only succeeded in establishing herself in a scientific career but also left a legacy for future astronomers. Dr. Roman was instrumental in establishing the new era of space-based astronomical instrumentation. She received her undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College in 1946 and her PhD in astronomy at the University of Chicago in 1949. She joined NASA in 1959 within a few months after its inception and set up the astronomy program.

Chris Evans is an actor and filmmaker known for his superhero roles as the Marvel Comics characters Captain America and Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel.


Diane Judith Nash (born May 15, 1938) is an American civil rights activist, and a leader and strategist of the student wing of the Civil Rights Movement. Nash's campaigns were among the most successful of the era. Her efforts included the first successful civil rights campaign to integrate lunch counters (Nashville); the Freedom Riders, who desegregated interstate travel; co-founding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and co-initiating the Alabama Voting Rights Project and working on the Selma Voting Rights Movement. This helped gain Congressional passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which authorized the federal government to oversee and enforce state practices to ensure that African Americans and other minorities were not prevented from registering and voting.

André Holland is a stage and screen actor known for an array of critically acclaimed projects, including the films 'Selma,' '42' and 'Moonlight' as well as the TV shows 'The Knick' and 'American Horror Story.'


Yaa Asantewaa (c. 1840 – 17 October 1921) was queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire – now part of modern-day Ghana, appointed by her brother Nana Akwasi Afrane Opese, the Edwesuhene, or ruler, of Edwesu. In 1900 she led the Ashanti war known as the War of the Golden Stool, also known as the Yaa Asantewaa war, against British colonialism. Yaa Asantewaa remains a much-loved figure in Asante history and the history of Ghana as a whole for her role in confronting the colonialism of the British.

Gideon Jeph Wabvuta is a playwright and actor who is an MFA dramatic writing candidate at the University of Southern California. He studied B.A Honors in Theatre Arts at the University of Zimbabwe.


By refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus in 1955, black seamstress Rosa Parks (1913—2005) helped initiate the civil rights movement in the United States. The leaders of the local black community organized a bus boycott that began the day Parks was convicted of violating the segregation laws. Led by a young Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the boycott lasted more than a year—during which Parks not coincidentally lost her job—and ended only when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional. Over the next half-century, Parks became a nationally recognized symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle to end entrenched racial segregation.

Scott Gimple is a producer and writer, known for The Walking Dead, Fillmore! and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.


Born on July 10, 1875, in Mayesville, South Carolina, Mary McLeod Bethune was a child of former slaves. She graduated from the Scotia Seminary for Girls in 1893. Believing that education provided the key to racial advancement, Bethune founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute in 1904, which later became Bethune-Cookman College. She founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. Bethune died in 1955.

Sterling K. Brown is an actor known for playing Christopher Darden in The People v. O. J. Simpson, Roland Burton in Army Wives and Randall Pearson in critically acclaimed NBC drama This Is Us.

Joan of Arc (c. 1412 – 30 May 1431) was a peasant girl living in medieval France. She believed that God had chosen her to lead France to victory in its long-running war with England. With no military training, Joan convinced the embattled crown prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead a French army to the besieged city of Orléans, where it achieved a momentous victory over the English and their French allies, the Burgundians. After seeing the prince crowned King Charles VII, Joan was captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces, tried for witchcraft and heresy and burned at the stake in 1431, at the age of 19. By the time she was officially canonized in 1920, the Maid of Orléans (as she was known) had long been considered one of history’s greatest saints, and an enduring symbol of French unity and nationalism.

Sojourner Truth (born Isabella (Belle) Baumfree; c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, in 1828 she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God had called her to leave the city and go into the countryside "testifying the hope that was in her". Her best-known speech was delivered extemporaneously, in 1851, at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. The speech became widely known during the Civil War by the title "Ain't I a Woman?". During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves. In 2014, Truth was included in Smithsonian magazine's list of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time".

Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906)  was an American social reformer and women's rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who became her lifelong friend and co-worker in social reform activities, primarily in the field of women's rights. In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York, and convicted in a widely publicized trial. Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action. In 1878, Anthony and Stanton arranged for Congress to be presented with an amendment giving women the right to vote. Introduced by Sen. Aaron A. Sargent (R-CA), it later became known colloquially as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. It was ratified as the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Anthony traveled extensively in support of women's suffrage, giving as many as 75 to 100 speeches per year and working on many state campaigns. She worked internationally for women's rights, playing a key role in creating the International Council of Women, which is still active. Her 80th birthday was celebrated in the White House at the invitation of President William McKinley. She became the first actual woman to be depicted on U.S. coinage when her portrait appeared on the 1979 dollar coin.

Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom was born in Haarlem, Netherlands, in 1892, and grew up in a devoutly religious family. During World War II, she and her family harbored hundreds of Jews to protect them from arrest by Nazi authorities. Betrayed by a fellow Dutch citizen, the entire family was imprisoned. Corrie and her sister were sent to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp, near Berlin. She was miraculously released from prison just days after her sister died. Corrie returned to the Netherlands after the war and set up a rehabilitation center for concentration camp survivors. She also took in those who had cooperated with the Germans during the occupation. In 1946, she began a worldwide ministry that took her to more than 60 countries. She received many tributes, including being knighted by the queen of the Netherlands. In 1971, she wrote a best-selling book of her experiences during World War II, entitled The Hiding Place. In 1975, the book was made into a movie starring Jeannette Clift as Corrie and Julie Harris as her sister Betsie.

Marva Collins is a pioneering school founder and education activist whose methods have transformed the lives of thousands of students. Born in Monroeville, Alabama on August 31, 1936, Marva Collins became one of the most influential teachers and education activists of the 20th century. Working to gain equal access to quality education for African-American students, she started her own school in Chicago and founded a style of education that came to be known as the Collins Method. Collins was known for applying classical education, in particular, the Socratic method, modified for use in primary schools, successfully with impoverished students. Collins criticized the teaching of the students, not the students themselves. She wrote a number of manuals, books and motivational tracts describing her history and methods.


#AskMoreOfHim: David Arquette, David Schwimmer join anti-harassment campaign.

David Schwimmer, David Arquette Join Writers, Producers & Activists In #AskMoreOfHim Movement

Amid the #MeToo and#TimesUp movements, a group of male Hollywood actors, writers, producers and activists have joined forces in an open letter to support survivors of sexual harassment, help prevent abuse and demand accountability from men everywhere. “With the goal of challenging more men to use their privilege and platforms for good, the group launched the #AskMoreOfHim campaign today in advance of the Oscars,” the group said in a statement.

Participants include: David Arquette, Justin Baldoni, Ben Berkowitz, Max Berkowitz, Steven Brill, Geoff Callan, Kirby Dick, Jim Herzfeld, Byron Hurt, Matt McGorry, Michael Nathanson, Jason Newman, David Schwimmer, Ben Silverman, Jason Smilovic, Dennis Barbour, Gary Barker, Eric Barthold, Jonathan Kalin, Jackson Katz, Michael Kimmel, Josh Levs, Don McPherson, Michael A. Messner, Pedro Noguera, Rob Okun, Ianta Summers, A Call to Men, Futures Without Violence, The Representation Project...


By SAMANTHA URBAN | Story and photos in partnership with Tostan. Photos by Ricci Shryock.

How Safi avoided child marriage so she could stay in school.

Safi Mballo, 18, lives in Sare Kante in the Kolda region of Senegal. She persuaded her parents that she should not get married, and be allowed to continue her education for as long as possible.

The boys cultivate millet and corn, the girls and women cultivate rice. That’s how it is: We have to live well together, boys and girls, without any problems. We have some electricity in the village, but we have shortages. But at school we don’t have any electricity. We have water, too — a well — but we don’t have any at school. The pupils draw from the wells here and take water to school. The village is 7 kilometers away from school. We don’t have bicycles — we have no way of getting there other than on foot. Before school, the boys just take the bucket to the well, wash, and leave. But before the girls can leave, they have to work a bit. When you’re back home at 2 p.m., you still have to grind the millet, and prepare dinner. And by the time you finish that, if it’s nighttime, you will get tired and then you can’t take your books to learn — all you can do is wash, and go to bed. My father and mother are farmers. When I grow up, I don’t want to be a farmer. I want to go to school to study until I succeed, so that I can help my parents.

In terms of early marriages and early pregnancies, when girls here in Senegal are 14 or 15, they give you a husband, and you have to marry him. But I want to study until I achieve something; I don’t want to get married at that age. My parents let me go to school without problem. I said, “You have to let me go to school, I want to study.” Early marriage is not good for us girls. My father wanted me to get married last year, but I said, “Father, let me study until I can get a diploma.” After, he told me, “Okay, you should study until you tell me you want to get married.” It’s harder for girls to get an education in Senegal. Once you are married, it’s over. If for example, a girl says, “I have to go to school,” her husband could say, “No, no, your life now is looking after the home, cooking, going to the well. That’s your life now — you mustn’t go to school.” For us, school is finished.

Education can help me. If you haven’t been to school and someone brings a letter, you can’t even read it. But if I study, when someone brings a letter and can’t read it, I can read the letter and explain to them what the letter says. I’m studying to be a Spanish teacher, a señorita. I want to be a Spanish teacher because of all the subjects — maths, biology, English — it’s the Spanish language that I like. I like the Spanish language a lot. I am happy when I hear a señor or a señorita speaking Spanish. If I were president, I would say, “Fathers, you mustn’t give your daughters away in marriage too soon; early marriages are not good. Let your daughters study until they find something that they love. It will help the parents, too, if a girl studies until she achieves something.” I will look for a husband, but not now. Now, it is too soon. First, I will study until I achieve something.

What is it that makes the experience of these young women so different from that of their peers in other villages? Safi and her parents participated in the Tostan Community Empowerment Program where they engaged in theater, dance, poetry, and song to delve into important topics related to their future. Tostan’s three-year program in national languages guides women, men, and youth through a human rights-based alternative education program geared towards those with no, or very little, formal education. Together with other youth in their village, Safi discussed shared values and mapped a vision for community wellbeing at the same time that her parents were discussing and making decisions related to the same issues. Tostan communities make advances in democracy and human rights that shape later sessions on hygiene and health, including those on ending harmful traditional practices such as female genital cutting mutilation and child marriage. The fundamental beliefs and individual and collective agency needed to sustain a movement for formal education is born through this holistic, respectful, and inclusive program.

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