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Leaving Behind the Word “Normal”

You’ve probably seen the term “normal” used to describe skin and body types, along with nearly anything else in your life. Normal is a subjective term that often suggests there is some collective sense of normality. It can also connote a value system where straying from the standard is deemed wrong or undesired. We’d like to discuss the move away from the word normal by diving into the origins and myth of the term, along with brands no longer using the word, and powerful reasons why it’s okay to embrace your abnormality.

The Origins of the Word “Normal”

“Normal” is derived from the Latin normalis, which means “made according to a carpenter’s square, or forming a right angle.” According to Mirriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, in Late Latin, normalis had new meanings, including “according to rule” and  “according to, constituting, or not deviating from an established norm, rule, or principle.”1

Author Johnathan Mooney explained in his book, Normal Sucks: How to Love, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines, that normal is “a word that masquerades as an ever-present universal truth.” He said when the word was first used in Latin, it had nothing to do with people, society, or human behavior.2

Normal and normalis were words primarily used by Latin mathematicians, specifically in geometry to describe a right angle. Mooney explained that over time, it became a universal mathematical truth that a right angle is considered to be a perfect angle. According to Mooney, this is where the meaning of the word normal became both a fact in the world and a judgment of what is right.3 

Bernoulli, Quetelet, and Galton’s “Normal” Research

In 1713, the Swiss mathematician Jakob Bernoulli created the calculus of probabilities. This equation was then taken up by statistical thinker, Adolphe Quetelet, who applied the equation to human beings. In 1835, Quetelet gathered large amounts of statistical data to calculate the most commonly occurring features of the “average man.”4

Quetelet’s research had a vital flaw as he believed his “average man” was also the perfect man. In his research, Quetelet interchangeably used the words “normal,” “regular,” and “average.” In his mind, the words all meant perfect. However, it’s important to note that his research excluded people with disabilities and people of color.5, 6

As Peter Cryle and Elizabeth Stephens wrote in their book, Normality: A Critical Genealogy, Quetelet’s work did all that it could to reduce the gap between the actual and the normal/ideal.

English statistician Francis Galton later updated Quetelet’s work and created today’s concept of normality.7, 8, 9

Exploring the Myth of “Normal”

The word and definition of normal, as used in modern times, is viewed as a sort of myth to many; it tells us that being within the range of what is considered normal is the way to be a thriving member of society. Normality is usually assessed by being in or around the average for any given trait.

Normal vs; Abnormal

Pictured: The “normal” in various discourses   Source: Critical Perspectives

Due to this, it’s largely assumed that, with a few exceptions, it’s best to be as normal as possible to fit in with those around you. This notion implies that being average can be seen as perfect, but if you stray too far from the average, there is something wrong with you — you aren’t being human the right way.

However, humans are remarkably diverse — it has served us well in the past, it’s with us in the present, and it’ll benefit us in the future. For the beauty industry, the rise of “inclusive beauty,” which refers to beauty that caters to all individuals, has helped phase out the word normal when describing skin type, body type, gender, and so on.

When Fenty launched in 2017 with 40 different foundation shades, it sparked a shift in the makeup industry. This revolutionary time in beauty helped other brands realize that diversity is a priority, rather than an afterthought, and that there is no “normal” when it comes to beauty and humans. 

Brands Are Moving Away From Using the Word “Normal”

In 2021, Unilever, which includes Dove, Axe, Shea Moisture, and more, made a pledge to drop the word “normal” from its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising. This step is part of the corporation’s Positive Beauty Vision, which aims to eradicate exclusionary language and outdated beauty ideals when it comes to beauty products. In particular, how we talk about skin and hair.10

Sunny Jain, former president of Unilever’s beauty department, said of the beauty industry: “With one billion people using our beauty and personal care products every day and even more seeing our advertising, our brands have the power to make a real difference to people’s lives.” Jain’s hope is that this will shape a “broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty.”11

Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of the International Center for Research on Women, echoed this sentiment: “In order to champion equity, we need to challenge these restrictive ‘norms’ and create societies and communities that celebrate diversity and the unique qualities and ideas that each person brings. Beauty is no exception.”12

Unilever says that seven in 10 people agree that using the word “normal” on product packaging and advertising is dismissive. The brand states that for younger people aged 18 to 35, the number increases to eight in 10.13 This shows that the change is welcome and will help many people feel as though they aren’t being excluded when shopping for beauty and personal care products.

Uniliver Ad

Pictured: Unilever ad    Source: Ad Week

3 Powerful Reasons To Go Beyond “Normal”

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

― Maya Angelou

The quest to be what society often deems as “normal” can prevent us from doing anything out of the ordinary in life. As humans, we are all extraordinary and are born to be different. Here are three powerful reasons to forego normalcy and embrace what makes you special:

  • Normal is subjective. The idea that there is some ideal standard all humans should conform to is unrealistic and can be psychologically limiting. All you can do is trust in yourself, honor your values, and do what makes you happy. 
  • Normal is not easily defined. It’s often easier for people to define the term abnormal than it is to nail down a definition of normal. The reason for this is that there is no clear definition of what normal is; it’s only when someone deviates from what is generally conceived as ordinary that people become concerned with such labels. Instead of worrying about being normal, create your own definition that fits you and your life.
  • Perfection does not exist. Often, when people are trying to be normal, what they’re really trying to achieve is perfection. Perfection is unattainable, and when you strive for it, you may end up focusing too much on perceived flaws and not enough on strengths. Instead, choose to find the beauty in the imperfections.

Don’t Be Normal, Be You.

Humanist Beauty will always stand for radical inclusivity and diversity. Our founder, Jennifer Norman, is a groundbreaking Asian-American woman who has made it her life’s work to inspire life beyond the “normal”. She built Humanist Beauty and The Human Beauty Movement, our parent company, from the ground up in an effort to send a message to the world that all humans are extraordinarily unique. At Humanist Beauty, we know there’s no such thing as normal; there is extraordinary power in your specialness and every day is an opportunity to become the best version of you.   

 

 

References:

https://lithub.com/how-exactly-did-we-come-up-with-what-counts-as-normal/ [1][2][3][4][5][7][9]

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11673-021-10122-2 [6][8]

https://www.unilever.co.uk/news/press-releases/2021/unilever-says-no-to-normal-with-new-positive-beauty-vision/ [10[11][12][13]

 

A Guide to Inclusivity

The words “inclusion” and “diversity” are so often joined that they are commonly treated as a single term; however, these words mean different things. Author Vernā Myers, an advocate for diversity and inclusion, puts these terms into perspective by saying, “Diversity is being invited to the party, while inclusion is being asked to dance.” In this blog, we will explore the meaning and importance of inclusion through the understanding of oppression and “isms,”  tribalism, and unconscious bias, while also exploring a few brands putting inclusion at the forefront of their business model.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, and Equity Defined

“We should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it.”— Michio Kaku

To start off, it is helpful to define exactly what we mean by inclusion, diversity, equality, and equity. 

Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people is recognized. An inclusive environment promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.

Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources and opportunities, regardless of their circumstances. 

Equity recognizes that each person has varying circumstances and needs, and therefore different groups of people need resources and opportunities allocated to them accordingly to thrive.

Understanding Oppression and “Isms” as a System

In the world today, everyone possesses or is possessed by an “ism.” An ism has various definitions. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is defined as “a doctrine-theory-religion; prejudice or discrimination based on a specified attribute; and adherence to a system or a class of principles.”

Initially, isms were associated with religion; Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism are the most recognized religions that end with this suffix. However, over time, the definition of “ism” has taken on a connotation of repressive bias. For example, sexism is the practice of discriminating against a set of people based on gender, while racism is the systemic oppression of people based on race. These isms, along with many others, intertwine on personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels…

Personal Isms

The personal level is associated with our values, beliefs, and feelings about individuals different from ourselves. Growing up, we are given direct and indirect messages about our values. The institutions that we interact with as children and adults, such as schools, faith communities, and judicial systems, commonly support those values.

Since we are inherently grouped based on race, gender, class, religion, and other identities, we are also getting subtle and not so subtle messages of superiority or being the norm that others need to be measured against.

Interpersonal Isms

At the interpersonal level, the focus is on our actions, behavior, and language as we interact with individuals different from us. If one believes that “poor people are poor based on bad personal choices,” they may try to change these individual’s thinking by shaming them for their choices, lecturing them on making better choices to improve their life outcomes, or not taking into account the complexities of living in generational poverty.

Institutional Isms

The institutional level includes the rules, policies, procedures, and practices, which are written and unwritten within an institution that defines who is welcomed and can fully participate.

A written policy may state that only individuals with certain degrees or formal education can apply for certain jobs, excluding individuals who may have informal experiences or other wisdom that could be considered valuable for the position. 

An unwritten policy may be that as a male you need to keep your hair well groomed to be considered for a leadership role within the organization, possibly excluding men who grow their hair long for spiritual or religious reasons.

Cultural Isms

At the cultural level, the focus turns to how we define what is right, normal, truthful, or beautiful. These isms are projected through the social standards embedded in the media and accepted by a society. 

This could look like a national leader offering skewed cultural messages and then national conversations and policies being informed by this “truth.” These cultural messages and norms can be direct, indirect, or both, and serve to maintain power and privilege for those in dominant groups.

About Tribalism

Tribalism, understood as “groupness” or “group affiliation,” has been an inherent part of human history. Tribes have naturally formed to cohere groups based upon shared geography, family, interests, experiences, beliefs and/or values. While the phrase ‘finding your tribe’ is seen today as a positive sign of group belonging, the inherent byproduct is the “othering” of those who don’t belong. Tribal conflict ensues when a group battles with another for survival, resources, ego, and/or power. Competition between “tribes” of humans can be as serious as warfare or as jovial as cheering for a sports team.

Today, social media makes it easier than ever for individuals to connect with others and find new people that they relate to. Social communities can enhance life experience by fostering friendship and building rich connections. The discernment is to identify when social media algorithms create disconnect from others who are different or have dissimilar points of view. By expanding the people who you are connected to, social media can broaden your horizons and help you grow to become more inclusive.

The antidote to tribalism is dialogue, active listening, and breaking bread together in the search for understanding and common ground. Ultimately, our goal is to build the tribe we all belong to, which is that of humanity. When we can see each other as human beings, we change destructive tribalism into constructive tribalism.

About Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is the tendency to act from a range of assumptions and proclivities that we are not consciously aware of. This can include decisions or actions as well as hidden influences on decisions and actions that we believe are rational and based on objective unbiased evidence and experience.  

Gender bias in the workplace, for example, leads to predetermined views of talent, creating inequalities of men versus women. This bias leads to the thought that one gender may be better for leadership than others. 

We can combat unconscious bias by consciously asking ourselves, “Is there anything that makes this person more or less qualified than any other individual?” By implementing this critical thinking, we can more readily make an informed and unbiased decision on who should be promoted or hired for a specific role.

Usually, what we say represents our conscious beliefs, while what we do defines our unconscious beliefs. Nonetheless, our conscious beliefs often influence our subconscious. Interestingly enough, this thought process is a key factor in manifestation. By voicing, affirming, and living our conscious thoughts, we can change our reality into something more inclusive and diverse.

Dr. Karen Morley has researched how unconscious bias can affect the choices of individuals and has developed three ideas to combat unconscious bias:

  1. Having biases is normal; the key is to be aware of what your biases are, as this helps you actively manage them. You can measure your unconscious bias by taking the Harvard Project Implicit Test
  2. Take the time to deliberate over decisions. This allows you to reduce the likelihood that your unconscious beliefs will bias your decisions. Fast decisions usually rely on unconscious processes which increases the likelihood of bias. 
  3. Actions are the real test. Words can make a huge impact, but the truth is that actions can make an even bigger one. To take action at work, for example, try reading through policies and rules to see if they foster an inclusive environment. If not, you can bring it up to someone in charge.

Inclusive Brands Changing the Game

When ads accurately reflect consumers’ personal preferences, styles, and ways of living, they can create a sense of belonging and inclusion. Additionally, featuring people of distinct backgrounds in settings viewers can relate to can help build authentic connections with members of new target audiences. 

Here are a few examples of brands that are moving the needle on representation. They are widening the demographics used in their marketing to promote inclusion, diversity, and equality:

Good American

Good American 2022 campaign

Pictured: Good American 2022 campaign   Source: The Impression

A wonderful example of a brand widening demographics is Good American, which is led by Emma Grede and Khloé Kardashian. Good American has championed inclusivity and made it a mission to have every woman seen and heard. The brand has an annual nationwide casting call for diverse women to model in its seasonal ad campaigns and showcases a model in every size (00 to 24) on its website. 

Nike

Pictured: Nike’s full coverage swimsuits  Source: Nike Swim

Nike’s “Until We All Win” focus has inspired people all across the globe. The brand states, “Nike believes in the power of sport to unite and inspire people to take action in their communities. Equality isn’t a game. But achieving it will be our greatest victory. Until we all win.” Nike also goes beyond a campaign with expanded product offerings, such as its full-coverage swimsuits that feature hijabs. 

Dove

Dove’s long-running Self-Esteem Project Campaign (2004-2022)

Pictured: Dove’s long-running Self-Esteem Project Campaign (2004-2022)  Source: Dove

Dove, a Unilever brand, has created campaigns focused on real people — people of color, the LGBTQ community, and people of all ages and body types. Its “Real Beauty” campaign brings the brand down to the level of consumers, not to the level of models or people of a so-called “perfect” size. Dove has also shaped messaging for children, starting at critical ages, to eliminate negativity around body shape and size, such as with its “Self-Esteem Project” campaign.

Mattel’s Barbie

Barbie's Fashionista Line 2022

Pictured: Mattel’s 2022 lineup of Barbie Fashionista Dolls   Source: Good Morning America

Mattel has done a great job with Barbie in recent years by moving away from its traditional definition of “dolls” to take a more inclusive approach. This was partially driven by consumer sentiment, but the result is a much wider representation of children. The Barbie Fashionista Dolls of 2022, for example, feature dolls of varying ethnic backgrounds and include those with disabilities.

How to Be More Inclusive in Your Everyday Life

“Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action.” – Arthur Chan

It’s common to think that an inclusive model of behavior has to do with others; however, it’s important to start with ourselves and our own level of awareness and openness on the subject. Here are a few simple strategies to become more inclusive in your daily life:

  • Amplify more voices: Whether you’re on social media, run a blog, or share some sort of content regularly, it’s important to amplify and share more than one voice. If you have employees, utilize your team. Hear their stories, learn their skills, and let them be heard. To learn more about what it means to amplify diverse voices, you can listen to this episode of the Grow Kinder podcast. 
  • Promote accessibility. Whether you’re offering remote work, multiple channels of communication, or even having an elevator or wheelchair ramp, there are several ways in which you can improve the accessibility within your office. Click here to learn more about making your workspace more accessible and inclusive.
  • Be mindful in your communication. When communicating with those around you, be mindful of the tone of your voice, what you say, and how it’s directed. Forbes shared a great blog on mindful communication that may help if you’re struggling.
  • Be open-minded: Meeting new people and learning new things is one of the many “plusses” in life. So, when meeting these people, especially the ones that you may perceive as “different,” consider them, their life, and their talents with an open mind. Click here for a few tips on how to live life with an open mind.

Humanist Beauty Stands For Inclusion, Diversity, and Equality

The Humanist Beauty brand was developed with inclusivity, diversity, and equality in mind. The brand is part of The Human Beauty Movement (The HBM), a company with the mission to inspire acceptance and humanity of all people, regardless of race, age, skin tone, ability, gender, or beliefs. The HBM facilitates radically inclusive connections of humans to products, services, and each other so they can learn, grow, and thrive in a more inclusive and diverse world. You can join The HBM community here.

How do you feel about the state of inclusion in the world? Let us know in the comments!

Celebrating Women

The month of March is Women’s History Month and is dedicated to remembering the glass-ceiling shattering suffragists, visionaries, and trailblazing women who have fought for equality on behalf of women today and women of the future. There is an abundance of strong women who have led inspirational lives that have greatly contributed to society and impacted others; the list is never-ending. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we will pay homage to everyday women from all walks of life that embody the spirit of the celebration, along with sharing ideas on how you can honor Women’s History Month.

The Brief History of Women’s History Month

Women's History Month

Source: Florida State University Libraries

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978, which was selected to correspond with International Women’s Day on March 8th. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

From then on, Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.

The 2022 Women’s History Month theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” which captures the spirit of these challenging times. This theme is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”1

Everyday Women To Celebrate

During Women’s History Month, women are celebrated globally. Celebrities and well-known public figures, such as Oprah Winfrey, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosie the Riveter, are brought to the spotlight to be honored with exhibits and observances. However, while they are vitally important to our world and society, everyday women are also contributing and inspiring others as they live “normal” lives extraordinarily.

Here are a few everyday women to celebrate this March for Women’s History Month:

Rebecca Talaia

Rebecca Talaia

Source: Today

In 2020, Rebecca Talaia, a sixth grade teacher in Indialantic, Florida, heard that her local hospital was in dire need of disinfectant wipes due to a shortage from the pandemic. This reverted her mind to the wipes currently sitting unused in her empty classroom, leading Rebecca to convene with her fellow teachers and administration to help collect the school’s supply for the hospital. 

Soon after, Rebecca started From Our Classrooms to Our Nurses: American Schools Care, a website where schools can enter products they have to donate and hospitals can list their needs.The program matches schools and hospitals within a certain distance of each other and, if the amounts are appropriate, they get matched. At present, Rebecca is still working to donate supplies and is manually matching requests that come through the website herself.

Shola Matovu

Shola Matovu

Source: Women Lift Women

When Schola Matovu, PhD, RN, MSN was a young girl, she gathered herbs so her grandmother, an informal nurse/midwife in a small Ugandan village, could provide remedies for different ailments, such as malaria. She was inspired by her grandmother’s love of botany and creating remedies, eventually becoming a nurse. 

Shola is dedicated to decreasing health inequities through her research, which promotes health and overall well-being of older family caregivers, particularly in Uganda where 660,000 children were orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. To help, Shola is working to create a community-based pilot project in Uganda that will enable caregivers to generate income by raising farm animals. 

Additionally, Shola co-founded the Nurse-to-Nurse Global Initiative (NTNGI) in 2013. NTNGI, which helps nurses navigate occupational barriers and advocate for themselves and their patients, plans to launch a leadership and professional development training program in Uganda next spring.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Source: The Guardian

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a transmedia artist, which means they create and translate stories across platforms. Their journey as an artist and activist, though, started when they realized someone needed to fight for the Dalit women who often gather in districts near near the statue of BR Ambedkar, a legendary Indian politician and former Dalit leader, to bring awareness to the crimes committed against them.

For Thenmozhi, everything about the #Dalitwomenfight movement – from social media posts to professional photography to security training for its participants – is an art form. They use different mediums to highlight the voices of marginalised communities, such as Dalit, and organise different communities to come together to fight caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy, and religious intolerance. 

This also led them to create Equality Labs, which is an art and tech start-up that aims to uplift South Asian religious, cultural, and genderqueer communities in the United States.

Rachel Miller

Rachel Miller

Source: Pride Source

Rachel Miller began ballet when she was seven-years-old; however, as the years passed, she began to question why she wasn’t allowed to do the jumps or leaps like the men dancers. Rachel also showed distaste towards the stereotypical female roles in ballet: the damsel. This led her to practice different types of dance, such as hip-hop and African styles. While performing all over the world, Rachel came to terms with her sexuality and herself, which is why the Midwest RAD Fest caught her attention.

Rachel had previously danced at the Midwest RAD Fest, which is a celebration that features the best in modern, post-modern, and contemporary dance from all over the country. She took the role as the curator and began to change the way the fest worked by adding a panel of LGBTQ+ individuals, along with people of color, to help choose what works are put into the festival.

Thanks to Rachel, the Midwest RAD Fest has become a place where anyone and everyone can showcase their talents. Rachel dismantled the idea that only men choreographers and dancers can snag a timeslot for the fest. Instead, the Midwest RAD Fest is now a dedicated LGBTQ-focused platform.

Erin Hughes

Erin Hughes

Source: Solidarity Engineering

Erin Hughes co-founded the women-led organization Solidarity Engineering to support those living at a migrant camp in Metamoros. Before becoming the lead engineer of Solidarity Engineering, she studied environmental engineering at Drexel University and worked in the field for ten years.

In 2019, upon hearing of the illnesses and challenges people were faced with due to contaminated water at the migrant camp, Erin decided to make better use of her knowledge of water treatment and stormwater management by helping the camp inhabitants. She has helped dig drainage channels, construct showers, and much more. Her efforts have greatly contributed to the health of the camp and the people who reside in it.

Pippa Mills

Pippa Mills

Source: Essex Live

It’s no secret that being a police officer has always been looked at as a “man’s job,” but Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills is changing that sexist stereotype for good. Pippa has worked her way up the ranks to become the first-ever female Deputy Chief Constable in Essex Police’s history, second only to the Chief Constable himself. Becoming the first female officer in her role is something she is exceptionally proud of. Plus, she did it while raising two boys. 

Some of her career highlights include working on big public order events such as Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding in 2011. Another central highlight was when she was flagged down by someone who had broken down and was transporting a kidney to Great Ormond Street Hospital with only 40 minutes to spare. She blue-lighted him there to make sure it arrived on time.

Amy Hanifan

Amy Hanifan

Source: Women in Fire

Amy Hanifan is the Operations Chief with McMinnville Fire Department in McMinnville, Oregon. She has been in the fire service since early 2001, starting as a volunteer and eventually beginning a career as a Firefighter Paramedic. Earning varied roles of leadership, she’s continuously been passionate about mentoring others in different stages of their careers. 

Throughout the years. she’s been involved with large projects such as Toy and Joy and Fill the Boot. She’s also the president of Women in Fire, which is an organization representing and advocating for women in the industry. Recently, Amy has turned her attention to promoting policies that would secure light duty gear for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers that work in the firefighting field. This will inevitably change the game for women firefighters who constantly feel the negative effects of the heavy and cumbersome gear.

How You Can Celebrate Women’s History Month

Whether you’re an activist, a petition-signing advocate for equality, or just venturing into the celebration of Women’s History Month for the first time, here are some ideas for how to honor the progression the women’s rights movement has made and how to support Women’s History Month:

Listen To Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to hear conversations about an array of topics you might not ordinarily come into contact with; they provide an informal and non-journalistic commentary of the world around us.

Women make up about half of podcast listeners, but at the end of 2020, it was reported that only 21% of top-charting podcasts have a female host. This is why supporting women offering their voice to the public is vitally important; it empowers more women to see their viewpoints as a potential contribution to the broader conversations we encounter each day. 

Here are a few female-hosted podcasts to listen to:

  • How Was Your Week hosted by Julie Klausner is a comedy and interview audio podcast that includes conversations with entertainers, writers, comedians, and performers.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour by Linda Holmes serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, video games, and more.
  • Only Human hosted by Mary Harris tells stories about our bodies and our lives. 
  • What Would A Feminist Do? hosted by Jessica Valenti brings you interviews, advice, and real life stories from the front lines of feminism.
  • This Girl Means Business hosted by Carrie Green is a weekly business podcast to inspire female entrepreneurs from around the world.

Read Books By Female Authors

Books are an important influencer for how we think about our society and culture, and they offer readers different viewpoints and perspectives. Not to mention the fact that they’re also an amazing escape from everyday life.

While over 80% of the most popular novels were written by men, this disparity is drastically changing. In the last 30 years, female authors went from accounting for 25% of books on the Bestseller List to about 48%.2  This month, celebrate literary works by women who encourage you to step out of your comfort zone or guide you as you dive deeper into your interests.

Here are a few women writers who have shaped the literary world:

  • Adrienne Rich is most known for her poem “Diving Into The Wreck,” which uses an extended metaphor that compares the dive to the struggle for equal rights for women.
  • Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian American author whose works focus on the lives of women and their relationships.
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is best known for her novels, short stories, and plays that center around politics, culture, race, and gender.
  • Isabel Wilkerson is the first woman of African-American heritage to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism and is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
  • Margaret Atwood is best known for her prose fiction and for her feminist perspective, such as in the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Support A Women’s Nonprofit Organization

Global nonprofit organizations play a key role in promoting female empowerment in areas such as education, health care, and employment. They recognize that when you empower women, you empower entire communities and countries.

There are so many ways to get involved in nonprofits that support women. While volunteering your time is an obvious way to get involved, simply participating in the conversation, sharing the organization’s mission, offering your connections, and signing petitions are wonderful ways to make an immediate impact.

Here a few nonprofits that support women to check out:

Support Female Entrepreneurs

Women make up close to half of the U.S. labor market and, in 2019, over 35% of all women in the U.S. had completed a four-year degree or more. However, a study from 2016 concluded that women are about half as likely as their male counterparts to start a new business. 

In the last two decades, though, the number of female-owned companies has increased by 114%. Women-owned businesses generate $1.9 trillion in revenue and employ 9.4 million people, which makes them an essential and growing part of our economy.

Here a few female-owned businesses to support:

  • She Speaks Numbers founded by Liz Barhydt help rising leaders develop the confidence, effective communication & storytelling skills that take them from a number cruncher to a valued strategic partner.
  • Nook+Cove founded by Silpa Yadla is an innovative platform that’s a shop and a registry with designer curated furniture and décor for the home.
  • Briogeo Hair Care founded by Nancy Twine is a line of carefully crafted, clean hair care products that offer effective solutions for every hair type, hair texture, hair need, and person.
  • The Honey Pot Company founded by Bea Dixon is a plant-based feminine hygiene line created with a goal to provide women with a healthy alternative to feminine care that is free of chemicals, parabens, carcinogens and sulfates.
  • Mented Cosmetics founded by Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller is a brand dedicated to producing makeup products that are perfectly pigmented to match all skin tones.

Humanist Beauty Is Female-Owned

About Humanist Beauty: Humanist Beauty, a Certified B Corporation, Social Enterprise Alliance member, and Leaping Bunny Approved business, is a beauty brand dedicated to the life-long practice of self-love. The brand is the first launched by The Human Beauty Movement (The HBM), a purpose-driven company on a mission to support inclusion, wellness, and sustainability in the beauty industry and beyond.

Humanist Beauty believes it has a responsibility to be a better beauty brand and stand for radical inclusivity. Additionally, Humanist Beauty believes in giving before receiving. The brand has donated funds to Gates Philanthropy Partners and Change.org to support projects that help those affected by the COVID pandemic. Donations have also been made to the mighty Black Lives Matter and Hate is a Virus social causes. And notably, the brand commits to donating 3% of gross revenues – not net revenues or net profits – to well-vetted 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that improve the well-being of underserved humans and enhance environmental health.

The Human Beauty Movement, including all Humanist Beauty operations, is a carbon-neutral organization with offsets made through carbonfund.org reforestry projects. All formulas are made from scratch, and corners are never cut when it comes to the quality and wholesomeness of the ingredients used. 

Every single ingredient used in every single product is carefully scrutinized for benefit, safety, and ethical sourcing. In terms of packaging, Humanist Beauty strives to use the most environmentally conscientious options it can and even offers a consumer recycling service of old products through a Zero Waste Program.

To learn more about Humanist Beauty and shop its products, check out this page.

About Jennifer Norman: Jennifer Norman is a beauty and wellness industry executive-turned-entrepreneur. After receiving her MBA from Georgetown University, she went on to pursue an amazing career working for some of the best companies in the industry. With major experience across all beauty categories, she’s considered one of the most strategic and creative minds in the business.

Through Humanist Beauty and The Human Beauty Movement, Jennifer has set out to pioneer positive beauty culture with a multi-faceted creative approach. Humanist Beauty and The Human Beauty Movement harness her love for humanity with her passions for art and cultural exploration. She believes deep down that everyone is beautiful, everyone deserves to feel beautiful, and everyone is empowered to live the beautiful life of their dreams.

Jennifer Norman

Pictured: Jennifer Norman For Humanist Beauty

How will you be celebrating Women’s History Month? Do you have a woman that inspires you daily in your life? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Resources:

https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ [1]

https://pudding.cool/2017/06/best-sellers/ [2]

A Look at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world’s shared plan to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet by 2030. The SDGs were adopted by 193 countries in 2015 and emerged from the most inclusive and comprehensive negotiations in the history of the United Nations (UN). Achieving the goals by 2030 will require heroic and imaginative effort, a strong determination to learn about what works, and the ability to adapt to new information and changing trends. These goals have the power to create a better world, so in honor of United Nations Day on October 24th, we bring you this overview of all 17 SDGs.

SDG #1, No Poverty

1.  No Poverty

Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. While the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped by more than half between 1990 and 2015, many are still struggling for the most basic of human needs. Additionally, as of 2015, about 736 million people still lived on less than $1.90 a day, with many lacking food, clean drinking water, and sanitation.

A few goal targets of SDG 1 are:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty for all people, which is currently categorized as people living on less than $1.25 a day.
  • Half the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.
  • Ensure that everyone, in particular the poor and vulnerable, has equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land, inheritance, and natural resources.
  • Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all.

SDG 2, Zero Hunger

2.  Zero Hunger

The number of undernourished people has dropped by almost half in the past two decades because of rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity. A multitude of developing countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet their nutritional needs, such as Central and East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. However, hunger is still a major issue. As of 2017, it’s estimated that 821 million people are chronically undernourished in developing countries, and over 90 million children under five are underweight.

A few goal targets of SDG 2 are:

  • End hunger and ensure access by all people to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food all year round.
  • Double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, especially women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers.
  • Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, help maintain ecosystems, strengthen the capacity for adaptation to climate change, and progressively improve land and soil quality.
  • Adopt measures to ensure the proper functionality of food commodity markets and their derivatives, as well as facilitate timely access to market information to help eliminate extreme food price volatility.

SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being

3. Good Health and Well-Being

A great deal of progress has been made against several leading causes of death and disease, which has led to life expectancy increasing and infant and maternal mortality rates decreasing. However, the world is currently facing a massive pandemic, COVID-19,  which is spreading human suffering, destabilizing the global economy, and upending the lives of billions of people around the globe. Good health is essential to sustainable development and the UN’s 2030 SDG Agenda reflects the complexity and interconnectedness of the two.

A few goal targets of SDG 3 are:

  • Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
  • End the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, while also combating hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.
  • Reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, pollution, and contamination.
  • Research and support the development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries,
  • Provide access to affordable essential medicines.

SDG 4, Quality Education

4. Quality Education

Since 2000, there has been enormous progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. The total enrollment rate in developing regions reached 91% in 2015 and the worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. However, children in impoverished households are up to four times more likely to be out of school than those of the richest households.

A few goal targets of SDG 4 are:

  • Ensure that all children complete free quality primary and secondary education programs that will lead to effective learning outcomes.
  • Ensure equal access for all to affordable and quality technical, vocational, and tertiary education (including university).
  • Build and upgrade learning facilities that are child, disability, and gender-sensitive, while also providing safe environments for all.
  • Substantially increase the number of qualified teachers, with a heavy focus on the least developed countries and developing small islands.

SDG 5, Gender Equality

5. Gender Equality

Ending discrimination is crucial for a sustainable future, especially considering that empowering all genders helps economic growth and development. With the help of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), there has been remarkable progress towards gender equality. There are more girls in school now compared to 15 years ago, and two-thirds of developing countries have reached gender parity in primary education. Additionally, fewer girls are forced into marriages and more women are serving in leadership roles.

A few goal targets of SDG 5 are:

  • End all forms of discrimination against all genders everywhere.
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all genders at all levels.
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote empowerment to all genders.

SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Water scarcity affects more than 40% of people globally, an alarming figure that is projected to rise as temperatures do. Although 2.1 billion people have improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling drinking water supplies are affecting every continent. By 2050, it’s projected that one in four people will suffer water shortages.

A few goal targets of SDG 6 are:

  • Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
  • Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.
  • Achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, ending open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
  • Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, wetlands, lakes, forests, rivers, and aquifers.

SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy

7.  Affordable and Clean Energy

Between 2000 and 2018, the number of people with electricity increased from 78% to 90%, and the number of households without electricity dipped to 789 million. As the population continues to grow, so will the demand for cheap energy; but the world’s economy is reliant on fossil fuels, causing drastic changes to our climate.

A few goal targets of SDG 7 are:

  • Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.
  • Increase substantially the ratio of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
  • Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
  • Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology.
  • Promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Over the past 25 years, the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34% of total employment, which has tripled between 1991 and 2015. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.

A few goal targets of SDG 8 are:

  • Sustain per capita economic growth per National Circumstances and, in particular, at least 7% gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.
  • Sustainably reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training.
  • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including young people and those with disabilities, along with equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local cultures and products.

SDG 9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

With over half the world population now living in urban areas, mass transportation and renewable energy are becoming more important, as is the growth of new industries and communication technologies. Technological progress is key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as providing new jobs and promoting energy efficiency. With 4 billion people without access to the internet, 90% of these being from developing countries, the time to bridge the digital divide is now.

A few goal targets of SDG 9 are:

  • Develop quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
  • Support domestic technology development, research, and innovation in developing countries.
  • Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the internet for all.
  • Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and significantly raise industry’s shares of employment and gross domestic product, along with doubling shares in developing countries.

SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities

10. Reduced Inequalities

Income inequality is on the rise, with the richest 10% making up to 40% of global income whereas the poorest 10% earn only between 2% to 7%. Income inequality requires global solutions, such as improving the regulations and monitoring financial markets and institutions, encouraging developing assistance, and foreign direct investment of regions where the need is the greatest.

A few goal targets of SDG 10 are:

  • Progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average.
  • Empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, regardless of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, or religion.
  • Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations.
  • Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, which includes eliminating discriminatory laws, policies, and practices, and promoting appropriate legislation.

SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

By 2050, 6.5 billion people will be living in cities, which is ⅔ of the human population. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. Slums are becoming increasingly more common around cities in developing countries due to the rapid growth of cities and the rising populations. Making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, affordable and safe housing, and building resilient societies.

A few goal targets of SDG 11 are:

  • Ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services, plus upgrading slums.
  • Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
  • Provide universal access to safe, inclusive, accessible, and green public spaces, in particular for women, children, and older individuals with disabilities.

SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Achieving sustainable development and economic growth requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, while irrigation claims 70% of all fresh water for human use. By encouraging businesses, industries, and consumers to recycle and be more aware of over-consumption, we can shift to a more resource-efficient economy.

A few goal targets of SDG 12 are:

  • Achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • Halve per capita global waste at retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains.
  • Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
  • Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

SDG 13, Climate Action

13. Climate Action

Climate change is being felt and experienced all over the world. Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50% higher than in the 1990s. Additionally, the annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Not to mention the human impact of geophysical disasters, which are 91% climate-related, and in between 1998 and 2017, killed 1.3 million people and left 4.4 billion injured. Needless to say, urgent and ambitious action is needed as soon as possible.

A few goal targets of SDG 13 are:

  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
  • Improve education and awareness on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.

SDG 14, Life Below Water

14. Life Below Water

The world’s oceans drive global systems that make Earth inhabitable for all humankind. How we manage this resource is essential for humanity as a whole, especially to counterbalance the effects of climate change. Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity in their livelihoods. However, today we are seeing 30% of the world’s fish stocks overexploited, which is the level at which sustainable yields can be produced. Marine pollution is also on the rise with an average of 13,000 pieces of litter to be found on every square kilometer of ocean.

A few goal targets of SDG 14 are:

  • Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, which includes marine debris and nutrient pollution.
  • Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse effects.
  • Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
  • Provide access to small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.

SDG 15, Life on Land

15. Life on Land

Human life depends on Earth as much as the ocean for our livelihood and sustenance. Plant life provides 80% of the human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource. Forests cover 30% of the Earth’s surface, provide vital habitats for millions of species, and are important sources of clean air and water. Every year, though, 13 million hectares of forests are lost. While 15% of the land is protected, biodiversity is still at risk. 7,000 species of animals and plants have been illegally traded, and wildlife trafficking is known to create insecurity, fuel conflict, and feed corruption.

A few goal targets of SDG 15 are:

  • Ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems.
  • Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species.

SDG 16, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Sustainable development cannot be achieved without peace, stability, human rights, and effective governance, but the sad reality is that our world is incredibly divided. Armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, which affects economic growth and commonly results in grievances that last for generations. Sexual violence, crime, exploitation, and torture are also prevalent where there is conflict or no rule of law, and countries must take measures to protect those who are most at risk.

A few goal targets of SDG 16 are:

  • Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates globally.
  • Promote the rule of law at national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
  • Provide legal identity to all, including birth registration.
  • Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.

SDG 17, Partnerships For The Goals

17. Partnerships For The Goals

The SDGs can only be acknowledged and put into action with strong global partnerships and cooperation. Many countries require Official Development Assistance (ODA) to encourage growth and trade. Yet, aid levels are falling and donor countries have not lived up to their pledge to ramp up development finance. Considering that the current COVID-19 pandemic is causing issues within the global economy, strong international cooperation is needed now more than ever to help countries recover and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

A few goal targets of SDG 17 are:

  • Strengthen domestic resource mobilization to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collections.
  • Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources.
  • Assist countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief, and debt restructuring.
  • Build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product.

Additional information about all 17 of the SDGs can be found on the UN’s website.

The UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Human Beauty Movement Supports The SDGs

Being a company founded to support radical inclusion, wellness, and regeneration in the beauty industry and beyond, The Human Beauty Movement (the company behind Humanist Beauty) has highlighted three of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals as key focus areas:

  • SDG #3: Good Health and Wellbeing
  • SDG #10: Reduce Inequality
  • SDG #12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Key contract labor and employee hires are made aware of the SDGs and how The Human Beauty Movement operates to support the three focus SDGs in particular. Employees are challenged to creatively contribute to the achievement of goals through their paid work and voluntary contributions.

You can learn more about Humanist Beauty’s missions, beliefs, and values here, and more information on The Human Beauty Movement can be found here.