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As I write this, approximately 800 million women and girls in the world are menstruating. Despite the commonness of the occurrence, however, many are still forced to do so clandestinely, and in shame. Sadly, menstruation is in some ways the last great taboo, and that's no hyperbole: indeed, nearly half of women have no foreknowledge of the condition before their first menstrual cycle.

Thankfully, a groundbreaking new documentary is working to change all that: produced and directed by a predominantly female team, Pandora’s Box may be the first feature-length documentary film to focus on menstrual rights. The film zeroes in on the introduction of reusable pads, and puts a light on the wor...

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As a volunteer working with the Peace Corps in Rwanda, Markey Culver typically ate just one meal per day, common practice among Rwandan families. One day, Culver did something that seemed simple at the time--but it would change her life, and the lives of scores of East Africans.

To increase the calories she was taking in, Culver baked a loaf of yeast bread.

When her baking caught the interest of local women, Culver began to teach those in her community to bake bread for themselves. And when the women began giving the bread to their children, she began to realize the potential of her work to impact malnutrition. Culver was inspired, and when the women began to sell the bread at local markets, s...

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On October 11, the world observed the International Day of Girls: a day dedicated to raising awareness of the serious issues facing the world's 1.1 billion girls, and promoting their empowerment. It's an enormous issue–one that requires our attention far beyond that single day.

Each year, about 246 million children are harassed and abused either at or on their way to school. Girls are disproportionately affected, a reality that curbs their academic lives and makes it more likely they will drop out. But things are slowly changing: fully twenty-five million child marriages have been prevented, just in the past ten years.

These two things–ending child marriage, and working to make sur...

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When Cheryl Gray initially heard about the new program, she thought it must be too good to be true. A nonprofit organization was planning on awarding 20 African American single mothers $1,000 each month for a year, provided they lived in public housing. The women would be allowed to use the money however they wanted.

Gray immediately signed on to the program, called Springboard to Opportunities, planning on using the money to pay for graduate school. But she quickly learned it wasn't quite that simple. Like the other women in the program, Gray had little to no experience with managing savings. She could stretch a minimum-wage paycheck, but had little experience with discretionary income.

It se...

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Here at Billions Rising we have always emphasized self-reliance, and solutions that empower those in poverty to better themselves and their communities. One organization that is doing great work in this area is Street Business School, a non-profit that works with other orgs to provide next-level entrepreneurial training for women.

For the past fifteen years, SBS has worked to help women become small-scale entrepreneurs--and their track record is remarkable. On average, women who graduate from the SBS program go from making $1.35/day to $4.19/day two years after graduation. Even better, 89% of their graduates have businesses of their own.

The organization has tested and evaluated their methods ...

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When she was just a second grader, Nujoud Merancy visited an air traffic control tower on a school field trip, an event that kindled the young girl's interest in aerospace; later, she was inspired by the Apollo missions. And incredibly, today she is working on an enormous mission of her own: sending the first woman to the moon by 2024.

Along with her colleagues Anne McClain and Holly Ridings, Merancy is part of a new vanguard of females in the aerospace industry. She serves as Exploration Mission Planning and Analysis lead for the Orion spacecraft that will execute the 2024 mission, and Ridings is NASA's first female Chief Flight Director; McClain just came back from a six-month assignment on...

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When Vandana Shiva was growing up in the wilds of the Himalaya, her father was a forest conservator, her mother a farmer. Her close relationship with nature was set early on, and her involvement with Chipko, a nonviolent org that emerged in response to large-scale deforestation in the region, soon put Shiva on the path to a career in ecology.

Today, at 66, Shiva has founded a biodiversity farm, Navdanya, as well as Earth University, a learning center that teaches students principles of biodiversity and what Shiva calls "Earth Democracy." Her commitment to farmers' rights and poison-free farming has earned Shiva a slew of awards and accolades, and she has been called an environmental hero by n...

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For all of the transformation we've seen in the world of venture capital in recent years, evidence suggests that old ideas persist. Unfortunately, barriers still pervade the space: current figures show that women CEOs net only 3 percent of venture capital, and black women CEOs get only 0.2 percent.

As a CEO in the tech sector, Elaine Kunda experienced a modicum of success. But when she left with plans to become an angel investor, she came to learn how hard it was for female entrepreneurs to get funded.

"It was weird," Kunda says. Many women "were way more competent, capable, and further along in their businesses" than comparable men pitching for VC funds, but were routinely passed over. Kunda ...

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A supermajority is defined as any vote that requires more than a simple majority in order to win approval, or any group making up more than one half of a population. In the America of 2019, at 50.8 percent, the female population qualifies as a supermajority–and it's one which wields a great deal of potential political power.

Yesterday, former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards announced that she is starting a new women’s political action group with Alicia Garza, cofounder of Black Lives Matter, and Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The group, to be called Supermajority, will partner those organizations and others to train women on how to par...

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Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Aisha Bowe was the child of divorce, and dealt with many of the issues that come with the territory. She had a lack of self-esteem and scholastic problems that led to less-than-stellar grades, excluding her from consideration at a top school. But she soldiered on at community college, and there she met a teacher who challenged her to reconsider her gifts.

Inspired, Bowe was able to gain admission to Michigan University, and eventually her studies in Aerospace Engineering led to an offer to take her dream job: a position at NASA itself. This was a huge opportunity, being that black women account for a miniscule percentage of engineers in this field. Incredibl...

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