What trans women can teach cis women (and vice versa) - Daniela Petruzelak, diversity activist

Three years ago, software developer Daniela Petruzalek took the leap to transition to her true female self. One of the first things she had to get over were her own internalized prejudices.

“I come from a family where they had traditional morals and were quite homophobic.” She said. “And I had to deconstruct everything. It took me many years to do so. I was a white cis heterosexual male... and nowadays I'm a lesbian.”

Not only that, she was back to competing in the male-dominated world of tech, but now--as a woman. She immediately noticed the double standards rooted in gender bias.

“The only time in my life I was unemployed was after my transition and took me 6 months to get a new job.” She told me. “When you send resumes as a man, even if you aren't a fit for the role, the people will call you and talk to you. But when you send a resume as a woman they expect you to have like 100 percent of the skills or they wouldn't want to even start talking with you.”

Now Daniela uses this knowledge to fight for diversity and inclusion in the tech world. Learn what trans women can teach cis women—and vice versa—in our conversation.

 Daniela Petruzelak

Daniela Petruzelak

What Happens When Sexual Assault Goes Unpunished: Sarah Delia, Host of “She Says”



When radio journalist Sarah Delia heard a story about the sexual assault of one of her listeners, “Linda” (not her real name), she knew it was a story that needed to be told. It’s also a story about how one survivor took matters into her own hands when the police department she turned to for help seemed to be failing to help her. And it’s a story about how our criminal justice system handles sexual assault cases nationwide--and what needs to change to make violence against women the exception rather than the status quo.

Sarah turned Linda’s story into a new investigative podcast series called “She Says”. Listen to our conversation about the courage it takes to tell your story of sexual assault--and keep telling it---until you are heard by someone who can help you get justice. And also--what it takes to be the person who takes on the “second-degree trauma” of listening to and reporting on stories of sexual assault.

To learn more about what to expect from the criminal justice system in cases of sexual assault--and how you can help advocate for better policies, you can check out these resources on the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

She Says also has a list of resources on their website.

And if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault and need to talk about it with someone, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE.

 Sarah Delia  Photo by Logan Cyrus

Sarah Delia

Photo by Logan Cyrus

Are We Teaching Our Girls Too Much Empathy? - Emily Abad, The Mosaic Project

Empathy is often seen as the magic bullet against intolerance. But when we take on too much empathy for others it can be difficult to create emotional boundaries when it comes to our own needs. At the same time, when we put up emotional walls, we’re judged as being selfish, cold or “bossy.”  

Emily Abad is someone who was raised to always put others’ needs ahead of her own and not speak up for herself. She’s always struggled to find that perfect balance between empathy and assertiveness. When her religious father refused to accept her after she came out as gay, she was at a loss as to what to do.

Then she began working with kids at The Mosaic Project, an experiential education program addressing issues of diversity, empathy, and conflict resolution. Hear how teaching kids the power of speaking their truth from a place of love helped Emily to find her own voice.

Listen to the episode, and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

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Aging Without Apology: Author Nina Collins on Why Her Facebook Group for Women of a Certain Age Is Feminist AF

Hormonal changes. Marital problems and infidelity. Dating after divorce. Finding sensuality in your post-multiple-pregnancy, middle-aged physique. Having regrets about taking a career break to raise kids. Cosmetic procedures. These are things that we rarely talk about in public or even privately with our friends, but we need to talk about it with someone. The question is, who?

In 2015, author Nina Collins created a secret Facebook group. It was a place where she could seek the advice of her friends who had already experienced perimenopause and other physical changes related to aging. Friends invited friends and now the group, called “What Would Virginia Woolf Do?” (WWVD) has grown to a 17,000 member community in which women share--and sometimes overshare--the challenges and fears and triumphs of life over 40.

Clearly Nina Collins has broken the ice for a conversation that women over 40 have been desperate to have: one in which we confront our shame, embrace our imperfections, honor what makes us unique, and benefit from our collective wisdom so that we can lift each other up.

Sounds like feminism to me.

Nina has captured the essence of this group and her own reflections on “aging” in her new book, "What Would Virginia Woolf Do? And Other Questions I Ask Myself As I Attempt To Age Without Apology." Listen to our conversation here on Inflection Point.

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Do haters deserve our compassion? Sally Kohn, Author of "The Opposite of Hate"

Can you find compassion in your heart for the haters in your life? CNN political commentator and first-time author Sally Kohn says if we keep on hating the haters, the cycle of hate will never end.  She’s believes compassion to be one of the keys to breaking the cycle of hatred that pervades our culture in today’s divisive world. 

The question is, how can compassion defeat a system fueled by hate? 

Listen in on my conversation with Sally Kohn, author of “The Opposite of Hate” on what she’s learned from her own missteps as a former school bully and, paradoxically, as a well-meaning liberal, breaking the cycle of hate, and cultivating compassion for her perceived enemies.
 

 Photo by Paul Takeuchi

Photo by Paul Takeuchi

"I am powerful by just living" - Sarah McBride, author of "Tomorrow Will Be Different"

In 2016, Sarah McBride made history--and a childhood dream come true when she stood on the stage at the the Democratic National Convention as the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention. As of 2018, more than half of LGBTQ people live in states that don’t protect them from discrimination or are even actively hostile towards them. Some states have enacted laws that allow businesses, healthcare providers and government officials to actually deny services to LGBTQ people.

In the most challenging moments--the 2016 election results, everyday sexism and misogyny and the death of her young husband-- even then she fights to update our laws to protect and include LGBTQ people.

Sarah is now the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. And she’s the author of the new book, “Tomorrow Will Be Different. Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality.”

RESOURCES referred to on this episode:

Human Rights Campaign

Transgender Law Center

 Sarah McBride (photo by B Proud)

Sarah McBride (photo by B Proud)

Will Girls Ever Feel Like They’re Enough As They Are? Rachel Simmons, Co-Founder of Girls Leadership

For many girls today, the relentless pursuit of accomplishment is fueled by harsh self-criticism and an acute fear of failure. Rachel Simmons has been researching young women for two decades, and her research plainly shows that girl competence does not equal girl confidence—nor does it equal happiness, resilience, or self-worth. As an educator and the author of Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives, Rachel teaches girls and women skills to build their resilience, amplify their voices, and own their courage so that they—and their relationships—live with integrity and health.

Want to read more about Rachel? Check out my piece in Salon and on Medium.

 Rachel Simmons (Credit: Phoebe Jones)

Rachel Simmons (Credit: Phoebe Jones)

Why Rosie the Riveter is "not my icon" - Betty Reid Soskin, National Park Service

For the past decade, 96-year-old Betty Reid Soskin has served as the nation’s oldest Park Ranger, where she gives talks at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park. But the triumphant story of the now ubiquitous feminist icon, Rosie the Riveter, is not Betty’s story. While Rosie was breaking barriers for twentieth century white women in the workforce, Black women like Betty and her slave ancestors had been serving as laborers for centuries. In our live talk at INFORUM at the Commonwealth Club, Betty offers a clear-eyed perspective on the untold stories of the American narrative and the ever-rising spiral our country is making toward equality.

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My Privilege Wake Up Call With Ijeoma Oluo, Author of So You Want To Talk About Race

An awkward conversation with her white mother about “good white people” inspired Ijeoma Oluo to take on the unenviable task of writing one of the most user-friendly books on race of our time: So You Want To Talk About Race. In plain language, Ijeoma has confronted deeply uncomfortable questions surrounding racial injustice from the school-to-prison pipeline to the Black Lives Matter movement to white feminism and intersectionality.

In our conversation, Ijeoma helps me to understand the insidious nature of white supremacy in our world. She also wakes me up to the fact that solidarity between all women cannot happen until white cis women hold themselves accountable to the ways they have benefitted from systems of oppression. Most importantly, Ijeoma offers practical, everyday actions that you can do today to help dismantle the system of racism.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Implicit Bias Test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/index.jsp 
Take this test to see how unconscious bias may be influencing how you interact with the world. When you see where your biases lie, you can begin the work of examining where they come from and how to overcome them.

Meet Your DA: https://meetyourda.org/
District Attorneys have the power to determine who gets charges filed against them, the severity of charges, and if the charges get filed at all. These elected officials have the power to send people to prison for life. DAs can funnel people into the prison system, trapping them in the revolving door of mass incarceration. OR they can give them a 2nd chance. They’re supposed to represent our voice but often their actions don’t represent what they believe. Get to know who your district attorney is and how they’re carrying out the wishes of your community. And if they’re actions reflect the wishes of for-profit prisons over those of your community, get in touch. This website will tell you how.

P.S. Want to connect with other everyday activists who seek to make extraordinary change? Come join The Inflection Point Society, our new Facebook Group, and take part in daily conversations about rising up together.

 Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo

How Girls Are Changing The World - Paola Gianturco and Alex Sangster

When we work so hard to preserve what we see as the innocence of childhood, are we actually holding our kids back from the courageous work they can be doing in this world? Twelve-year-old Alex Sangster and her grandmother, accomplished photojournalist Paola Gianturco partnered to interview and photograph over 102 girls aged 10 through 18 who aren’t waiting for a new day to begin their activism: they are rolling up their sleeves and ushering in that new day right now. 

Listen to my conversation with Paola Gianturco and Alex Sangster, co-authors of Wonder Girls: Changing Our World, about what it looks like when we let girls lead. 
 

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