The New Thor is a Chic!

Marvel has introduced the newest Asgardian badass enough to wield Mjölnir, Thor’s mighty hammer. And it’s a girl!Thor is a woman

The newest “Thor” comic series coming in October will feature a female hero as the next one worthy of the name Thor for the first time ever. Not Thora, not Thorina – just Thor. As Marvel said in their announcement,

“No longer is the classic male hero able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, a brand new female hero will emerge who will be worthy of the name Thor.”

Marvel editor Wil Moss goes on to say,

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription. The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy.”

Here here! I agree it’s about time we got to see how a woman could rock this super role!

Marvel has been doing some fantastic things lately with strong female characters, so this is another excellent – and very welcome – step in that direction.

Thor has become a Tough Cookie!

Source: Variety

The Navy’s First Female 4-Star Admiral

Admiral Michelle HowardLet me tell you about Michelle Howard.
Man is she one Tough Cookie!

Last month, she became the US Navy’s first ever woman to be promoted to four-star admiral, not to mention Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second highest position in the Navy.

But Michelle was already making waves and setting records before this latest promotion. In 1999, she became the first African American woman to command a Naval ship, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore. She was also the first African American woman in any branch of the military to reach three stars.

And remember that little film with Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips? Yeah, that was based on a true story. And Michelle Howard here was the commander of that very Counter-Piracy Taskforce and spearheaded the rescue of Captain Phillips from Somali pirates… three days into taking the job!

So it goes without saying that Michelle is a huge advocate for diversity and progress. And she’s become a living expert on how to engender creativity and innovation from within a large, two-century old organization. As she told Forbes in an interview,

It’s the willingness to commit to look hard at yourself and commit to a new way of doing business. There’s great ideas out there–it’s having the courage to go ask people about what they’re doing that’s different, and saying, ‘I wonder how I could apply that to my organization.’”

So how about you? Do you have the courage to step up and make a difference, and help give a voice to others who are doing something different and innovative?

Because that’s what makes you a truly Tough Cookie, just like Michelle Howard.

Source: Forbes

GoldieBlox Builds Girls Into Engineers

If you haven’t heard of GoldieBlox, you need to – especially if you have daughters that you want to help teach about the wonders and awesomeness of engineering and math; daughters you want to see learn to embrace their inner geek and be empowered to do whatever they set their minds to.

That’s what GoldieBlox is all about!

GoldieBlox girls

According to the folks at GoldieBlox, part of the problem for why we have so few women engineers is because from a young age, girls aren’t given toys that encourage those skills or ideas. Instead, girls are given barbies and dolls and play-dress-up.

GoldieBlox % female engineersBut what if you gave young girls a toy that taught them how to use their minds to build amazing things? What if we could start them young learning to develop spatial skills and engineer something of their own invention?

Only 13% of total engineers worldwide are women. Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women.

Let’s change that!

Let’s do like GoldieBlox and believe in girls who want to learn these skills. Let’s give them the choice to be more than society has taught them to be. Let’s put the future in their hands.

I mean, think about it. If more little girls could learn to build something like this, imagine how cool that would be for the whole world!

Now those are some little Tough Cookies!

Source: UpWorthy

A First Look At The New Wonder Woman

In case you missed out on the San Diego Comic Con this year, which just wrapped up one week ago today, here’s one of the sneak peeks you would have seen unveiled there.

It’s Wonder Woman!

No I’m serious. This isn’t a joke. I know there have been a lot of rumors and pilots and attempts to put the Wonder Woman character on the big screen. And all have failed… until now.

Or at least we hope this one will stick.

It’s Director Zack Snyder’s next project with Warner Bros. and DC Comics for the coming “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” movie starring Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill returning as Superman. And they’ve decided to throw a little feminine energy into the mix.

About damn time!

So they’ve cast Gal Gadot, the exotic beauty who kicked ass in the Fast & Furious franchise, as Wonder Woman. She got up on stage in the massive Hall H at San Diego’s Comic Con, donned in full Wonder Woman duds, and showed the gawking fans what her character is going to look like. They weren’t allowed to ask questions, but merely watch as Gadot, Affleck and Cavill stood side-by-side on that stage and were introduced as Snyder’s #DCTrinity.

Zack Snyder tweets his CC #DCTrinity

What’s more, it’s also been announced that Gadot has signed a 3-picture deal, including the also announced “Justice League of America” film, and her very own standalone “Wonder Woman” movie, something no one has managed to pull off since the 1975-79 television series starring Lynda Carter.

In 2011, they came close to another television series, releasing a pilot starring Adrianne Palicki. But it never got picked up. And a bummer too, because it wasn’t half bad. Give it a watch and see for yourself.

Wonder Woman 2011 pilot (unaired)

Now there’s a Tough Cookie!

We’ll just have to see how Gal Gadot measures up. I’m not 100% confident, but I’ll admit there could have been much worse choices. I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, and wait to see how she does.

But she certainly has some big shoes to fill. There’s a reason it’s taken this long to get a Wonder Woman character off the ground. It’s a role that comes with a lot of pre-conceived notions and high expectations. So Gadot definitely has her work cut out for her.

I know I personally have been in love with Wonder Woman since my childhood, and have dreamt of the day that a truly amazing actress and film could bring her to life on the big screen.

So keeping our fingers crossed that this one is it.

In the meantime Tough Cookies, let’s take a page out of Wonder Woman’s book (or movie script) and bring her character to life in each of us. Fight for your rights, lasso in the truth, and strive to be strong in all you do!

Be creative. Be adventurous. Be original.

Great Hera!

Google Puts $50M Towards Girls In Code

GoogleGoogle is at it again!

My friends make fun of me for being too big of a Google-ite. I love everything Google does. I think they are an amazing company that excellently balances being a massive corporation and an open-minded innovative company that is doing some real good in the world. I use all Google and Android products, and while I always see areas of improvement for them, I feel that overall Google does an amazing job keeping their priorities straight and progress moving forward.

Now one of the areas I admire Google for is their efforts to promote science, engineering and tech education among youth. They already have a program called CS4HS (Computer Science 4 High School). And since 2010, they have also been pouring $40 million into the Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, the NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) and programs.

Made With CodeNow Google is adding one more.

Over the next three years, Google is rolling out $50 million for a new program called Made with Code, which aims to encourage more young girls to get into programming and tech by learning how to code.

Because “things you love are Made with Code”, according to the program’s motto.

The program will highlight influential women in the computer science industry, and reward girls who are getting started, providing them with lots of resources, community programs, and coding events. The girls in the program will work on one of a few available projects, depending on their skill and interest – everything from creating a meme, to 3D printing a bracelet, to sequencing music sounds, to building a website or mobile app.

Pretty cool huh? Learning to be a Tough Cookie should start at a young age, when the brain is more impressionable, and values are imprinted that can last into your adult life. So you go Google – go inspire some more Tough Cookies in our youth! I for one think what you are doing is awesome, and much needed.

Here’s to Tough Cookies, at every age!

Source: Tech Times

Happy Malala Day!

Wanna hear a pretty crazy awesome story?Malala Yousafzai

So there’s this teenage girl named Malala Yousafzai. She lives in Pakistan. And she wants to go to school so she can learn. But in her country, that’s not something girls are really allowed to do. In fact, the Taliban culture there operates on the belief that it’s unnecessary, distracting, and even dangerous in some eyes to educate a woman.

But Malala was special. She was determined. And she was raised by a father who was an educational activist, and ran a chain of schools known as the Khushal Public School. And so it was that she began to dream of having more. She dreamt of going to school herself.

As early at 2008, when she was only 11 years old, Malala began speaking up about education rights, when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club.

“How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”

She started writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her experiences and struggles under Taliban rule. And people started to listen. She was asked to interviews and television appearances. She was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.

Then on Tuesday, 9 October 2012, while Malala was on her way to school in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat, a man got on her school bus, asked for her by name, and then fired 3 shots at her. One of the bullets struck through the left side of her face and lodged into her shoulder near her spinal cord.

She was in a coma in critical condition with a 70% chance of survival. She underwent brain surgery, and was moved from hospital to hospital. Until she finally emerged from her coma a week later, miraculously without any brain damage.

The assassination attempt was received with worldwide media coverage and responses of sympathy and anger. People protested, sent donations and wrote articles defending her. Malala and her father refused to leave their country, but rather were determined to stay and fight for their rights. Malala was featured as as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World“. And she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.

But perhaps the most significant development that rose out of this horrid experience was the hope it inspired. United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown visited Malala when she was in the hospital, and decided to launch a UN petition in her name, using the slogan “I am Malala”. The petition demanded that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015, and ultimately lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.

On Saturday, July 12th, Malala turned 17 and finished another year of school. Now today, on July 14th, we celebrate Malala Day in honor of her struggles, her fight for survival, and the fight for women all over the world to have a right to education.

Even their bullets couldn’t silence her. And nothing can silence us Tough Cookies! Malala is one of us, a Tough Cookie, and her fight is our fight. So this day serves as a reminder for us all.

Happy Malala Day my fellow Tough Cookies, and remember to never give up!

Source: Marie Forleo

Ladies, Ellevate Yourselves!

Sallie KrawcheckMeet Sallie Krawcheck – one of “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”, multiple times over. Her stellar resume includes posts like CEO of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., CEO of Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit, CFO of Citigroup Inc, and President of the global wealth & investment management division at Bank of America. But after over 20 years on Wall Street, Krawcheck needed something new and more fulfilling.

So she hopped over to professional women’s networking organization 85 Broads in 2011 and took up the reins there, growing its revenue by 100% in her first year. Then last month, the indomitable Krawcheck decided to relaunch and rebrand 85 Broads to become Ellevate. The organization has 34,000 members and counting, and has also begun some new initiatives to keep the power growing.

Besides this rebranding, Sallie Krawcheck is also partnering with Pax World Management to create the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (PXWEX) — an index fund that focuses on investing in companies who have women in board seats or senior management positions. As the Fund puts it themselves,

“This Fund is the first of its kind – and is the only mutual fund in the United States that focuses on investing in the highest-rated companies in the world in advancing women’s leadership.”

How awesome is it that this Tough Cookie Krawcheck is out there promoting that very fact, and showing the world what we women can do?

Let’s take a page out of her book and start investing in the future of our fellow womenkind. Let’s step up and believe in our own abilities to lead and direct and chief executive officiate.

Let’s be Tough Cookies too!

Source: DailyWorth

How Bitcoin Empowers Afghan Women

So I’ve talked briefly before about how amazing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general are. But I haven’t really explained enough about why, or how much they can really change the world.

You see, Bitcoin has enormous potential to revolutionize everything about how we save and exchange value, and really, how we live and thrive as human beings. This is particularly true for people in the developing world, who struggle with rights as basic as earning a living and being able to keep what they earn.

In Afghanistan, this is especially difficult for women, where social and economic barriers prohibit women from gaining an education and earning their own income. Even if they do manage to earn any money, it’s in cash, which can be incredibly dangerous for women to carry on them as they walk home. And then once they get home, the family often takes most of what they earned, and the women have no way of making sure they get to keep it for themselves.

Womens Annex Foundation classroomThat is, until now – until Bitcoin and a company called the Women’s Annex Foundation (WAF). This revolutionary non-profit organization offers computer labs for women to share their skills and knowledge around blog writing, software development, video production and social media, and earn Bitcoin in return for their work, along with free Web access in a safe place, and a chance to further their education with each other. As co-founder Fereshteh Forough says,

“We want to teach the girls how they can use education combining the tools that they have – social media and technology – and create their own sustainable economy.”

In Afghanistan, WAF has over 2,000 users who are paid in Bitcoin. And the beauty with Bitcoin is that there is no bank or central authority the girls need to deposit it into in order to keep it safe and have access to the funds. The user holds all the ownership themselves, and doesn’t need any third party approval or anyone else to set up a Bitcoin wallet. Before these women would have had to open a bank account, requiring extensive documentation and often legal guardian approval as well, making it all too easy for others to control the funds in their accounts.

But now with Bitcoin, these women can keep total, totally secret control of the money they earn at WAF. They get paid almost instantly to their Bitcoin wallets, with lower fees than with a bank account, and with more control and privacy. As Matthew Kenahan, an active member of the Bitcoin community and big supporter of WAF adds,

“If the WAF can provide a platform in which women can have their own income – a platform which pays out in bitcoin, a truly pseudonymous protocol which can truly conceal the identity, I think that we have the potential to really shake things up.”

Bitcoin is immensely empowering for these women. And WAF is helping that empowerment take a big step in the right direction. But there is still so much further to go, and so much more than can be achieved. Fereshteh Forough has a vision of what this could look like, and how Bitcoin can continue to drive this change.Womens Annex Foundation computer lab

“It’s the concept of digital citizenship, or communication without borders, and that’s how technology empowers people. I always wanted to have this for women in Afghanistan – to be powered using education and technology.”

Bitcoin means independence and empowerment for these women – the ability to earn and own their own education and income. And that is truly a remarkable thing. It’s a lot of responsibility and self-reliance. But for many of these women, that’s something they’ve been starved for and longing to have. We here in the developed world may not understand quite as acutely how hard it can be to not have these basic human rights. But for these women in Afghanistan, it’s been a long time coming. And now, with today’s incredible advances in technology and digital currency, it’s within their grasp.

After all, WAF’s motto is “No politics, just Internet”.

Source: CoinDesk

A Champion for Women Directors

The 67th Cannes Film Festival wrapped up at the end of last month with another round of slightly disappointing results from a gender equality perspective. This time, only two female-directed films competed against 16 male-directed films for the ultimate Palme d’Or prize, which did end up going to a man.

That said, the second prize Grand Prix award did go to a woman, 33-year-old Italian writer/director Alice Rohrwacher, for her second film Le Meraviglie (The Wonders.) That’s hopeful!

Jane Campion at CannesWhat’s more, the festival’s grand jury was actually led by a woman this year – the highly acclaimed Jane Campion, who is the only women in Cannes history to be awarded the Palme d’Or (though in full disclosure she shared it with another male director).

Because of this achievement, plus a previous nomination for a Best Direction Academy Award, Campion has become a natural champion (see what I did there?) for addressing the lack of opportunities for women directors. And though not sure it should be her, Campion heartily agrees with the need for an Abraham Lincoln-like representative to take on the issue.

And Campion is already in prime position to do just that, having made films like The Piano that have inspired other directors (male and female) to “write roles for women — beautiful women with soul and will and strength, not victims, not objects” (said one of this year’s male jury prize winners). She’s also not afraid to speak her mind on this subject, using the Cannes festival’s opening press conference to call out the “inherent sexism” in the business, saying

“Time and time again we don’t get our share of representation. Excuse me gentlemen, but the guys seem to eat all the cake.”

Well we’re behind you Campion, our champion Tough Cookie! Keep leading the way, and here’s hoping more of the industry will follow.

Source: Forbes

Men Can Be Tough Cookies Too

Ladies, I cannot stress this enough. Men are not the enemy. Men are not the problem. It is far far more complicated, and yet far simpler, than that. Being a true feminist is NOT about hating men, as so many have claimed. Because the test of true confidence is not in who you can blame, or who you can make smaller to make yourself seem bigger – it’s about believing in and loving yourself for who you are, regardless of what is around you. True confidence, true strength, comes from the inside – not from the outside.

And men struggle with this too. I would venture it’s even harder in some ways for men to embrace both the strong and the soft in themselves, as being a Tough Cookie entails.

Now I’m not saying that Tough Cookie’s message will be shifting more towards men, merely that we can all work together to become stronger, sweeter, happier people – regardless of gender. Besides, there’s already a group focused on these struggles for men. They’re called A Voice For Men, and they’re putting on the first International Conference on Men’s Issues later this month, on June 27-28.

A Voice For Men Conference

The unfortunate thing is that not everyone agrees men should get to voice their struggles and strive for these same Tough Cookie ideals. In response to their conference plans, A Voice For Men has been receiving death threats from women claiming to be “feminists.” This prompted them to write a message to all the feminists out there, hoping to find ones that aren’t like that, but rather embrace the idea that being pro-women doesn’t mean being anti-men.

I heartily agree in this mentality, and am ashamed to think of women who would threaten the rights of men, when we have known how much struggle it was to secure rights ourselves. Our history and struggles should have taught us to be compassionate not combative.

Thankfully, many women (and men) out there are of the same mind as me, and of the A Voice For Men folks. So we just need to make sure our voices are heard, and others follow by example, so we can all live together in harmony with equal rights and equal respect for Tough Cookies of all shapes, sizes and genders!

Source: A Voice For Men