Strong women supporting other strong women seems to be the theme of 2019. It’s incredibly inspiring to see so many women overcoming all of the obstacles perpetuated by society to find success. These four women did just that (and should inspire every one of us)!
- Cindy Eckert
Cinder Eckert is the founder of Sprout Pharmaceuticals, a company that created the first medication for female sexual desire. Her drug ADDYI, dubbed female Viagra, was made with the purpose of helping women who feel a lack of confidence in themselves and their relationships due to low sex drive. After years of perfecting the drug through trials and studies on more than 11,000 women, the FDA ultimately rejected her application for approval because, Eckert suspects, they may not have felt it was a condition worth treating. She decided to make the bold move of disputing the FDA and recruited women suffering from this condition to speak in front of the administration. After listening to stories from real women with the condition, the FDA reversed its initial decision and approved the drug. Eckert eventually sold Sprout Pharmaceuticals for over $1 billion and has now launched The Pink Ceiling, an investment team working to support other female entrepreneurs. Her fierce determination and dedication to the issue of women’s health in the pharmaceutical industry should be an inspiration to us all. Fight against the system when it’s necessary, support other women doing the same, and look damn good while doing it!
- Nadya Okamoto
At the age of 16, Nadya Okamoto was introduced to the concept of “period poverty” by talking to women at local homeless shelters. They told her that in addition to not being able to afford food, shelter, clothing etc., they didn’t even have access to sanitary products for their periods. Inspired by this injustice, Okamoto founded her own global non-profit organization named Period: The Menstrual Movement while she was still in high school. The organization works to donate sanitary products to those who cannot afford them, as well as to end the stigma and inequalities surrounding menstruation. Okamoto is the executive director of the organization, which is currently one of the fastest growing nonprofits in the United States, run entirely by youth. Approximately 850,000 products have been donated and the company has over 600 chapters on school campuses throughout the country. In addition to building upon these numbers, the organization is working toward providing free period products in schools, shelters, and prisons, and eliminating the sales tax currently on pads and tampons. Okamoto is proof to us all that youth does not equate to lack of power. As long as you have passion anything is possible.
- Emily Weiss
We have all thought of starting a lifestyle/beauty blog at some point, but few of us have actually followed through. Emily Weiss however, not only created a successful blog, Into the Gloss, but used it as a springboard to start her own makeup company, Glossier, now valued at $1.2 billion. Weiss had an art degree from NYU and experience interning at multiple highly acclaimed fashion companies (Vogue, Ralph Lauren etc.) when building this company, but very little knowledge regarding business. With no business degree or direct field experience she was turned down by every investment firm she approached for startup money, except one. Weiss worked tirelessly to market the brand and establish a social media presence with this funding, ultimately making Glossier a hit with millenials (we all want Glossier products if we’re being honest). She still uses her original blog to gain insight into exactly what the consumer wants from the company, an unorthodox method that not many businesses utilize. Weiss proves that no matter what your major or background, you can be successful in any field as long as you have the drive. Study what you’re interested in, you can always change your career path.
- Melinda Gates
We all know Melinda Gates is successful, but it’s what she’s doing with that success that makes her stand out. Completely appalled by the lack of women in positions of power in the United States, Gates recently pledged $1 billion to expand female leadership and influence. There has never been much funding for gender equality, making this commitment incredibly powerful. With this money she hopes to help women overcome roadblocks to professional growth (stereotypes, sexual assault, responsibilities at home etc.), get women involved in fields dominated by men (STEM, politics etc.), and inspire society to put pressure on companies failing to provide women with equal opportunities. She believes that these efforts will help more women achieve positions of power. This will not only change society’s dynamic regarding women’s rights, but Gates believes that female leaders are essential to the world, offering a necessary perspective in today’s day and age. This dedication to supporting other women, among her own personal success, is what we all need to strive for. Prosperity should never get in the way of continuing to uplift those who need support, or trying to make the world a better place.
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