Feminist Author & TV Producer Amy Richards Profiles Trailblazing Women In ‘We Are Makers’ Book

Inspired by the women of PBS’s MAKERS series, ‘We Are Makers’ by Amy Richards introduces young readers to the trailblazing women who have impacted the world they live in today. This collection of rich interviews, fascinating biographies, and fun facts about 40+ women pioneers in their respective fields – including names such as Gloria Steinem, Mae Jemison, and Serena Williams – will be sure to inspire the next generation of girls to strive for greatness.

Behind every successful woman is the fascinating story of how she got to the top. In ‘We Are Makers’, readers will get to know these women’s hopes, dreams, challenges, and accomplishments in chapters filled with personal stories, historical information, inspiring quotes, and much more. They will learn about the women’s movement and its impact today, and about common experiences each of these women share. Most importantly, they’ll be inspired to follow their dreams and become MAKERS themselves!

The MAKERS brand, which began as a documentary film created by Dyllan McGee in 2013, has quickly grown over the last six years from a series of films to a major media brand built to accelerate the women’s movement through stories of real-life experiences that ignite passion and action. MAKERS highlights women’s voices through videos, interviews, and an inspiring annual conference that brings together the most powerful names in business, entertainment, tech, and finance.

With the publication of ‘We Are Makers’, the spirit and informative nature of the MAKERS brand will be presented in book form for the very first time. The book’s engaging content combined with its easy to read format and thematically designed chapters make it the perfect book to share with burgeoning young feminists.  

Author Amy Richards is an advisor for MAKERS, a producer of Viceland’s ‘Woman’, and a co-author of ‘Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future’. A co-founder of the Third Wave, she is also the president of Soapbox Inc., which manages dozens of thought leaders and hosts the popular Feminist Camps. We spoke with her about her new book, working in the feminist media space, and the importance of amplifying the voices of women in media and pop culture.

How did the initial idea for We Are Makers come about? 

After the PBS Documentary aired, many educators loved it, but said “we need a book version.” To do this project justice, it would be dozens of books. Though the idea had been bantered about, how to present it remained a big question. We decided to offer a sampling of many makers organized around aspirational themes. 

We’re living in a zeitgeist moment when culture at large is finally starting to demand and see more stories of powerful women in entertainment and media. Why do think female stories are important right now? 

As my great friend Gloria Steinem has said: there is history and there is the past, and they aren’t the same thing. Women have always been a bigger part of the past, though not always adequately had that reflected in history. The moment we are living in today is trying to rectify that. What makes now particularly unique is that people are more willing to hear the stories. They have always been out there, but we haven’t always valued them enough to listen. 

How did you decide which women to include in your book, and how did you do the research into each woman’s story?

As with MAKERS.com – the goal with the book was always to include some combination of well-known women with lesser known women. What has always been true at MAKERS is that people arrive because of someone they know and then go on to learn about someone they don’t know. I wanted the book to follow that precedent. You come to learn about Oprah and then also learn about Kathrine Switzer. Each woman deserves their own book, but we struck a nice balance between well-known facts and lesser known stories. Also the stories that do well on video aren’t always the same stories that do well in the written form. 

Who are your favorite women in the book, and why?  

Everyone is a favorite for some reason! I learned the most from Ruth Simmons, who came from nothing, navigated discrimination and was able to triump with dignity and grace. Likewise, Kathrine Switzer’s story of being the first woman to run the marathon is a great feminist moment: she keeps running because otherwise she fears they wouldn’t think a woman could do it; she didn’t enlist with radical intentions, but just set out to do something she loved, and best of all – she finished in 4:20 minutes in 1967 – 50 years later women gained 2 hours to finish at 2:20 – whereas men only gained 3 minutes between 1967 and 2017

You are also an advisor for the PBS ‘Makers’ series, which profiles heroic and powerful women in video interviews, and a producer of the badass VICELAND series ‘Woman’. Do you believe Hollywood is becoming more welcoming to female-centric projects or is it still a struggle to get these funded/greenlit etc?

Women’s voices are gaining prominence, but I fear that some of that is because to do otherwise would just be too archaic. There is more room for women to step into powerful positions but women have to believe they are worthy of it. 

As the president of Soapbox Inc, a feminist lecture agency, how do you create space for more feminist narratives in media and culture? 

I am constantly trying to elevate women’s voices—and specifically not-white women’s voices. 

Why is it important for today’s younger generation of feminists to become familiar with the women’s movement pioneers who paved the way? 

Much of what feminists are advocating isn’t a new path, but just a re-emergence of an older one. Knowing that equality was once more likely is a great motivation for making to happen again. 

What do you hope readers will take away from reading ‘We Are Makers’ and be inspired to do? 

I hope readers learn something they otherwise didn’t know and then share that person with others and more so use that example as a lens to start asking in little ways – where are the women?

What makes you a powerful woman?   

I use my connections wisely and help make others realize their potential. 

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