FEMINIST FRIDAY: Docu Feat. Female Tech Entrepreneurs & ‘The Breadwinner’ Animated Film

Welcome to another Feminist Friday, our weekly column where we share a handful of our fave videos that we can’t get enough of right now! This week is all about female empowerment being showcased in a number of different forms. We have the launch video for a new beauty brand that is starting out with a message that empowers women about their individual beauty and a documentary that showcases the careers of 5 female tech entrepreneurs.

First up is the trailer to a new animated film called ‘The Breadwinner’, based on the book with the same title from Canadian author Deborah Ellis. The story follows central character Parvana, a young girl living in Afghanistan under the period where the Taliban ruled. Parvana’s father is an out-of-work teacher who resorts to selling wares on the street to make ends meet for his family. He ends up getting arrested and thrown in jail for this, leaving the family without a steady income.

Due to the Taliban rule against women appearing in public without a male guardian, Parvana disguises herself as a boy so she can become the breadwinner for her family. While on the streets selling wares, Parvana meets another young girl doing the same as her in order to provide for her family. The brave young girl battles the constant fear of being discovered to be female with the threat of an encroaching war in Kabul as well as the new of her sister being forced into an arranged marriage by her mother.

The film was directed by Nora Twomey, written by Anita Doron and produced by Angelina Jolie. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the director talks about the Academy Award-winning actress, director and humanitarian joining the project.

“She came on at an early stage and from that time on really helped look through every animatic and just helped give guidance on it. Very much having a connection with Afghanistan herself, she supports girls schools in Afghanistan and has done for over a decade, she was able to help us focus. It was a fine line in terms of the sensitivity of the film,” she said.

The second video comes from beauty brand Julep, founded by Julie Park in 2006 and which has been featured on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list. They have made a video for their first major campaign, which essentially sends the message that beauty standards and pressures on women are made to be smashed and dismantled. The campaign, called ‘Throw Anything At Me’ includes the video as well as a fun video game where users can also partake in smashing through beauty standards.

The company partnered with Joan Creative to produce the video, which has a very fun, lighthearted vibe to it.

“Female empowerment ads have become kind of a cliché. I mean, when was the last time someone made you feel strong AND made you laugh? We wanted this to be fun for a change–and between the film and the video game, it’s loaded with in-jokes,” Jaime Robinson, COO of Joan Creative told AdWeek.

Julie Park said she was excited at the thought of so many new potential customers being introduced to the brand through this campaign, and wanted to send a powerful, inspirational message.

“I want women to feel proud of all the things they tackle each day, to use makeup as a personal confidence-booster to tackle anything thrown their way–to put their best face forward…Beauty should be a fun and fearless experience for every woman, another tool in her arsenal to help her unleash her inner confidence so she can tackle anything thrown her way–and feel great doing it,” she said.

The final video is a trailer to the ‘She Started It’ documentary, directed and produced by Nora Poggi, which follows the lives and careers of 5 female tech entrepreneurs shot on location in Silicon Valley, NYC, Europe, Vietnam, Mississippi & more. The film followed the women over two years as they pitch VCs, build teams, bring products to market, fail and start again. Along the way, it weaves in big-picture perspectives from women like investor Joanne Wilson; White House CTO Megan Smith; GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling; and Ruchi Sanghvi, the first female engineer at Facebook.

explores the cultural roots of female underrepresentation in entrepreneurship—including pervasive self-doubt, fear of failure, and risk aversion among young women. It exposes, too, the structural realities women face as they become entrepreneurs, including lack of female role models and investors, and the persistent dearth of venture capital funding made available to women-led companies.

According to a stat shown in the film, only 3% of VC-funded tech startups are created by women. This disparity is frustrating indeed, especially here in the US where women literally are the future of entrepreneurship. Figures show Latina-owned small businesses are the fastest growing business segment in the United States, and black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. If these populations are growing without the majority of VC money going their way, imagine what would happen if more financial investment went toward women, especially women of color.

The five women featured in ‘She Started It’ are Vietnamese immigrant Thuy Truong, 28, founder of GreenGar, Stacey Ferreira, 21, founder of MySocialCloud, Sheena Allen, 25, founder of Sheena Allen Apps, Brienne Ghafourifar, 18, founder Entefy Inc., and Agathe Molinar, 28, French entrepreneur and founder of LemonCurve.com. Watch the trailer below:


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