Tim Kaine, Krystal Ball, and the Mellody Hobson Challenge: We Need #GenderAvengers

“There’s not one woman sitting here. I mean, wow, really?” —Senator Tim Kaine

Last week, Senator Tim Kaine surveyed the room at the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission panel and arrived at a familiar conclusion: Not a single woman was represented. And like a GenderAvenger, he didn’t let it slide. He shone a light on this ongoing problem:

“We always have panels that look just like this…I just want to see some women at the table.”

So do we. We just launched our first fundraiser, the Mellody Hobson Challenge, to help us spread the GenderAvenger message. This month only, your donation makes triple the impact because every dollar you donate in February will be matched with three dollars.

Interest and participation in genderavenger.com has grown steadily since the website was launched last March. It's not just Senate panels — there are conferences, lists and more that continue to "look just like this"— all men, or a shockingly low percentage of women. The need to ensure that women are always part of the public dialog is great, and people like you want to make it happen.

And you’re not alone. Last month, a Washington Post article calling out the stunning inequality at Middle East policy debates highlighted the need for GenderAvenger, saying:

Already, events and institutions that fail to demonstrate gender inclusivity are earning public censure through Web sites like genderavenger.com. Increasingly, those who demonstrate disregard for the goal of events that reflect the real diversity of our field’s leading voices will be seen as embarrassing outliers. The more well-established gender balance becomes as a norm, the more all-male panels will demand an explanation, and an apology.

Together, we can make gender balance the norm. At GenderAvenger, we know that the tools we’ve developed can create change. On a recent episode of MSNBC’s Krystal Clear, Krystal Ball gave GenderAvenger kudos, and highlighted how easy it is to use our GA Tally app. The app allows you to follow TIm Kaine's example and bring these unequal panels and lists to light.

“It’s so simple. You see the panel, you go online, you make the infographic, you send it out into the world and that way you’re shining a light,” says Krystal Ball.
In 2014, Mellody Hobson gave one of the most viewed and lauded TED Talks where she said “The first step to solving any problem is to not hide from it. The first step to any form of action is awareness.” That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re ready to spread the GenderAvenger app, to broaden our reach, to publicize these moments, and to create change. We can’t let another conference or panel pretend that women don’t exist. We won’t be sidelined.

We’ve joined forces with the brilliant Mellody Hobson (seriously, if you haven’t already, watch her TED Talk) to launch our very first fundraiser so that we can spread the #GenderAvenger message far and wide. The Mellody Hobson Challenge means that every dollar you give will be matched with $3 up to a total of $25,000.

That’s right: Every dollar you donate will be tripled. Your donation right now will make a huge impact. And there are even more incentives to give, including Meredith Stern’s Everyone Needs Feminism poster and a GenderAvenger Founder t-shirt.  

The Mellody Hobson Challenge ends on March 1st. We can’t do this without you. We know that the moment is now. We’ve got the tools, we’ve got the momentum, but we need your help. Please give today.