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Photo by Ilya, Stocksy


Power. Award winning sci-fi writer and feminist Octavia Butler wrote, “God is change” and that our power as “Earthseed” is not to worship or prevent change, but to shape it.

This month on LiisBeth magazine, we offer five new features that we hope will encourage you to reflect on how you attend, yield, resist and work to influence the force of change–which lately, is coming at us like a freight train.

Our stories highlight instruments in the changemaker’s toolkit: Protestinglearning, the power of changing our perceptions and personal transformation.

We know nothing is permanent. People, groups, governments all around you–some whose vision you may deeply disagree with–are working to shape change that affects your life, community and our planet. Don’t sit back. Work to help create the kind of world you hope for.

FEBURARY STORY POLL & QUICKIE READER SURVEY: Do you read or follow LiisBeth? Our hard-working team would love to hear from you! Please consider helping us improve by completing the five-minute LiisBeth reader survey. Results will be shared in March. Here is the link!


VIA Rail status update February 21, 2020 at Union Station, Toronto, Ontario.
Photo by Lana Pesch


The status quo can be no more: The clear and compelling links between Environmental Rights, Indigenous Rights and Women’s Rights. A perspective from the mining industry by Sabrina Dias.

Decolonize Your Mind Exhibit. Photo: Radio 2016


When you hear the word “decolonization” what comes to mind? Land acknowledgements, the KAIROS “Blanket Exercise” or the Medicine Wheel? Learning Indigenous traditions and the history of colonization? The act of offering the lands that were taken from Indigenous people back to their rightful owners. Now there’s a workshop on the topic that will provoke months of contemplation on how to see the world anew.

Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash


Lack of diversity in media is bad for democracy, business, and justice. And readers. But what’s the solution?


Looking for help? Funding? Business Advice? Check out the Canadian women’s entrepreneurship support ecosystem (mostly national and provincial level players) by downloading this info graphic here.


Love Locks…at The Distillery District..Photo by: @ptx4ever


We think about our enterprises a lot. We compare our progress to other enterprises and their founders. Nancy Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, recently wrote a wonderful piece about “business envy“.

But what if we stopped comparing our businesses to other businesses? Change the locus of our perception?

This week, I asked myself if I was in right relationship (authentic, real) with the crucible of entrepreneurship. While evaluating my work as an entrepreneur, I had to first dismantle–and re-build my perceptions. Here are the narratives that work for me. They help me see beauty and growth versus disappointment.

Photo provided by Seema Pubari


We are very pleased to announce that Seema Pubari will be joining the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC) as Feminist in Residence (FiR) during the month of March.

Pubari is an SEO copywriter, storyteller and digital marketing strategist who speaks five languages. She left the corporate world in 2008 to raise her child. She is a South Asian feminist entrepreneur with her own consulting enterprise and the founder of, an independent Canadian food business and certified B-Corp that specializes in delicious and healthy vegan South Asian stews.

Liisbeth recently had a chat with Pubari to get her thoughts on the importance of shaping the next generation of feminists, why we need to outlaw the word ‘mompreneur’, and how her unique business perspectives will inspire participants in the FEC. Check out the full Q&A here.


The feminist movement is immutably unified on purpose–but not always on the the best way to get there.

The movement drives social change but is also shaped by it, which makes it challenging for curbside bystanders to comprehend.

Blaise Wilson of EgaFem investigated and sought to help us understand types and shifts within the feminist movement over the last 100 years. Her work was the outcome of a stakeholder analysis project. Wilson created this chart to help navigate the facets of the feminist movement.

We find it super useful.


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PIAD EP10 Why Do Reps Vote Against The ERA?


We love these! Patriarchy Is A Drag is a new weekly video series that centers around women and women’s issues. It was started in 2020 by Merle Becker, former MTV Producer / Director (Beavis & Butt-Head, Daria, Total Request Live). We asked Merle via email why she was making these videos.

She wrote: “After the election of Donald Trump, and the steady erosion of women’s rights since then, I found myself increasingly involved in political activism and the push for the advancement of women’s rights. So, I created the PIAD weekly video series to help educate people about women’s issues by using humor, and to hopefully inspire others to take action.”

The PIAD Facebook page (and other socials) feature daily quotes from inspirational women, as well as links to other articles that relate to (smashing the) Patriarchy. Worth checking out! As Gloria Steinem stated, “Women of colour were always more likely to recognize discrimination, so they were always leading the women’s movement.” In this vein, PIAD remains committed to intersectionality by including / amplifying the voices of the marginalized, transgender women, and women of colour.

Merle added “As bell hooks reminds us, “As long as women are using class or race power to dominate other women, feminist sisterhood cannot be fully realized.”

You can access the series so far here.

© Photograph: Rochelle Brockington / EyeEm


In a gender-just world, we wouldn’t need to label a single day as International Women’s Day, but until that world exists we join forces and work together.

This year, the International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual. The campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #EachforEqual activity reinforced and amplified all year.

Here is a FULL list of 500+ IWD2020 global events that include talks, panels, conferences, comedy shows and musical performances.

(Source: International Women’s Day)

Details about Toronto’s march is noted below.

Photo Credit: Greenpeace Canada


Museum of Vancouver’s newest feature exhibition Acts of Resistance, showcases the artwork of seven Indigenous artist activists from the Pacific Northwest, whose designs flew from the Iron Workers Memorial bridge on July 3, 2018 to protest the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline project. Swaysən, Will George, a Tsleil-Waututh grassroots leader, not only designed one of the featured banners, but also rappelled from the Second Narrows bridge as part of the seven-person aerial blockade to prevent an oil tanker from leaving terminal.

In this exhibition, Will George will share his firsthand experience as a member of the aerial blockade in a video created in collaboration with multi-media artist Ronnie Dean Harris, whose artwork also flew in the path of tanker traffic.

Acts of Resistance features all seven of the 40-foot-long streamers created for the aerial blockade. Featured artists include: Brandon Gabriel, Will George, Ronnie Dean Harris, Ocean Hyland, Jackie Fawn Mendez, Marissa Nahanee, and Ed Archie Noisecat. Six of the banners have been donated to MOV, while the seventh is on loan from Swaysən, Will George, who continues to use his banner for public outreach. All of the banners underwent several conservation treatments to make them ready for exhibition, as the wrinkles from their time in police custody have proven difficult to remove.

On March 5, there will be a Guest Artist Talk where Coast Salish artists will speak to their individual approaches to protest design, their art practices and the cultural and aesthetic influences that inform their work. This is a rare opportunity to hear from diverse artists within Indigenous communities as they address the challenges and successes of representing their Nations and the politics of sovereignty through individual artistic practices.

(Source: Museum of Vancouver)


If you are a feminist (any gender can be a feminist), and have been wondering how to apply your feminist values in the design and operations of your new venture, this session will provide you with an overview of some of the core themes, tools and conversations happening in the community.

How and why does the FBMC differ from the conventional business modelling approach? Can using this lens help you find new ways to stand out? Grow? Deepen your approach to equity, diversity and inclusion work? Have greater impact? We think it will.

Facilitators: CV Harquail, PK Mutch, Tracey Robertson. To sign up, register here.  $35.00


The International Feminist Art Fest (FAC) is but two weeks away! Here are a few updates on the event!

FAC has partnered with Black Women Film! for their film night on March 6. They have also partnered with Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) to present Jeneen Frei Njootli, an incredible award-winning interdisciplinary artist, as this year’s keynote performance.

LiisBeth is super proud to be a sponsor this year!

Two FREE TIX to the ENTIRE FAC event will go to the first two people to comment on the Art of Change story we published last November. See you there!

Photo of Farzana Doctor by Tanja Tiziana


Farazana Doctor is a writer, activist, psychotherapist and a celebrated and award-winning Canadian author. Liisbeth reached out to Doctor to write a review of Lauren McKeon’s lasted book, No More Nice Girls (House of Anansi, March, 2020), that will be published just in time for IWD2020.

Watch your inbox for the review plus a new playlist in the coming weeks!

Common themes in Doctor’s writing include loss, relationships, community, healing, racism, LGBT rights, diasporic identity and feminism. Her latest book, Seven (Dundurn Press, August 2020), is a story about inheritance and resistance, among other things, and includes a plotline that features a group of feminists who speak out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting.

On her blog, Doctor writes a letter to Seven’s readers with a list of things she would like people to know. The list includes this note: While this is a work of fiction, its characters are based on a real community. Few people have heard of Dawoodi Bohras; we are a fairly insular sub-sect of Shia Muslims. We are known for being polite, entrepreneurial, and cooking the tastiest daal.

Advance praise for Seven: “In her grand tradition, Farzana Doctor once again pushes us forward with nuanced, layered, inter-generational prose, to bring visibility to an important social issue. An urgent and passionate read.”-Vivek Shraya, author of I’m Afraid of Men.


In the age of girl bosses, Beyoncé, and Black Widow, we like to tell our little girls they can be anything they want when they grow up, except they’ll have to work twice as hard, be told to “play nice,” and face countless double standards that curb their personal, political, and economic power. Today, long after the rise of girl power in the 90s, the failed promise of a female president, and the ubiquity of feminist-branded everything, women are still a surprisingly, depressingly long way from gender and racial equality. It’s worth asking: Why do we keep trying to win a game we were never meant to play in the first place?

Award-winning journalist and author Lauren McKeon examines the varied ways in which our institutions are designed to keep women and other marginalized genders at a disadvantage and shows us why we need more than parity, visible diversity, and lone female CEOs to change this power game. She uncovers new models of power — ones the patriarchy doesn’t get to define — by talking to lawyers insisting on gender-neutral change rooms in courthouses, programmers creating apps to track the breakdown of men and women being quoted in the news media, educators illustrating tampon packaging with pictures of black bodies, mixed martial artists teaching young girls self-empowerment, entrepreneurs prioritizing trauma-informed office cultures, and many other women doing power differently. As the toxic, divisive, and hyper-masculine style of leadership gains ground, threatening democracy here and abroad, McKeon underscores why it’s time to stop playing by the rules of a rigged game.

No More Nice Girls charts a hopeful and potent path forward for how to disrupt the standard (very male) vision of power, ditch convention, and build a more equitable world for everyone.


I don’t think you can expect society to change if you’re not ready to take the first step.

In the 1970s Beverly walks into an office of Black activists, wanting to join the Movement, and has to prove she’s committed enough to fight. Some forty years later, in the Hip Hop Generation, Nicole reunites with her ex-boyfriend on a basketball court, wondering where he’s been, when a police officer stops them.

In this striking debut, Amanda Parris turns the spotlight on the Black women who organize communities, support their incarcerated loved ones, and battle institutions, living each day by a ride-or-die philosophy, strengthening their voices and demanding to be heard.

The Other Side of the Game won the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards for drama. Maja Ardal, Megan Gail Coles and Curtis Peeteetuce made up the jury.

Other Side of the Game courageously examines the struggles of young black women and their loved ones as they navigate an unjust system,” the jury said.

“Parris crafts a portrait of the early years of black activism and parallels it with the present day. Enraging and engaging, this gripping and passionate play challenges dominant narratives to reveal the painful truths of life for marginalized Canadians in our society.”


“Parris’s play does the worthy work of combatting the idea that Black women are superhuman, able to bear the weight of their communities, fight societal racism on micro and macro levels, and care for their families while managing a tight budget.”

(Carly Maga, Toronto Star)


  • For decades, Native business owners in the US have been excluded from national and global economies due to the persistent lack of infrastructure on many reservations to establish an online presence or a storefront. Rez Rising is a first-of-its-kind tool that brings much needed visibility to these businesses. The growing platform is an initiative of Change Labs, a Native-led organization supporting Native entrepreneurs by providing creative workspace, tools, resources, and community. Join the movement to #BuyNative from over 500 Native-owned businesses in the Southwest and strengthen Native economies by buying directly from Native American entrepreneurs. One of its creators is Heather Fleming, executive director of Change Labs, spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about the vision behind Rez Rising. (Source:
  • “While you don’t have individually the power to dethrone a Mark Zuckerberg, what you do have the power to do — today, tomorrow and the next day — is to start joining things.” – Anand Giridharadas. In his book, Winner Takes All, former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas investigates how the global elite’s efforts to ‘change the world’ also obscure their role in causing the problem. Listen to the episode on IDEAS with host Nahlah Ayed at a public event hosted by the Samara Centre for Democracy. (Source:
  • Inspired by sports league drafts, the annual Fintech and Financing Conference (FFCON) applications for the inaugural Fintech Draft are open until February 29, 2020. Designed to identify and feature emerging and high growth startups and scaleups, you can apply to get drafted in three categories: pitching, export readiness, or product demo at FFCON20 RISE. Qualifying participants will be profiled online and reviewed by expert fintech scouts, and will compete in one of three Fintech Draft competitions: pitching, export readiness, or product demo at the 6th annual Conference and Expo taking place from March 23 and 24 in downtown Toronto. (Source: FFCON20)
  • Google is launching an accelerator for early-stage tech startups in Kitchener-Waterloo. The accelerator will be the tech giant’s first in Canada and the 12th globally. The new three-month accelerator program will host two cohorts this year, with eight to 10 startups in each. Ashley Francisco, Canada startup ecosystem lead at Google, will be heading up the new accelerator, according to The Logic. The theme for the first cohort is yet to be confirmed, and the company will explore various potential themes, such as health and gaming, in the next few weeks. Applications for Google’s new accelerator open in March and the first cohort is set to start in April. (Source:
  • Five years ago, filmmaker Paula Eiselt uncovered a shocking act of defiance in an unexpected setting that she now sees as a Hasidic variation of the Me Too movement. 93Queen is a documentary that follows Rachel “Ruchie” Freier, a no-nonsense Hasidic lawyer and mother of six who is determined to shake up the “boys club” in her Hasidic community by creating Ezras Nashim, the first all-female ambulance corps in NYC. In the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn, Freir challenges the community’s status quo in the face of fierce opposition. With unprecedented access, 93Queen offers a unique portrayal of a group of empowered women set on shattering the glass ceiling in the unlikeliest of communities. In the midst of this already ground-breaking endeavor, Ruchie announces that she will run for civil court judge in Brooklyn, and after a hard-fought and contentious election, she becomes the first Hasidic woman elected to office in the United States. (Sources:

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #60! 

So we have BIG news! LiisBeth is in the process of converting to a women-member/led nonprofit multi-stakeholder cooperative! We know, that’s a mouthful. What it means is that its incubation period under Eve-Volution Inc (B Corp) is over. Time for change. Liisbeth Media is now ready to stand on its own.

Over the next several weeks, you will be hearing from us about our progress. We would love your input on many things, including member benefits you would like to see offered. Why? Because we hope all of you will seriously consider becoming a co-operative member and play a part in helping build a strong, sustainable, feminist media cooperative–the first of its kind on many levels.

As part of getting ready for this shift, we would love you to gift us just 4 minutes to complete our 2020 survey

We also wanted to share that last week, the LiiisBeth advisory board and staff unanimously voted to stand with the Wet’suwet’en and Indigenous peoples of Canada. We have submitted our official statement of support. If you are interested in the wording, you can find it here.

We hope you enjoyed this month’s newsletter and features. If you have not done so already, please consider checking out the Feminist Enterprise Commons! (Two months free!)

With gratitude and heartfelt thanks for your continued readership, engagement and support.

Peace out. Spring is coming. xoxo

Sample Newsletter


Artwork by Tara Tomlinson


Twenty-two days into new decade—many of us have been taking this time to recover from the holiday season, reset, prioritize, and look at what’s missing in our work…and play. If you’ve resolved to consume less, work smarter, resist more, and pay more attention to your wellbeing, could sobriety be the new rebellion? On the tech front, there is good news: inclusive hiring practices are improving but is the dial moving?  Incubators and accelerators are terrific spaces to create and learn, but here’s a taste of what’s not getting addressed. There’re more women-focused capital funds than ever but are they missing the mark? What does fewer boots on the ground at #WomensMarch2020 mean?

Let’s make this a decade to be present and establish uncomfortable connections required to fuel systemic change. If we don’t, who will?

See you in the CommonsLiisBeth’s new FEMINIST ENTERPRISE SPACE for connecting, learning, organizing for change.

JANUARY STORY POLL & QUICKIE READER SURVEY: We are all in this together! Take action! We need just 4 minutes of your time to let us know what you think. What’s on your mind? How are we doing? What are we missing? What story themes are you most interested in seeing in 2020? We’re listening. Survey takes just 4 minutes, tops!


Dr. Sarah Saska of Feminuity / Photo supplied by Sarah Saska


Sarah Saska has a feminist fix for tech’s gaping gender hole–and it can help us build a better future.


Feminuity’s Case for Intersectionality paper that considers why a “Gender-Only” approach to advance women in tech isn’t enough.


A Toronto duo mixes up romance, business and a really great line of booze-free drinks that make you still feel like a grown up when you curiously choose to socialize sober!

Photo by Vanessa Lee on Unsplash


Thumbs up for Barb Orser! She calls ’em as she sees them. And references LiisBeth as a “digitally enabled intervention that supports the growing feminist economy” in this new study. The paper suggests an immediate need for reporting standards, and enhanced transparency with respect to fund ownership structure, performance and impacts. Read the introduction and download the study (free!) here.

If you have had experiences trying to access financing from these funds, let us know what it was like! Tell us your story anonymously here.


Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash


If we want to create a gender and eco-just inclusive world, we need to be able to grow sustainable social enterprises. Supporting startup co-operatives are part of the answer. But are incubators and accelerators up to the task? Are today’s startup ecosystems up to the task?

Rivera Sun, Feminist in Residence for February, 2020


We are sooo pleased to announce that Rivera Sun will be our Feminist in Residence (FiR) during the month of February in the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC). Sun is a changemaker, a cultural creative, and the author of 12 books about protest. She is an advocate for nonviolence and social justice, and the editor of

Sun’s topic of the month is this: “Should SHEOs Get Political? Ethical Activism for Business.” In the workshop, she will help us take a critical look at Mondragon, REI, Chick-fil-A’s LGBTQ struggles, and other case studies. Sun will also help us unpack the ethics of our economic clout in civic issues and discuss how we can weigh in without overpowering citizen voices.

The Feminist Enterprise Commons is LiisBeth’s new, non-Zuckerberg, online learning community for those who want to go deeper into their feminist learning, leadership and social changemaking journey.  To read more about the “why”, click here.

As the FiR in the FEC (we know that sounds weird, but also kind of fun), Sun will be posting discussion questions and downloadable reading material and tools for you to keep. She will also be hosting a ZOOM video workshop for those of you interested in learning more about the how to be an activist and a successful enterprise founder at the same time. If you would like to learn more about Sun, you can find her here or read about her in LiisBeth here. What will you learn? Solutionary ideas that will inspire you to step up to the challenges of our times.

CV Harquail was our FiR in January! We’ll tell you about March’s FiR in our February newsletter.


Be the first to comment on one of this month’s LiisBeth features online and receive a FREE COPY of Rivera Sun’s new book, RISE AND RESIST! We will mail it right to your doorstep!


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On Saturday, January 18th, we marched to support women in over 250 other Women’s March 2020 around the world in support of reproductive rights, plus gender and eco-justice.

YES! THERE WAS A TORONTO’S WOMEN’S MARCH 2020 (Click image for 2.5 minute video!)

NPR reports that Washington DC’s 2020 Women’s March drew a smaller but passionate crowd. Toronto drew an even smaller crowd. But no less passionate. If you missed the march last Saturday, this is your chance to still experience being there–in a blizzard–virtually! Next year, expect something different on Women’s March day. The U.S. election will be over and there will be plenty to say. #wecantkeepquiet


Abigail is a ex-officio LiisBeth advisory board member! So we are super proud of her! To read the report, click here.

Thre are a lot of noteworthy recommendations in this year’s report including a call to address stereotypes of who entrepreneurs are and what entrepreneurship is. The report states “From an economic development perspective, expanding societal views to embrace a more inclusive vision of entrepreneurship is a critical action that can be supported by all ecosystem participants. The GEM Global Report for this year focused on a theme of ‘entrepreneurship of all kinds’ which embraces women entrepreneurs. This inclusive approach is more beneficial and far-reaching than a continued emphasis on past models.”


This month’s LiisBeth newsletter cover art was created by Tara Tomlinson, founder of Deprogramme, a startup, art based enterprise focused on the creation of educational, political and Black centered art pieces. Deprogramme conducts multifaceted expressions of art, through different mediums. They specialize in digital art poster prints, acrylic canvas commissions and line art tattoo designs. You can find more of Tomlinson’s work on Instagram.

Photo by: Toyrific Garden Games


The U.S. based Billion Dollar Fund for Women consortium was created in 2018 to mobilize capital that would invest in women-founded companies within the next decade. By June 2019, it had met its target. A total of over 70 funds from six continents and over 25 countries have so far pledged to deploy capital towards women-founded companies by 2020, equating to a total of $1 billion. Today, they have re-branded as the Beyond The Billion Fund. They want to go further still.

It’s a great initiative and given the times, not surprising they met their goal so quickly.

But before we get too excited, it’s important to note the bar that was set was a low one, considering the total investment dollars run by funds across the globe. The initiative requires funds to sign a pledge. There is no repercussion should the fund not meet the goal. The “we the good” halo effect lives on whether it happens or not.

So, with only a pledge at stake, and timely reputational value to reap,  how many Canadian funds do you think signed up?

When the TBDF for women launched in Canada, it was able to secure eight pledges. Today, a year later, with efforts by its Canadian sponsors Lally Rementilla (Quantius) and Jonathan Hera (Marigold Capital), it has 16. Nice improvement. The catch is, there are over 150 venture funds in Canada. 

Hard to believe the percentage of funds participating remains so low. We hope the rest will sign on soon.

In the meantime, give it up for the good ones: Alate PartnersBCG VenturesCycle CapitalEcofuelDisruption VenturesDream Maker VenturesGrand Challenges CanadaInvestissement QuebecLoyal VCMarigold CapitalMaRS Catalyst FundMedteqPique VenturesQuantiusREDDS Capital and StandUp Ventures.

If you are looking for venture capital, make sure to check them out!

Effie T. Brown / Photo courtesy of Gamechanger 


Known for her producing work on socially and culturally-minded projects like Dear White People and Real Women Have Curves, Effie T. Brown has been a game-changing advocate for inclusivity in the industry. That said, the veteran producer is bringing her work to the next level as she has been named the CEO of Gamechanger.

Launched in 2013, Gamechanger is the first film financing fund by and for women. Brown will bring her expertise to help broaden the fund’s scope to include projects by and about people of color, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. In addition to films, Gamechanger is set to expand its reach to television and digital content with a new, fully monetized development fund that will enable it to buy, option and develop IP for television, streaming and digital platforms.

“As a black female producer who’s been in the business for over 20 years, I know how hard it is to not only get into the room but to then secure financing when you have a culturally diverse or gender specific point of view,” said Brown. “I am beyond thrilled to join Gamechanger as CEO and help level the playing field by providing equity financing for production, development monies as well as strategic partnerships for people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, women, and people of color. What also makes us different is that the diversity of our content is as diverse as our investor pool. Our investors understand that it is going to take all of us pooling our monies together to ensure that these inclusive voices are given the opportunity to own their story from script to screen.” (Source: Deadline)

Based on research on the psychology of leadership, Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic shows that if leaders were selected on competence rather than confidence, humility rather than charisma, and integrity rather than narcissism, we would not just end up with more competent leaders, but also more women leaders. In fact, he argues, the main obstacle preventing competent women from becoming leaders is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent, patriarchal men.


Based on research on the psychology of leadership, Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic shows that if leaders were selected on competence rather than confidence, humility rather than charisma, and integrity rather than narcissism, we would not just end up with more competent leaders, but also more women leaders. In fact, he argues, the main obstacle preventing competent women from becoming leaders is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent, patriarchal men.


On her first book tour at the age of 26, Lee Maracle was asked a question from the audience, one she couldn’t possibly answer at that moment. But she has been thinking about it ever since. As time has passed, she has been asked countless similar questions, all of them too big to answer, but not too large to contemplate. These questions, which touch upon subjects such as citizenship, segregation, labour, law, prejudice and reconciliation (to name a few), are the heart of My Conversations with Canadians.

In prose essays that are both conversational and direct, Maracle seeks not to provide any answers to these questions she has lived with for so long. Rather, she thinks through each one using a multitude of experiences she’s had as a First Nations leader, a woman, a mother, and grandmother over the course of her life.

Lee Maracle’s My Conversations with Canadians presents a tour de force exploration into the writer’s own history and a reimagining of the future of our nation.

(Source: Bookhug Press)

The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age

In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial–left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.

Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power.

“A definitive document of a world in transition: I won’t be alone in returning to Uncanny Valley for clarity and consolation for many years to come.” —Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

(Source: MCDbooks)


  • Black Light is a weekly column by Governor General Award-winning writer Amanda Parris that spotlights, champions and challenges art and popular culture that is created by Black people and/or centres Black people. Parris writes: “The work created by Black artists often goes undocumented. It’s a consistent and systemic problem in Canada — one that’s created a cultural amnesia that renders Black art and Black artists invisible. Black Light is a small attempt to rectify this issue.” She has curated a list of some of the most exciting projects created by Black artists that will be arriving in 2020 and the first roundup  includes visual art exhibitions, plays, a new novel, an installation, a couple of films and new sci-fi series.
  • A new year brings with it new funds for women-led businesses. Before you apply, do your due diligence and check out Barb Orser’s study. “The Scotiabank Women Initiative can help women-led businesses access the tools they need – from financing to having the right financial knowledge and support to be successful.” – Gillian Riley, President and CEO, Tangerine Bank and executive sponsor of The Scotiabank Women Initiative. In December 2019, Scotiabank announced the expansion of The Scotiabank Women Initiative to its capital markets business – Global Banking and Markets. Check out the full press release about the initiative.
  • Applications for Venture Out’s Founders Program closes February 11, 2020. Venture Out is seeking 8-10 LGBTQA+ founders that want to engage, with a community of advisors, investors, incubator partners, and experts over a 6-week program. This program will run between March 3 to April 7, 2020. Most importantly, passionate founders that understand this is a pilot and to provide feedback to strengthen the LGBTQA+ tech ecosystem in Canada.
  • The Big Push is a TD Bank initiative founded by an all-women team who is investing in women-led companies that have the potential to become the next global tech leadersThe Lift-Off Program is an innovative funding and expert resource program designed to provide early stage women-led technology companies with access to free consultation and assessment of their business plans along with a clear roadmap that connects them to a network of highly vetted business and technology professionals.
  • BDC’s 2020 economic outlook reports that Canadian entrepreneurs should benefit from a rebound in the real estate market, residential investment and household consumption.
  • Noteworthy from November: Toronto-based Knix Wear has reached over $5M in VC funding with little institutional funding to date. In 2013, the e-commerce startup raised more than $1M through a crowdfunding campaign that saw investment from angel investors and small funds to fund her first line of Knix seamless underwear, which uses patented, leak-resistant, and odour-eradicating technology. Full story on 
  • Flashback fact: How old are successful tech entrepreneurs? A 2018 study from Kellogg’s School of Management at Northwestern University reveals the answer…and it’s likely not what you think.

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #59! 

So we wrote about the fragility of intesectional feminist media in December. And soon after, we heard about the closing of GUTS, a promising, smart, fiction-based, feminist online Canadian publication fueled by grants and donations, locked its doors after five years. We supported them each month for over two years. We also subscribe to HerizonThisMs Magazine, The DiscourseBitch, plus several other small, online blogs in various ways.

Feminist media matters.  Building a sustainable media enterprise of any kind these days is a challenge. Events of late have us thinking harder about how to structure LiisBeth so that we have the best possible chance of achieving our goal to create a sustainable, impactful, feminist media voice in Canada. We will keep you posted!

Remember also that we would love to hear from you so consider taking 4 minutes to complete our survey.

The next newsletter is scheduled for release the third week of February (yes AFTER VDay).  Or, see you sooner in the Feminist Enterprise Commons!

With gratitude and heartfelt thanks for your continued readership, engagement and support.

Peace out. Stay warm. xoxo

Sample Newsletter


Wishing you peace, safety, a warm meal, hugs and joy this holiday season.
Photo by Enrique Macias on Unsplash


It’s that time of year to reflect and set intentions for the year ahead. What served you in the past? Where can you let go? What strengthens you, reliably? Check out PK’s Viewpoint below for more provocative questioning.   

The U.S. election and all things impeachment will likely dominate mainstream media in 2020 and it’s important that feminist narratives and media continue to see the light of day, now more than ever. We have nowhere to go but forward. Because nourishing experimentation and strengthening the grassroots, courageous innovators while still operating inside the old is our only hope for a breakthrough in our lifetime.

STORY POLL & READER SURVEY: And as we enter the last month of 2019 and reflect on a year’s worth of newsletters and magazine refreshes, let us know how we can improve. What story themes are you most interested in seeing in 2020? We’re listening. Survey takes just 4 minutes, tops!


Photo by Jeff Fielitz on Unsplash

In gaming, we get to live in an alternate reality—a magic circle—with its own rules that are accepted without question. We get to turn off, escape, play. No wonder it’s so popular with so many.

In the real world, we get to live in business’s magic circle…a place with its own rules that are accepted without question. But this circle is broken, and in need of feminist intervention.

Enter CV Harquail, the first Feminist in Residence (FIR) of the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC), who challenges the stewards of the status quo. We invite you to join us, and her, in reimagining what business could be. You can also download a complimentary excerpt, “Challenging Business’s Magic Circle” from our FIR’s new book, Feminism: A Key Idea for Business and Society.

She will be posting and responding to queries and offering a ZOOM session on the Feminist Enterprise Commons from January 5 to 31, 2020.


After the trial period, memberships are $17.99 CDN or $15.00 USD per month, and an accessible $4.00 USD rate per month for international readers.


Truth is, we would love to do more for you. Publish more profiles. Follow up all the story leads you send our way. Advocate on your behalf to government. March for you on cold days. Send feminist thought leadership and inspiration straight to your inbox. Curate articles and publish briefs on research that might just make your day. Plus provide more fair income opportunities to young and second career feminist writers and editors–you can’t have feminist media without feminist creators.

If cash is tight this year (we get that!), you can also help us out by a) Telling five friends about us and encouraging them to sign up to our newsletter; b) Following us on social media and sharing or liking our posts; or c) Commenting on our feature articles from time to time! Every bit helps!

Thank you in advance for your generosity! xoxo


Surviving and flourishing as an indie media enterprise takes more than cool content, clicks and coin–it requires a different approach to building an enterprise–more Ani DiFranco, less Warner Bros. Check out our thoughts on some recent closures, acquisitions, and “disappearing” feminist media.


Amazon Prime Video is partnering with JuVee Productions to develop a series based on feminist futurist Octavia E. Bulter’s sci-fi book ‘Wild Seed’, from her ‘Patternist’ series.


Last year, I went through Susannah Conway’s process of choosing a word to serve as a personal compass for the year ahead. My word for 2019 was “alignment” and having that word taped to my bookshelf above my computer really helped me to stay on track. So I thought if a single, carefully chosen word can make such a difference in how I show up in the world, what might a single, equally carefully considered question of the year do in terms of advancing my why in the world?

With a new year on the horizon, predictions about what the world will be like in 2020 hit us in the face like crusty snowflakes in a blizzard. The The worsening impact of climate change. U.S. election. Growing inequality and economic security. Right wing politics. Millions of refugees. Advancements in mind reading tech for enhanced security purposes. The list is endless.

My review of predictions by pundits on the web and in mainstream media says this: In the next three to seven years, most of us will likely find ourselves living longer, on less income and with less (not a bad thing in my view), in crowded work/life quarters (could be fun), with surveilled freedom (big concern), in a radically changing biosphere (read: insects and hot mealworms for breakfast) governed by a hyper-adaptive, resilient and pissed-off patriarchy (oy!).

Which then leads to the single question as a way of charting the course of my work in the coming year: What is the purpose of entrepreneurship given the world unfolding before us?

I have not yet figured out my word for the year. But my question is clearly in sight.

Helena Verdier is seen here selling handmade items from her booth at the recent Feminist Fair. [Photo © Jennifer Prescott]

If you’re still looking to express gratitude via a thoughtful small gift for the womxn in your world, we thought it was worth reposting Champagne Thomson’s story from last month, Stuff Your Stockings with Feminist Joy.

The piece features feminist makers and changemakers have to offer from the Feminist Market at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, Ottawa’s Feminist Fair, and Indigenous and Ingenious in Toronto.

And from Refinery29 and Berlin Cameron here is the LLShe Women2women holiday gift guide.



LiisBeth advisory board member, Geraldine Cahill, holding the holiday pickle like the champ she is! Photo by Greg English

LiisBeth’s Hopes, Dreams and Resistance Reception Highlight Video! 2.30 Minutes!

What happens when you put 60+ entrepreneurial feminist creators, writers, policy makers, and business owners in a room together? This year, LiisBeth held its inaugural Hopes, Dreams and Resistance reception in Toronto, Ontario. We brought together our contributors, editors, the people they wrote about, policy makers, academics and supporters for this pre-holiday season event. The agenda? Just to spend time together. But we did arrange for a pickle tasting and a mystery guest speaker. We know a lot of you live outside Toronto and can’t make event’s like these.  So we created this little highlight video just for you in hopes that you will feel at least in some way, part of it.


What does it mean when art gallery programming is determined by callout culture? Elisha Lim based an article on this question, for C Magazine. Lim is a queer and transgender story-teller and graphic novelist, whose book 100 Crushes was published by Koyama Press and nominated for a Lambda. They are currently writing a PhD at U of T on race and social media so we’ll follow up later in 2020 with more on the complex topic of identity economics.


We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.


Celebrate the winter solstice with a restorative yoga sequence to slow down and unwind. Video by Yoga with Kassandra.


We love this idea and more importantly, the process behind it, and are promoting it here!

To find your word online, check out It’s a free and wonderfully illuminating process. But be prepared. It takes some thought and time to work through it.

Dimple Mukerjee, one of LiisBeth’s first entrepreneurs profiled, says her word for this year is COMMAND.  Mukerjee says it comes from her sense of a need to develop more of a commanding presence and showing up in her business in a bigger and bolder way.

If doing this sort of thing in community with others is your thing, and if you live in Toronto, you might want to check out Dimple Mukerjee’s
Call in Your Word 2020 seminar being held on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 at We Work, 240 Richmond Street West ($75 but includes beer, wine and food!). Note: It’s also a co-ed session. So male friends and partners are welcome!

FEMINIST FREEBIE ALERT!  Dimple has kindly offered a free ticket to the seminar to the first LiisBeth reader to comment on the profile we wrote about Dimple way back in 2016!  To get started and receive your free ticket, click here.

Photo of Amanda Palmer from Brain Pickings


Click on the starry image of Amanda Palmer above to hear her read The Mushroom Hunters: Neil Gaiman’s Feminist Poem About Science.

The poem is an ode to humanity’s unheralded originators of the scientific method, and was featured in The Universe in Verse event earlier this year, hosted by Maria Popova. The gathering is an annual celebration of science through poetry held at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY.


An anthology of African-Canadian writing, Black Writers Matter offers a cross-section of established writers and newcomers to the literary world who tackle contemporary and pressing issues with beautiful, sometimes raw, prose. As editor Whitney French says in her introduction, Black Writers Matter “injects new meaning into the word diversity [and] harbours a sacredness and an everydayness that offers Black people dignity. ” An “invitation to read, share, and tell stories of Black narratives that are close to the bone,” this collection feels particular to the Black Canadian experience.

“Black Writers Matter is an extraordinary achievement, a bold and loving gathering of Black writing in its sublimity; its stylistic and thematic complexity; its regional, cultural, generational, and experiential differences; its fiercely constellated energy. Whitney French and the talented contributors to this book offer us vital new writings within a two-hundred-year legacy of yearning and truth-telling. Please read this book. ” —David Chariandy, author of Soucouyant and Brother

“Reading these stories gave me both joy and grief. ” —Afua Cooper

“Black Writers? African, Bluesy, Classical, Disrespectful,  Erudite, Fiery, Groovy, Haunting, Inspiring, Jazzy, Knowing, Liberating, Militant, Nervy, Optimistic, Pugnacious, Quixotic, Rambunctious, Seductive, Truculent, Urgent, Vivacious, Wicked, X-ray sharp, Yearning, Zesty. And so, they matter!” —George Elliott Clarke (Source: University of Regina Press)

New feminist essays for the #MeToo era from the international best-selling author of Men Explain Things to Me and the forthcoming memoir Recollections of My Nonexistence.

Who gets to shape the narrative of our times? The current moment is a battle royale over that foundational power, one in which women, people of color, non-straight people are telling other versions, and white people and men and particularly white men are trying to hang onto the old versions and their own centrality. In Whose Story Is This? Rebecca Solnit appraises what’s emerging and why it matters and what the obstacles are.

“Rebecca Solnit is essential feminist reading.”
The New Republic

“Rebecca Solnit is the voice of the resistance.”
New York Times Magazine

“In these times of political turbulence and an increasingly rabid and scrofulous commentariat, the sanity, wisdom and clarity of Rebecca Solnit’s writing is a forceful corrective. Whose Story Is This? is a scorchingly intelligent collection about the struggle to control narratives in the internet age.”
—Alex Preston, The Guardian

“Solnit’s passionate, shrewd, and hopeful critiques are a road map for positive change.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Solnit’s exquisite essays move between the political and the personal, the intellectual and the earthy.”
(Source: Haymarket Books)


  • CFC Media Lab is pleased to introduce the Fifth Wave Initiative, a new suite of programs and services designed to accelerate and sustain the growth of women-owned/led enterprises in southern Ontario’s digital media sector. Innovative Fifth Wave Initiative programming will bring intersectional feminist business practices to the forefront of Canada’s startup ecosystem in an effort to support a broader range of enterprise philosophies. It will weave feminist ideals of equity and fairness into business sustainability and scalable growth. Click here to learn more and register!
  • The Baltimore museum is taking a bold step to rectify centuries of imbalance in the fine arts space by commiting to acquiring art produced only by women starting 2020. BAM’s director Christopher Bedford, said “something radical must be done….”
  • Do you have a climate change policy articulated for your company? What are your suppliers doing about climate change? Don’t know? On Dec 11, 500+ B Corps Commit to Net Zero by 2030, 20 Years Ahead of Paris Agreement! Check out the announcement here. FYI, LiisBeth Media is a B Corp!
  • Ecofeminist revival?  Ecofeminism was born a few decades ago from the observation that there is an analogy between the exploitation of women and the exploitation of nature. Given the centrality of climate change as a key global issues, this part of the feminist movement’s ideas and theories are more relevant than ever. Its thought leaders include people like Vandana Shiva. To learn more about it, click here. Here is also a list of terrific ecofeminist primers!

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #58! 

This is our last newsletter of 2019!  The LiisBeth team will be taking time off to recharge until January 6th. Our next newsletter will be out January 21st, just after the Women’s March event! MARK THE DATE! We have amazing features already in the pipeline including a great piece by Carmelle Wolfson on decolonizing yourself–and your business, plus a reflection piece by Golnaz Golnaraghi, founder of Accelerate Her Future. Plus much more!

In the meantime, have a wonderful, safe, regenerating time over the holiday season no matter what you do to celebrate the coming of a new year. And stay in touch with us daily on Twitter @LiisBethHQ.

With gratitude and heartfelt thanks for your continued readership, engagement and support.


Sample Newsletter


Photo By Leandro Crespi


Having lunch with an iconic Canadian feminist served as a reminder of why LiisBeth exists: a media channel that advances feminist literacy and tells stories of alternative enterprise models that enables flourishing for all. Like VentureKids Canada, where underserved youth can learn how to code. Or how Ample Labs uses design and tech to help the homeless. Activist art as a sustainable venture idea, or a gig career, takes ingenuity and persistence but gives needed voice to the hard issues of systemic racism, violence again women, patriarchy. LiisBeth is also here to call out hate and call in those looking to be more deeply informed with articles that include facts and opinions from a human rights point of view. Like when a so-called feminist thinks that trans rights threaten women’s safety…could she be the real threat to feminism? At the end of the day, the world is warming and the holidays are coming. Check out our feminist gift guide that includes seed bombs and wearable art you can feel good about.

And as we enter the last month of 2019 and reflect on a year’s worth of newsletters, let us know how we can improve. We’re listening.


Ample Labs: Ending Homelessness With Technology

Resources can be a click away, thanks to a Toronto startup’s tech empowerment.
Read the Ample Labs story on our site.

Photo by Kamil Karamali, Global News


In October, a small branch of Toronto’s Public Library (TPL) system made the news by hosting a talk by Meghan Murphy, a Vancouver based anti-trans rights feminist and founder of The Feminist Current, a blog and podcast with an estimated 14,000 followers.

Despite the fact that Murphy’s talks have been heavily criticized as hate speech, Toronto City Librarian, Vickery Bowles, backed the event because the library “has an obligation to protect free speech.” Bowles also told the Globe and Mail that Ms. Murphy has never been charged or convicted of hate speech.

That, however, just may be a matter of timing.

This week on LiisBeth, feminist and human rights lawyer, Pamela Cross, offers a critique and legal insight on Meghan Murphy’s ideology.

Speaking from a place of compassion, we can only imagine that Murphy has had personal experiences which fuel the raison d’etre for her views and her efforts to promote them. Really, what does anyone get out of making the lives of a tiny, heavily persecuted group in society who are already traumatized enough? Perhaps a book deal? Fair enough. Tapping fear worked for Jordan Peterson.

At LiisBeth, and as social justice and systems centred feminists, we stand firmly as a trans-inclusionary organization. Call to Action? What is the path to restorative justice? We hope that the trans community rallies and continues the debate and takes the issue to court as a violation of Canada’s Human Rights Code.

Photo by Champagne Thompson


Giving and celebrating doesn’t need to be powered by a capitalistic consumer agenda. Get the scoop on what feminist makers and changemakers have to offer from the Feminist Market at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, Ottawa’s Feminist Fair, and Indigenous and Ingenious in Toronto.

Photo supplied by Takara Small


What’s more fun than smashing through barriers to be a Black woman in tech? For Takara Small, it’s helping kids smash through them too. Read more about VentureKids Canada on our site.

‘Ashaba’; No human can look at her directly by Karen White explores unseen oppression.


Ilene Sova’s need to talk real sparks a feminist art collective. Read her story this week on LiisBeth.

Jack Jackson and Jet, Photo by Jack Jackson


Fun facts about Jack:

1) He was our very FIRST article written by Margaret Webb back in 2016.
2) He has been an ardent supporter of LiisBeth, attended BOTH EFFS, and served as our EFF photographer.
3) He is a trans rights activist (we did the story on his DYWM initiative)
5) He has an I AM A FEMINIST jacket!
6) He is smart and well-versed on gender issues.
7) He has never been on a board–this would be a great learning experience for him (his words)

Jack also runs a Toronto-based dog walking enterprise and photography business. Check out his latest inspiring project to advance trans inclusion, Don’t You Want Me.


Photo by Lana Pesch


What was it like having lunch with with Canada’s Gloria Steinem? So engrossing we forgot to take a photo of her. Our conversation about the importance of alternative media channels is a reminder of why we need to keep going. Read PK’s Viewpoint here.


Digital Justice Lab


The Digital Justice Lab’s mission is to focus on building a more just and equitable future.

Imaging Feminist Interfaces was a workshop held earlier in November in partnership with Digital Justice LabTrinity Square Video and, presented as part of a series at MOCA Toronto’s Age of You exhibit.

The workshop explored what voice technologies might look like if they were designed in line with the central commitments of feminism: participation, agency, embodiment, equity, empowerment, plurality and justice.

There’s one more workshop in the series, Mapping Digital Bodies that navigates the impact of how our data is used, stored and shared.


Australia’s Girl Geek Academy initiatives include coding and hackathons, 3D printing and wearables, game development, design, entrepreneurship and startups.


Well if Kelly Diels has anything to say about it, it’s not a Tony Robbins event, or a business networking event that features talks by patriarchal Silicon Valley bros and VCs, extractive neo-libreneurs, unicorn hunters, or exploitative Uber-esque enterprises founded by any gender.

Nope. Feminists in business–or those who run any organization or project looking to model alternative ways of doing business–need advice from other walking the same path–but who might just be a few steps ahead of you.

We at LiisBeth have benefited from SOOOOO much awesome advice from generous, caring people we have met along the way. It’s why we are still here three years later.

So we created a NON-FACEBOOK (read: unsurveilled, no disappearing timelines, no money for Zuckerberg) online community on the Mighty Networks platform (founded by a woman)–the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC).  If you want to build a sustainable feminist enterprise, connecting, supporting and partnering with others is key.


Photo of CV Harquail by PK Mutch


In addition to having the opportunity to meet up with other feminists in business, each month we will be featuring a monthly FEMINIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM. This is someone who will be on the site answering your questions, and offering online ZOOM webinars or hosting discussion sessions to help you take the next step for your project or idea.


CV Harquail is a feminist scholar and author of Feminism: A Key Idea for Business (2019), and co-creator of the feminist business model canvas. She believes that including feminist values and practices into your workplace and the ways you do business will help to create great products and connect with customers.

Harquail says: “It’s possible, using feminism in business, to feel creative, purposeful, authentically you, “all in”, and as though everything/anything you do at work is making more of a difference than you could ever have imagined.

She will posting and responding to queries and offering a ZOOM session on the Feminist Enterprise Commons from January 5 to 31, 2020.

After the trial period, memberships are $17.99 CDN or $15.00 USD per month, and an accessible $4.00 USD rate per month for international readers.

Amandine Fouillard


Amandine Fouillard’s coming of age European trip took a unique twist. The young French feminist‘s commitment to learning more about feminism combined with her desire to travel plus her dreams of writing formed “Travel like a feminist”. On her seven-month tour, she visited several European capitals and met with associations, researchers, politicians and personalities who were working on equality issues.

Why? To gain a deeper understanding of the advancements of the European feminist movements have made.

What did she learn? There is still a long way to go to achieve equality.

On her French Ulule site, you can check out her interviews, videos, and articles (en français) on European feminist news and country-by-country comparisons of existing legislation and rights.


LiisBeth has published over 190 original articles and profiles of enterprising feminists. We hold leaders accountable. We advance important discourse about feminism, entrepreneurship and social change. Our dedicated team works tirelessly to advance gender and social justice. We are ad and surveillance free and believe that reader-supported media is the antidote to a corporate media dominated conversation on important issues that matter to us all.

This holiday season please consider supporting LiisBeth with a donation either via our Patreon page or on our Support Our Mission page which provides both credit card and Paypal options.

Christina Cai of @myKnowtions speaking at #movethedialsummit


The importance of mentors, funding models, and inclusivity at all levels of business were just a fraction of topics covered in the many presentations at the #movethedialsummit earlier in November, in Toronto.

Entrepreneur Christina Cai was on the panel WOMEN IN FINTECH: BUILDING AND GROWING
(pictured above). Cai is co-founder and COO of Knowtions Research Inc., a company that is building the first enterprise AI platform for health insurers. The past decade has seen a marked change in the number of women who are founding new businesses, leading teams, and investing in the next generation of unicorns, but there is still a long way to go. However Cai encourages startup founders to think more like cockroaches than unicorns and “refuse to die!”

In the video below she shares her “poor startups survival guide” that include some lessons learned in her business journey so far.


Now THIS is exciting. And gutsy.

The Canadian Film Centre’s IDEABoost team, Ana Serrano and Nataly Dupont, together with partners Eve-Volution Inc (LiisBeth’s parent company), Marigold CapitalOCADU’s Superordinary Lab, the University of Toronto’s Digital Justice Lab and the Pivotal Point have launched Canada’s FIRST feminist values-led enterprise growth accelerator for women-owned/led digital media companies based in Southwestern Ontario. 

Fifth Wave is all about helping women grow and build resilient enterprises that value equity, wellness, community and fairness. The program recognizes that definitions of success vary and supports organic growth strategies as well as founders seeking venture capital.

Fifth Wave Labs, the accelerator program starts in spring 2020. Applications to the pre-requisite program, Fifth Wave Connect, are open now!


The first two people to comment on our feminist icon story will receive a COMPLEMENTARY COPY of her latest book. But we can’t tell you who it is–you have to read the article here first to find out!


Technology and empathy for curious young readers. 

The Computer and the Canceled Music Lessons is a children’s book that introduces young readers (and older ones) to ‘data science,’ the process of ethically acquiring, analyzing, visualizing and monetizing data.

With advancements in technology, new jobs are emerging and old roles are being transformed as a result of the explosion in data from mobile technology, cloud computing, social media, the internet of things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Start this important conversation with kids in a fun way by reading and discussing with them, how one student in this story uses data to solve a problem at school.

Author Shingai Manjengwa (Twitter: @tjido) is the chief executive officer at Fireside Analytics Inc., a Canadian ed-tech startup that offers customized cloud-hosted data science training and consulting services to corporations, governments, and educational institutions. Shingai’s data science courses have over 300,000 registered learners on platforms like IBM’s and Coursera.

She is also the founder of Fireside Analytics Academy, a registered private high school (BSID: 886528) that teaches high school students to ethically acquire, analyze, visualize and monetize data! The IDC4U, High School Data Science program is inspected by the Ministry of Education in Canada and it uses real-life youth-focused case studies to combine statistics, mathematics, business, and computer programming: the pillars of data science. The program is completely online; international students are welcome.

A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms

Run a Google search for “black girls”—what will you find? “Big Booty” and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in “white girls,” the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about “why black women are so sassy” or “why black women are so angry” presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society.

In Algorithms of OppressionSafiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. — NYUPress

An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.

“Noble makes a strong case that present technologies and search engines are not just imperfect, but they enact actual harm to people and communities.”


  • In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans woman in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. Published by Book*hug Press, the book won one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards; the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. This Toronto Star story outlines Benaway’s conflicted feelings around the recognition since the win coincided at a time when Benaway and many others denounced the Toronto Public Library for refusing to cancel an event featuring a speaker who has been critical of transgender rights. See our feature story for more insight.
  • The good old hockey game is only great when it’s for everyone. This CBC story follows the collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) to the rise of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), where 200 top female players vowed to sit out this season in order to push for one financially viable and sustainable professional league. Julie Stevens, a professor in Brock University’s sport management program, says members of the PWPHA can overcome these historical challenges by shifting the conversation from a social case to a business case. “It’s basically a startup. It’s an emerging venture that you need to look at what the market research is telling you,” Stevens says.
  • Download the 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution and hear journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong argue that the future of humanity depends on strengthening the status of women and girls. The facts, Armstrong says, are beyond dispute: when women get an education, all of society benefits; when they get better healthcare, everyone lives longer.
  • TIME magazine’s coverage of Colombia’s historic moment; the first time a woman and openly gay candidate was elected as mayor of the capital city. Claudia López ran for mayor on an anti-corruption platform and challenged the positions of right-wing politicians, promising to advance equal rights for minority communities and women. Her victory marks the country’s shift away from the political elite, and indicates a desire in the residents of Bogotá for a transition to more liberal policies.

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #57! 

As we near the end of 2019, the LiisBeth team paused for reflection at our annual advisory board meeting and community reception that followed.

Wow. What a year.

We are proud that the readership of our online magazine is now over 19,000 (up 40%), and surprised to find we have over 8,000 following us on social media (we are trying to get better at that).

More importantly, we are chuffed we have been able to publish over 190 impactful, quality original articles (not blog posts or curated pieces we bought from elsewhere) and provided fair income opportunities for over 30 womxn journalists, writers, and editors. And we were thrilled at the turnout of our Feminist City Walk in partnership with Jane’s Walk.

We are also SUPER excited about our new online community space you read about up top, the Feminist Enterprise Commons hosted on Mighty Networks. It’s going to take a while to work out the kinks, but we are ready to go! We gave ourselves an activist check mark for taking our community off Facebook (we still have our FB page but will only use to advertise events). Frankly, we got tired of Facebook disallowing LiisBeth article post boosts because apparently, feminism is considered extreme political activity. We also deeply question Google and Facebook’s role in elections, and are tired of Zuckerberg making money off our free labour and exposed identifies. But we thank them for pioneering this space initially and now motivating us to change platforms.

All these accomplishments were realized with one volunteer publisher, three core freelance staff, volunteer advisory board members and a tiny budget.

We plan to publish a short and jolly holiday newsletter on Tuesday, December 17, and will be back in full force in January. We hope you will consider donating to help us continue this work.

In the meantime, stay in touch with us daily on Twitter @LiisBethHQ

With gratitude and thanks,

Sample Newsletter


LiisBeth meets Jane’s Walk Toronto, September 29, 2019



In the wake of an uninspiring Canadian election full of name-calling and finger-pointing, the good news is 11.3 million or 63 percent of Canadians DID NOT vote for the regressive, conservative agenda. Still, our newly re-elected, feminist leader (of a minority government) would be wise to find common ground with the NDP, the Greens, and the Bloc because…aren’t we working toward the same thing? Kosisochukwu Nnebe thinks so. Meanwhile, UN Women is running the #flexforempowerment campaign to accelerate women’s economic empowerment that will ideally—one would hope—inspire others to do the same. But hope is not a plan. So in uninspiring times, flex. Show your principles. Take your leaders to taskJoin a volleyball team to stay sane. Also, question the dominant narrative. Do we really need VC funding to grow our businesses? At the very least, take a break and read this newsletter.


Kosisochukwu Nnebe, policy analyst and visual artist


One young witness draws on lessons from the past, the present and the personal. Read her story here.

Kristi Herold, Founder and CEO, Sport & Social Club


Kristi Herolds seized on the gap in recreational sport for adults as an opportunity to launch her own company. Years later, Herold is the CEO of one of North America’s largest, most inclusive sport and social clubs by focusing on one goal: making sport accessible for everyone. But it didn’t happen overnight…or easily. Find out more in this story.

“I used to get dejected about the fact that I couldn’t raise capital as a sole female founder without a pedigree,” says Christina Stembel. “But we’ve grown to 30 million in annual revenue with 50 percent or more growth year-over-year.”


Haven’t raised any of that magical over-hyped venture funding?  Don’t despair! Newly released Babson study “Beyond the Bucks: Growth Strategies of Successful Entrepreneurs” shows how women-led startups succeed when VC funding fails. Find out how Stembel woman forged a path of her own.


Image Source:  Photo by Duncan Cameron


Can Canada’s newly elected progressive leaders move from identifying as feminist to leading like a feminist?  Why should they? What does that even mean? Read this month’s Viewpoint here.



Photo by Daniel Lepôt
58-person formation skydive takes several elements to make it a success. The event needs good weather, collaborative and competent skydivers, aircraft to hold all the jumpers, a drop zone with staff and space to handle the organization of a large group, and leadership.

In this scenario, there was one lead organizer, three plane captains, and three pilots. The aircraft not seen in the photo above, is the lead plane. The grey Skyvan on the right is the right trail plane. The blue and white Twin Otter further back and to the left is the left trail plane. All three pilots are communicating with each other via radio. The planes are flying to a predetermined altitude dictated by the location of the drop zone and the wind. It’s vital the pilots have constant communication because they need to stay close, but not too close.

The pilot in the lead plane is, as you might suspect, the lead pilot. The lead organizer of the skydive is in the lead plane and trusts the pilots are doing their jobs. But he is also double-checking the direction of flight and watching the proximity of the trail planes. He also trusts that the two plane captains in each of the two trail planes are doing their jobs: taking charge of the 18 or so skydivers in each aircraft. And he trusts that the skydivers will be responsible for doing their jobs: staying calm on the way to altitude, visualizing a successful jump, looking out for the safety of their teammates, flying their slot in the formation.

In brief, it takes a solid plan. And a leader who people want to collaborate with.

But it is the power of the collective that allows for incredible achievements. Collaboration and trust is key and when everyone is disciplined, focused, and working together, the seemingly impossible becomes possible.

Jenna and Kayla Spagnoli


Fraternal twins Jenna and Kayla believed there was a need for more feminist social justice-inspired community events to bring more people into the larger conversation about what feminism truly means. So they created Feminist Twins, an Ottawa-based side hustle venture which includes an annual Feminist Fair. And wow has it grown. The fair alone has expanded from just six vendors in 2013 to over 44 this year. Last year they had over 1000 visitors.

Essentially, this grassroots event provides space for women (defined to include gender nonbinary and trans women) to showcase their side hustles in community with others—versus relying just on transaction-centered, impersonal online platforms like Etsy to sell their creations. Two thirds of funds collected at the door are donated to a different local charity. The community votes on the recipient each year. Over $3,100 was raised in 2017. This year’s proceeds will be donated to the Sexual Assault Support Centre in Ottawa and any toiletries collected will be donated to Street Team Outreach Mobile (STORM) of Minwaashin Lodge, where both Jenna and Kayla also work.

The fair has no set door price, is physically accessible for all, offers complimentary on-site childminding, plus free vegan pizza for attendees and vendors. Jenna and Kayla still, at this point, donate their time to keep overhead costs low. This year Jenna and Kayla will be launching their own locally made, ethical merchandise line at the event. They are pleased that larger enterprises like Evolve Eyewear, a company which creates environmentally conscious recycled frames will be joining others on the floor.  Planning to attend? The event is being held Sunday, November 10th at Landsdowne Park. Find out more here.


If you were unable to attend The Feminist City Walk /Panel event on Sept. 29th, don’t despair! You can get a taste of it virtually here!   Over 200 people signed up.  Approximately 45 attended the panel discussion afterwards.  We raised about $400 and counting for Jane’s Walk TO.  But most of all it was a super fun learning experience!  See you next year during Gender Equality Week 2020!


CV Harquail, author of “Feminism: A Key New Idea for Business” thinks feminism and business should mix—and that this allyship is long overdue. Harquail believes feminism and business, two forces that are typically at odds when it comes to creating real social change, can co-mingle in new generative ways to advance social justice. Check out Harquail’s interview on en(gender)ed, a weekly podcast series hosted by Teri Yuan (Previous Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum workshop presenter). en(gender)ed aims to build a cultural literacy around abuse and abuse of power–in all of its manifestations–whether it shows up at the workplace, in our politics, or in our homes.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer seven steps to guide business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.


It should be obvious that promoting the advancement of gender equality in the workplace is good for business. It should be, but it’s not.

LiisBeth spoke to Stephanie Dei at Empowerwomen who told us about the Women’s Empowerment Principles. “The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of seven principles that offer guidance to companies on how to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community,” said Dei.

The WEPs are listed here and include things like promoting women’s education, training and professional development, and establishing high-level corporate leadership for gender equality. The WEPs were jointly launched in 2010 by UN Women and the UN Global Compact and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe. The Principles also can inform other stakeholders, including governments, as they engage with business. The WE EMPOWER programme started in January 2018 and runs to the end of December 2019, and hopes to capture some feminist business perspectives.

“For decades, Canada has established itself as a leader for gender equality. The #FlexforEmpowerment campaign serves as an opportunity for companies in Canada to share good practices and be recognized for their work supporting women in the workplace, marketplace and community,” says Anna Falth, Senior Programme Manager and Head of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Secretariat.
Signing signatories to sign the WEPs has been slow to start but is gaining momentum. So far over 2400 companies from around the world have joined the movement with Japan in the lead with 247 and the US in second place with 99. Canada clocks in at 36 signatories and include a range of enterprises from BMO to Bombardier, Mountain Equipment Co-op to LiisBeth. But we can do better.

Dei told us that even though companies are ready to support women’s empowerment in the workplace, many don’t know where to start. She said: “As part of the WE EMPOWER programme, we will publish a booklet of 250 best practices to showcase tangible practices, actions and policy changes that have proven to be effective in the workplace globally (i.e. innovative parental leave policies, flexible work policies, etc.). This booklet will serve as a template for companies who want to make a change but do not know where to begin. They will be able to learn from the experiences of other companies and implement similar policies to begin empowering women in the workplace.”

Last week was BDC Small Business Week, a great time to make a move and share what your business is doing to support equality in the workplace.

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Jess Tomlin, Co-founder, CEO, Equality Fund


It’s complicated. But here goes. The Equality Fund is a collective of 11 feminist organizational partners co-led by Jess Tomlin (former Co-CEO of the MATCH International Women’s Fund), Jessica Houssian (Senior Advisor, Women Moving Millions) and Sophie Gupta (Principal, Yaletown Partners). The fund’s mandate is to advance gender equality globally by creating a more sustainable approach to funding both international grassroots women’s rights organizations directly and Canadian women’s rights organizations who work internationally.

The collective was formed to disrupt the largely broken, drip drip charity model, which at present has grassroots organizations spending more time fundraising than doing the work.

Co-founder and CEO Jess Tomlin says the new model takes unique a multi-sector approach. It invites banks, organizations like Equileap (a gender equality ratings index for publically traded companies), social impact venture funds, plus gender-lens investors across Canada to co-create a suite of new investment products (read: return on social impact investments) and donor opportunities in an effort increase total funds available. Those funds will be deployed in ways that don’t leave these organizations gasping for air every six months.

Conversations are already well underway with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and others. And it looks like the Equality Fund team is already making waves in more ways than one.

“RBC, at first, was reluctant to use the word feminist in its formal description about the new partnership. They were even more concerned about the word activist. So we said, “Okay, we’ll take out activist—if you give us feminist. So now we have a traditional, conservative bank promoting the fact it is supporting a feminist initiative. It’s a first, not only for RBC, but for any bank in Canada.”

What does any of this have to do with feminist entrepreneurs who are struggling to find funding of their own? As Maya Angelou explains “The truth is, no one of us can be free until everyone is free.”

We also think it’s cool that the word “feminist” is quickly becoming a safe word in business–way better, than let’s say Amy Schumer’s “pineapple” in the movie, Trainwreck.

To donate, click here.


Move The Dial Summit 2018
Calling all feminists in STEM! As a nod to our November TECH issue, we’re giving away FOUR TICKETS (value: $450 a pop) to the Move the Dial Global Summit on November 14, in Toronto.

Founder and CEO Jodi Kovitz says “To ensure the design, leadership, and governance tables of businesses in our community—both today and in the future—reflect the entire population (including women-identified people), all of us must take an ‘ALL IN’ approach to inclusion.”

This year’s ‘ALL IN’ event brings together thought leaders, partners, and amazing humans of all identities to connect, learn, and grow. FREE TIX to go to the FIRST FOUR PEOPLE people to comment on Cherry Tan’s story about the mental health struggles of entrepreneurs, Breaking Bad Silence. Don’t live in Toronto? No worries, the event will be livestreamed globally at no charge. You can register to watch here.


FeMasCon is the first annual conference in Toronto with a goal to improving performance within business and governance by utilizing all inherent human attributes. We have historically divided these attributes into feminine and masculine boxes, and this conference seeks to inspire a conversation and new ideas to integrate them fully. Inviting all people, no matter how they self-identify by gender, to realize each of us has access to the entire spectrum of what it is to be human. Learn more at:

Regular tickets are $100 and LIISBETH READERS get a SPECIAL OFFER of $65 by registering with this link.

PLUS…we’ve also got TWO x FREE TIX to the Gala for the FIRST TWO PEOPLE to leave a comment on Kosi’s article published this week.


This inspiring, compelling debut memoir chronicles the experiences of a female captain serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and her journey to make space for herself in a traditionally masculine world.

“In Girls Need Not Apply, Kelly S. Thompson presents us with a masterclass in resilience. With equal parts strength and vulnerability, Thompson navigates what it means to find belonging—and success—in a hyper-masculinized culture that was never built for women. A must-read for those of us who make it our daily habit to smash through age-old, sexist barriers.” – Lauren McKeon, author of F-Bomb: Dispatches From the War on Feminism

Thompson writes with wit and honesty about her own development as a woman and a soldier, unsparingly highlighting truths about her time in the military. In sharply crafted prose, she chronicles the frequent sexism and misogyny she encounters both in training and later in the workplace, and explores her own feelings of pride and loyalty to the Forces, and a family legacy of PTSD, all while searching for an artistic identity in a career that demands conformity. When she sustains a career-altering injury, Thompson fearlessly re-examines her identity as a soldier.

Read the chat with Thompson on 49th Shelf.

Listen to this audio excerpt thanks to Penguin Random House Canada.

This inspiring, compelling debut memoir chronicles the experiences of a female captain serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and her journey to make space for herself in a traditionally masculine world.“In Girls Need Not Apply, Kelly S. Thompson presents us with a masterclass in resilience. With equal parts strength and vulnerability, Thompson navigates what it means to find belonging—and success—in a hyper-masculinized culture that was never built for women. A must-read for those of us who make it our daily habit to smash through age-old, sexist barriers.” – Lauren McKeon, author of F-Bomb: Dispatches From the War on Feminism

Thompson writes with wit and honesty about her own development as a woman and a soldier, unsparingly highlighting truths about her time in the military. In sharply crafted prose, she chronicles the frequent sexism and misogyny she encounters both in training and later in the workplace, and explores her own feelings of pride and loyalty to the Forces, and a family legacy of PTSD, all while searching for an artistic identity in a career that demands conformity. When she sustains a career-altering injury, Thompson fearlessly re-examines her identity as a soldier.

Read the chat with Thompson on 49th Shelf.

Listen to this audio excerpt thanks to Penguin Random House Canada.


  • This article in the Toronto Star reads like a textbook on how to advance women’s rights in businesses and organizations across all sectors. To mark the 90th anniversary of “Persons Day” the Star spoke with leaders across the country about how Canada can do better to execute on its 1929 promise and how far is there still to go?
  • The Women’s Philanthropy Institute released the first-ever report to measure charitable donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations to 45,000+ organizations in the United States identified as being dedicated to women and girls. Turns out these organizations receive a mere 1.6% of all donations. But Melinda Gates for one, is committed to help closing the gender equality. Check out her #WomensPhilanthropy efforts in this Fast Company article and explore the WPI research and download the full report to learn more.
  • From the No More Potlucks blog archives comes a clever piece complete with illustrations from Hazel Meyer and Cait McKinneyTools for the Feminist Present is about the tools of feminist activism…re-imagined as well, tools. Think: hammers, handsaws, wrenches as “persistence chisels” and “headphones of refusal” hanging from a pegboard. Ha! Fun. But also poignant and an homage to The New Woman’s Survival Catalog, published in 1973 by Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie. Their book was a take on the popular Whole Earth Catalog of the time, and a seminal survey of Second Wave feminist efforts, which, as the editors noted in their introduction, represented an “active attempt to reshape culture through changing values and consciousness.”
  • 2019 SheEO Venture Applications are open until November 1! Ventures that are majority-women owned, women-led and aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—or what SheEO calls “working on the World’s To-Do List” are eligible to apply to receive a 0% interest loan from SheEO Activators, coaching, mentorship and support. Everyone who applies gets personalized feedback from SheEO’s community of radically generous Activators, so applying to SheEO is like marketing your business to hundreds of women. Join a Venture interest call for more information about the application process.


That’s a wrap for Dispatch #56!

On other news, let’s do a check-in on our Feminist Enterprise Commons (the FEC) initiative.

The FEC is our new online non-Zuckerberg, surveillance and ad/algorithm free community space where we can privately convene, connect and share our work in progress, ideas or just reach out for a digital hug. We have been talking about our launch date for four months! We hoped to open its doors to you by November 1st, but with the election and all, we couldn’t make the progress we had hoped for to be ready to bring our new service into the world.

However, it has been released in Beta form! We’ve invited 15 patient people to test it out, and progress has been made! Watch for an update in our November newsletter and refresh. Rest assured, we are working on it! You will be receiving an invitation before the end of the year.

As for the newsletter, we hope you found this release of value. We depend on reader donations to continue this work. If you do not currently support LiisBeth with a paid subscription or one-time donation, we hope you will consider doing so.

Also, remember, if you have a story tip, email us a We are currently accepting queries for January and February.

In the meantime, stay in touch with us on Twitter @liisbethHq

Peace out,

Sample Newsletter


Photo by: ANDREW LISHAKOV on Stocksy
“woman screaming loud behind transparent foil”


The Canadian (one of over 200 general elections in the world this year) federal election is on and therefore the mudslinging has begun. Hauling out frightening homophobic and misogynist speeches from one leader’s past, deeply hurtful racist blackface photos from another’s, with more to come, for sure. I hadn’t planned on digging into the election in this newsletter, but with the trajectory of Canada’s future at stake, how can I not?

To me, elections are like spring cleaning. They are a time when we pull things out into the light and re-examine our priorities: What do we want to keep and what we can live without. We conjure Marie Kondo and think about which candidate or party (left-brain analysis aside) sparks joy. We move aside the heavy furniture and take the parliamentary rug out for a good shake— even a beating—in the open air. Not surprisingly, a lot of crud can accumulate in four years.

If we think about elections in this way, my over-riding question in Canada’s upcoming federal election is this: Do we need a new rug or are we better off cleaning up and repairing the one we already have? Can that rug still be useful, can it even give us joy?

In my own efforts to stay informed, I found lots of election analysis and tools which name their idea of key issues and where each party stands: CBC’s Canada Votes, the Globe and MailVice Magazine’s “Everything You Need to Know About…..” series, and the Maclean’s magazine election issue.

But not one of these mainstream sites name women’s equality or gender equity as a key election issue. Incredible, considering women and women-identified people represent 53% of the population. You will see Indigenous issues, crime, students, immigration, manufacturing, and climate change. But gender? Nada. Childcare crops up on one or two, but surely that is an issue for all genders and not the sole concern of women.

As the YWCA “Up For Debate” initiative points out, there has not been a leaders debate on women’s issues in more than 35 years. What were we concerned about then? Reproductive rights, domestic and sexual violence, economic equality, equal political representation? Those issues remain deeply relevant even though, yes, it’s 2019.

So how do we find out where the major federal parties stand on reproductive rights, pay transparency, gender-based violence, closing tax loopholes that benefit only men, the chronic state of funding instability undermining women’s organizations and social movements, or how innovation and economic development dollars continue to favour male-led industries? What about their commitment to new pay-equity legislation, using gender-based assessment tools in policy making, or support for the new Equality Fund and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund?

We tried. We found almost nothing. We at LiisBeth, together with our readers, obviously need to work on changing that. In the meantime, we gathered what few articles and sites that might help you rate the federal parties on issues of particular concern to women and, really, should concern everyone:

If you are ready to take action, we recommend you send a letter to election candidates to tell them you care about gender equality. The Canadian Women’s Foundation has made this action simple. Click here to send a letter now.

So, in sum, does the current rug still spark joy, despite all the crud? 

As for me, I watched Ontario, the province I live in, vote out a deeply unpopular female Liberal premier (who made mistakes, but by many accounts delivered on good policy) and replace her with a male Conservative, carny-style premier and team who campaigned on a buck-a-beer promise. Frankly, it’s been dark time here ever since.

All I can say is there are a lot of people who wanted a new rug, got one, and are now wishing they could get roll it up and toss it out, or at least get rid of the beer stains.




Clockwise from the top: Cynthia Erivo at TIFF 2019, Melody Kuku, Annabel Kalmar, Sarah Kaplan, Cherry-Rose Tan


Margaret DeRosia curates a list of five must-see films for feminist entrepreneurs that screened at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this month. 4 min read

Feminist entrepreneur Melody Kuku’s personal story of resilience redefines the meaning of strength, and is an example of how writing poetry can be an outlet to overcome crisis. 3 min read

Is direct trade the new fair trade? Daphne Gordon discovers why tea producers around the world are partnering with the Canadian-based tea distributor Tea Rebellion. 3 min read

And find out how corporate social responsibility is being reshaped by changing demographics in a Q&A with Sarah Kaplan about her new book, The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation. Feminist Freebie alert! Be the first to comment on this article on LiisBeth and recieve a free copy of Kaplan’s new book! 4 min read

Where can tech entrepreneurs get mental health support? Cherry-Rose Tan shares her story with Mai Nguyen that has inspired others to do the same. 3 min read

Leslie Kern / Photo by Mitchel Raphael


City planning isn’t a new idea. Neither is thinking about how cities, neighbourhoods, communities could be set up in ways that support other sorts of social ideals, including feminist ones. Yet urban planners continue to exclude women’s needs and point of view which leads to isolation, employment barriers, and unsafe streets. When will this change? What impact does this planning have on not only women…but everyone?

Leslie Kern’s second book, The Feminist City: A Field Guide is a collection of essays that invites readers to question the design of urban spaces and ways cities can be more inclusive and safe for everyone.

Here is a 2.5 minute audio clip  of Kern reading from the book. For the 6 minute version, click here.

LiisBeth spoke with Kern on the phone last week from her home in New Brunswick.

Check out the full Q&A here. 4 min read.


Join LiisBeth and Jane’s Walk TO on September 29 in Toronto, for the city’s FIRST-EVER feminist city Walk & Talk. Walk tickets are free. Panel $15/pp. RSVP here. Feminist Freebie!  We are raffling off three complimentary copies of Kern’s new book at the panel talk! But you have to be there to win!

Photo by Daniel Lepôt


Vanessa Trenton of Toronto WON the 2 x Venus Fest tix.

AND Paulina Cameron, CEO for Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) is receiving a A FREE copy of CV Harquail’s book, Feminism: A Key Idea to Business and Society

HUZZAH to you both!


Dr.  Ellie. Cosgrave | The Feminist City | TEDxUCLWomen
[Trigger Warning: mentions of sexual assault]


In ‘The Feminist City’, Dr Ellie Cosgrave uses urban planning to disrupt our thinking about how designing decisions impact different groups based on categories of identity. By weaving in personal experiences and supplementing them with the industrial realities of civil engineering, Ellie shows us how we can recreate the city to enable diverse peoples and bodies to get the very most of the places we live. Through centralising feminist and social justice ideas, Ellie explores how we can fundamentally transform our cities to ensure that no one is excluded from public spaces, or from the resources and opportunities cities have to offer. (Source:

Better Way Alliance on Twitter @BetterWayCAN


It sounds like common sense that employees who are treated fairly would be good for business. But not all employers are created equal. And sometimes common sense…ain’t so common.

But the Better Way Alliance brings together Canadian business owners who value decent work, for everyone’s bottom line and the health of Canada’s economy.

Gilleen Pearce at Better Way Alliance told us the site is starting off as a small murmur but she hopes to build it up with businesses across Canada signing on. “The goal is to prove that support for decent work is building within the business community,” said Pearce, founder of Walk My Dog Toronto, a dog walking service with committed, trained staff who use compassionate positive reinforcement walk methods for your fur babies.

If you believe in a $15 minimum wage, add your name to the growing list of like-minded Canadian businesses at

You can also join the Better Way Alliance conversation and share your story, your mindset, and your ideas about paid sick days, safe workplaces, fair scheduling laws and others ways to build and support Canada’s economy in a fair and just way.

Sign up to be profiled for free here. LiisBeth did!

WMRCC Executive Director Esther Enyolu (Far left to right), Iffat Zehra, and worker cooperative founders including  Sandra Davis and Janet Bennet Cox.


The theme at this year’s Econous 2019 conference (a conference organized by Canadian CED Network in partnership with Community Futures Ontario) was Communities Leading Innovation. Keynote speaker Ted Howard, co-author of a new book, The Making of a Democratic Economy: How to Build Prosperity for the Many, Not the Few, set the tone by asking the 500 attendees why it was easier for most people to imagine the end of earth than the end of 20th century capitalism.

Damn good question.

Luckily, the conference featured two days of workshops and panels that made envisioning a different kind of economy easier.

Of the many ideas and experiments that were shared, one that stood out was an idea by the Women’s Multicultural Resource & Councelling Centre, based in Durham, Ontario; Help entrepreneurs create worker cooperatives.

This two-year project, launched in March 2019 is led by Iffat Zehra, an expert in the field. So far, over six women-led, worker owned cooperatives have been established under her guidance and grown as a result of her ongoing mentorship. Startup co-operative range in size from 5 to 20 women who are all trained in seven principles and as co-owners, the ten-steps of developing a co-operative. The co-ops range in types of industry but include personal support services for seniors, interpretation, cleaning, art, and sewing.

Given increasing inequality and precarious work places, it is not surprising to hear that worker co-ops are growing in number across North America.

Sadly, innovation and startup incubator ecosystems do not offer specialized training for entrepreneurs in how to create co-ops of any kind let alone worker, platform or consumer co-ops. Standard startup curriculum and innovation ecosystems at this point, still remain focused on neoliberal informed wealth creation for owners, versus wealth creation for the local community, co-creators and workers.

If more of us ask for training in co-operative startup formation, perhaps this will change.

Free downloadable! To see if your enterprise idea is right for a worker co-operative model, download a free self-assessment here.

Selene Vakharia, SMRT Women


On a recent trip to Whitehorse, Yukon, LiisBeth had a chance to catch up with Selene Vakharia, co-founder of SMRT Women, a growing women’s entrepreneur network who recently received $28,000 from the federal government’s Women’s Entreneurship Fund to help them build an online academy that aims to support women entrepreneurs in the far North by offering online bootcamps and courses. Vakharia is also a partner and co-producer of “She/Ze Leads the World” the first women’s leadership conference in the North being held November 19 to 21 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Keynote speakers include Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO, and Paulette Senior, CEO and President of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Vakharia says one significant barrier to growth for many women entrepreneurs is limited business experience and a mindset that limits their imagination about what’s possible for both them personally and their enterprises. “We also noticed that when women try something and fail, they tend to translate that into: I suck at everything. Women are really hard on themselves. So they really benefit from participating in networks and groups. They also tend to be reluctant to spend money or invest in their business or invest in themselves in terms of coaching or learning because of the fear they will never make the money back. Confidence and experience is a huge issue.”

Given all the new federal support for women entrepreneurs this year, are things getting better? 

Vakharia says: “Making more resources available to women is great, but it’s only a part of the answer.” For example, what good is access to startup money or empowerment programs when you are dealing with domestic violence (The Yukon one of the highest rate of domestic violence incidents per capita in Canada), mental health issues, or unaffordable child care options. When a new minin operation opens, research indicates a connection to an increase in alcoholism, sex trafficking, and sex worker abuse. Sometimes even being outspoken or having an opinion in a small community can be unsafe. We need a multi-pronged approach if we want to see women entrepreneurs thrive and generate new economic growth.

You can’t just throw money at women. You have to change the culture, and the system too.”

Vakaharia moved to the Yukon from Toronto without having ever set foot in the North.

No lack of confidence there.


Last month we announced our two new board members. This week we’re sharing GrowthWheel’s tips for entrepreneurs on how and why to form a board and the value of diverse opinions when starting or scaling up your business. Good advice in the PDF here.

What is the Feminist Enterprise Commons?  

A new NON-ZUCKERBERG, safe, secure, online community where feminist entrepreneurs and changemakers who are building enterprises or working on side hustle projects can find others doing the same, learn about leadership and enterprise design, operations and growth in a like-minded feminist context, share stories, tools, learnings, stress test new ideas, source goods and services from each other, and above all, feel supported as enterpreneurial activists.

What is the definition of an enterprise?

According to the dictionary:
1. A project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky
2. Unit of economic organization or activity especially: a business organization
3. A systematic purposeful activity, i.e. digital media production is the main economic enterprise for visual artists
4. Or readiness to engage in daring or difficult action; showing initiative; being enterprising

What is a feminist enterprise?

All of the above along with express operational focus or mission related to social and gender justice.


Photo by Daniel Lepôt of Team Canada in a 60-person formation skydive outside of Farnham, Quebec in August, 2019.
Lana Pesch is in the white helmet and teal rig on the bottom left of the formation. Read about the all-women skydiving record she was part of in 2018.
Feats like these takes TRUSTFOCUS and TEAMWORK.
All attributes we revere at LiisBeth.
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Lean Out offers a new and refreshingly candid perspective on what it’s really like for today’s corporate underdogs. Based on both in-depth research and personal experiences, Orr punctures a gaping hole in today’s feminist rhetoric and sews it back up with compelling new arguments for the reasons more women don’t make it to the top and how companies can better incentivize women by actually listening to what they have to say and by rewarding the traits that make them successful.

In Lean Out, Orr uncovers:
Why our pursuit to close the gender gap has come at the expense of female well-being.
The way most career advice books targeting professional women seek to change their behavioir rather than the system.
Why modern feminism has failed to make any progress on its goals for equality.
More than fifty years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, the wage gap still hovers at 80 percent, and only 5 percent of CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women.

This book is a must-read for insights on the impact that reversing systemic gender biases can have on creating more diverse, healthier workplaces for both women and men.” –Joanne Harrell, Senior Director, USA Citizenship, Microsoft

An everyday working woman with a sardonic sense of humour, Orr is an endearing antihero who captures the voice for a new generation of women at work. Lean Out presents a revolutionary path forward, to change the life trajectories of women in the corporate world and beyond. —

The book helped LiisBeth contributor Daphne Gordon make sense of her own ambition. Read Gordon’s take on Lean Outhere.

To go along with our theme of city building and the design put into public spaces…this book is Number One in addressing the politics of where we’re allowed to “go” in public. Adults don’t talk about the business of doing our business. We work on one assumption: the world of public bathrooms is problem- and politics-free. No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs reveals the opposite is true.

No Place To Go is a toilet tour from London to San Francisco to Toronto and beyond. From pay potties to deserted alleyways, No Place To Go is a marriage of urbanism, social narrative, and pop culture that shows the ways – momentous and mockable – public bathrooms just don’t work. Like, for the homeless, who, faced with no place to go sometimes literally take to the streets. (Ever heard of a municipal poop map?) For people with invisible disabilities, such as Crohn’s disease, who stay home rather than risk soiling themselves on public transit routes. For girls who quit sports teams because they don’t want to run to the edge of the pitch to pee. Celebrities like Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen have protested bathroom bills that will stomp on the rights of transpeople. And where was Hillary Clinton after she arrived back to the stage late after the first commercial break of the live-televised Democratic leadership debate in December 2015? Stuck in a queue for the women’s bathroom.

Peel back the layers on public bathrooms and it’s clear many more people want for good access than have it. Public bathroom access is about cities, society, design, movement, and equity. The real question is: Why are public toilets so crappy? — Coach House Books


  • Appropriation Alert! Did Al Ries and Steve Blank, two engineers who made millions by articulating and branding the Lean Startup methodology which is now taught as startup gospel everywhere steal their ideas from feminist thought leaders? Find out more here.
  • Celebrated journalist Sally Armstrong is the CBC’s 2019 Massey Lecturer and argues that improving the status of women is critical to our collective survival. The Canadian tour‘Power Shift: The Longest Revolution’, starts September 25 and The book version of the 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution, is published by House of Anansi Press. Available as of Sept. 17, 2019.
  • Greta Thunberg isn’t the only one making waves about our climate crisis. Here’s ELLE’s list of 26 other women leading the charge to protect our environment.
  • The Government of Canada has launched the Canada Business App to help business owners navigate services, get recommendations tailored to your business, find answers on how to scale up, access new markets, and more. LiisBeth met a government rep on site at this press conference last month in Toronto and said they welcome any feedback on the app. Give it a try and give them your feedback.
  • Whaat? Can it get any weirder? Today, it seems more men than women proudly call themselves feminists. Why? Likely because women still fear repercussions from both men and women, while men have realized it makes super promotable–or perhaps a the very least more dateable). Regardless, studies show that over 58% (men and women) of the world’s population identify as feminist.  Still,  Apple programmed Siri to avoid the word “feminism“; In a cowardly move, Apple brass have ceded cultural terrain on basic gender equality to far-right sophists. #shameonyou

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #55!

This is our BIGGEST newsletter and online magazine features release yet! When you combine this with the fact we have added three new amazing board members this year, a new editorial assistant to ensure queries are answered more quickly, will be launching a new online network (Feminst Enterprise Commons) and have created a feminist city walk in Toronto in partnership with Jane’s Walk that at present has 160 people signed up (Yikes!), all we can say is that we are clearly entering into a new phase of our community’s growth and development.

Thank you for being there, being with us, encouraging us, and calling us out when we do something stupid! 

If you do not currently support LiisBeth with a paid subscription or one-time donation, we hope you will consider doing so. There are less than four 500 reader+ feminist publications in Canada. We are the ONLY intersectional feminist publication in the world dedicated entirely to examining entrepreneurship and innovation via a feminist lens.  And one of a few media outlets that are women-led/owned.

We are a source of fair income for feminist writers, academics, and grassroots thought leaders. And we are feminist economy boosters open to partnering, collaborating and learning new things.

Also, remember, if you have a story tip, email us a We are currently accepting queries for January and February.

See you after the Canadian election (Oct 21st). International readers–wish us well.  The next release is scheduled for October 25th-ish!

Peace Out,