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Our Voices

The Politics and Practices of a Feminist Entrepreneur

Line of of illustrated men in suites with hedgehog in the line up looking fierce
Images by Grodno, Belarus and Christos Georghiou |Shutterstock| Mash up by pk mutch

I remember the sting felt while listening to speakers at a small business conference ten years ago. It was there that I sensed alienating and regressive elements about the small business space. Table talk centered to the political right, and sometimes far right of center. I sensed contradictions between the values speakers espoused and their operating practices. For example, firms that showcased donations to local food banks while paying temp workers $14.00 per hour to minimize labour costs. It became evident who in the room had power through voice and who did not. This moment has not left me. Further forays into small business spaces have reinforced my initial impressions.

Small business communities are not, of course, homogeneous. In my experience, the pulsing heart remains male-dominated, conservative, and increasingly populist. When it comes to advocating for justice, diversity and inclusion, its leaders are more likely to push for initiatives that put money in owner pockets without consideration how they might affect a wider group of others.

Given the size and power of the small business community, those of us working for change should be concerned. Social change makers cannot ignore Canada’s small business community. From 1.2 million incorporated, for-profit enterprises in Canada: only 380 (.0003%) are ‘Business for Good’ BCorps. 

Business as a force for good?

It’s 2022. The world is on fire. I am getting impatient. Being a conformer in business is not enough. If we want a better world, we need progressive small business owners to put their weight behind advocacy and organizations working for social and economic justice. 

History has shown that for-profit founders can be powerful allies to movements for justice. In the 18th century, small business traders and merchants helped peasants and serfs accelerate change from feudalism to capitalism. Dutch bankers risked their lives by leveraging their wealth to resist the Nazis in the early 1940s. We can look to the founding of women-owned credit unions in the 1970s. Today, small business owners have been successful in fighting interest rate hikes and landing COVID-related recovery measures. Small business advocates are powerful when they want to be. The community knows how to organize and have impact, when its interests are perceived to be at risk.

If today’s economic system that shapes our lives is hurting most of us, doesn’t it make sense for small business owners to challenge capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and other forms of oppression?

In Canada, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 97.9% of all incorporated companies. 53.8% are companies with 1 to 4 employees – including the founder – employing 67.7% or 7.7 million Canadians. These businesses generate 37.5% of private sector GDP. Women-majority owned businesses represents only 16% of incorporated SMEs, and another 13% are equally owned by men and women.

Clearly, the small business part of our economy is big, influential, and while women are making progress, still mostly male-led.  

The small business entity is unique from it’s large, often publicly traded, hired CEO-led counterparts in that these founders have considerable freedom to choose and operationalize their politics and values. They can also pivot and implement changes quickly. Given this freedom, and the weight and size of the Canadian small business community in aggregate, it has the power to change — everything. Instead, it primarily chooses to work at maintaining and perpetuating the status quo.

This set me on a journey. 

Are there others looking to re-imagine the role of small enterprise in these times of growing, grotesque inequality? Are there other founders interested in leveraging their passion for innovation, fairness, inclusion, resilience building and enterprise crafting to help dismantle rather than protect capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy?

Intersectional feminist Entrepreneurship – a porchlight in the storm

Turns out there was.

However, finding the feminist entrepreneurship community was a bit like finding a stick insect in a forest. They were there, but they’re hard to find. This required patience and persistence.

But find them I did.

The feminist enterprise community is an informal, intergenerational, diverse, international group of brave pioneers who are scattered across the world. The composition includes feminist thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, writers, artists, academics, activists, corporate ex-pats, and dreamers. Today, they are my core community of practice-as-a-feminist entrepreneurs.

Our conversations and debates cracked me  open and let the light in. Online meet-ups and in-person conferences, and ongoing debates provide nourishment, support, teaching and provocation Through these experiences, I have emerged from beneath a heavy blanket of no longer relevant beliefs, values and teachings, including those espoused in my MBA courses—accumulated and internalized as unassailable truths gathered over the decades.

Come Sit At Our Table

Today I am a proud and vocal feminist entrepreneur. I do business very, very differently because of what I have learned.

I dream of a day when saying ‘We are a feminist business’, tells people what the enterprise stands for. But first, we need more people to understand what feminist founders believe and what feminist enterprise community is about.

So, draw up a chair, and let me share what I have learned from my teachers:

  1. It’s not new. Feminist enterprise crafting goes back to long before suffragette days. There have always been folks who align their enterprise skills and ability to marshal resources with social movements.
  2. Intersectionality rules: Feminist entrepreneurship as a field and practice are predicated on Kimberlé Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality which reoriented today’s feminist work to focus on ending all oppressions because they are all ultimately linked.
  3. Not only women: The feminist enterprise movement includes all people, trans, queer and those who experience gender-based oppression.
  4. How to tap bountiful alternative resources: Most feminist enterprises are bootstrapped. Why? Founder independence and progressive politics turn off many investors and corporations. By necessity, founders work to grow and sustain their enterprises by working like individual hydrae in nature’s underground mycelial networks—adapting, collaborating, sending and receiving and sharing, so each has what they need and so that the whole is ultimately stronger.
  5. Deep learning and questioning: The feminist entrepreneurship community demands deep study beyond topics like mastering social media. To unearth viable, innovative alternatives, we dig into radical and subversive ideas for insight. We examine the thought leadership of Karl Marx, adrienne maree brown, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Raeworth, Alicia Garza, Vandana Shiva, Nick Srnicek, CV Harquail,  Dr. Barbara Orser, Tim Jackson–not just Lean Startup by Al Reiss. We co-create, elevate radical, alternative ideas for leading, designing, growing enterprises that are missed in mainstream entrepreneurship education and support programs.
  6. It’s about the how: Feminist entrepreneurs prioritize how versus why and what of enterprise work. We think about how systems of oppression work, are embedded and perpetuated in how they operate. We work to liberate or disassociate our venture practices from these systems.
  7. The personal and organizational is political: Feminist entrepreneurs are fiercely, transparently political, and careful about who gets our time, attention and money. We march. We write to our elected officials. We don’t do business with founders who are trans-exclusionary, businesses who fund alt-right or anti-choice organizations.
  8. Non-extractive: We see ourselves as accountable, stewards of resources not masters of extraction.
  9. Solidarity: We support indie feminist activists, feminist media and feminist organizations including nonprofits, collectives, and non-registered grassroots initiatives. We see the feminist economy as one big sisterhood, undivided by legal formation choices.
  10. We have fun. This is a love centered, loyal, joyous, complex community that is re-learning what it means to build post capitalist enterprises.

This all said, we are not yet organized as a strong political voice. But we are working on it. It is critical that we do this work to sustain our collective voices, have resources to be allies, and mobilize this small business body politic.

Workshop at the 2018 Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum. Over 200 attendees participated.

Growing the new, inside the old

The feminist entrepreneur’s movement remains an outlier. It’s not an idea. It’s a practice. 

It is ignored by labour, the left, and side-eyed by some who see feminist entrepreneurs as neoliberal lipstick capitalists.  Mainstream entrepreneurship and small business people think we burn bras for a living.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

If we are to build a post 20th century capitalist world in which all can thrive, we need activists and movements to take a closer look at the small business space as an ally and to find ways to mobilize individual change makers within it.

We need entrepreneurship educators and training institutions to overhaul programming—which emphasize enterprise skills and knowledge developed in the 1990s.

Just imagine if all SMEs were a force behind transforming capitalism towards a healthier, fairer, market-based system that operates in anti-oppressive, non-extractive, human-centered ways of strengthening community! 

Imagine if they are not. 

Related Reading

Activism & Action Our Voices

Coping with Activist Burnout in Extraordinary Times

Illustration of a woman weilding a sword with text that says heal your warrior
Illustration by John Mutch

Each week, I am privileged to lead “check in” calls for several communities of feminist enterprise activists– people who create and leverage their enterprises to support feminism plus other social and eco-justice movements they believe in.


If you were a fly on the screen in one of these conversations you would witness compassion, friendship, plus a few heart-quickening, Hannah-Gadsby-style “fuck that shit” rants that that generate both laughs and tears. You would hear stories of both the inner and outer work (not sure which is more difficult) required to work to advance social justice; and the mother-bear creativity and grit that goes into resourcing an enterprise that resists patriarchal, extractive capitalistic and winner- take-all-entrepreneurship creeds.

In your notebook, you might write “activist communities are awesome,” and maybe underline it twice.

However, in these past two weeks, you would have witnessed a community processing pain, dealing with feelings of powerlessness (does anything we do really matter?) and sheer exhaustion. You would also notice that the groups are smaller than usual—because even regulars in these meet ups can’t bear to talk about the horrific events of the past several weeks just yet.  In your notebook, you might write this in big bold letters:


While still reeling from the pandemic, we witnessed what was basically a snuff film on social media—the slow, public execution of a Black man by a sadist cop and three fellow officers. And while all eyes were on George Floyd protests, we also learned that Chantal Moore, an Indigenous woman, was shot five times by an officer performing a wellness check in New Brunswick. Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black Toronto woman, “fell” 24 stories after police arrived at her home to check on her, and Caleb Tubila Njoko, a London ON man, who died under similar circumstances. In Dallas, a Black trans-woman, Lyanna Dior, was beaten by mob of Black and other racialized men, underlining the critical need for an intersectional lens on racism, reminding that all Black lives matter .

While protests raged, Louisiana and several states threw up new obstacles to access to abortion, provoking more protests. And we heard yet more news about increases in domestic violence around the world during COVID lock downs.

I could go on. And on.

Change makers are hopeful that innovative new policies may result, but history tells us that overarching systems of oppression (patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy, to name a few) are not easily dismantled, even when we seemed primed to embrace change.

Despite Roosevelt’s New Deal in the ‘30s, the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s, another revival of feminism in the ‘70s, building environmental movement over the past 40 years, still gross economic inequality, racism and misogyny (led by misogynist-in-chief Donald Trump) rages on.

All this, along with pandemic related unpaid work (home schooling anyone?), no wonder activists are questioning whether real change will result this time — and feeling burned out.

Why Activist Burnout BURNS

You might feel burnout toiling for an over-demanding, clueless boss or in a soul-sucking work culture. But you can always escape by changing who you work for.

But activists struggling to change a system are stuck working in that system.

Studies on activist burnout highlight unique stressors: slowness of progress, lack of resources to affect change, consequences of being a systems outsider, the weight of the emotional labour required to develop a “deep understanding of overwhelming social conditions related to suffering and oppression.”

Symptoms are similar to other forms of burnout: physical depletion, insomnia, negative thinking, depression, anxiety, lags in attention and memory, poor health, procrastination and increased substance abuse.

Those can trigger activists to withdraw entirely—at the very time they are most needed. Like now.

How to Heal Yourself—and Others

Annahid Dashtgard is a Canadian, author, change-maker and co-founder of Anima Leadership, a highly respected international consulting company supporting transformational change, especially in areas of diversity and inclusion. Previously Dashtgard helped lead the anti-corporate globalization movement (including organizing the 100,000 strong anti-globalization demonstration in Quebec in April, 2001) and has frequently been referred to as one of the top activists to watch.

In her recent book, Breaking the Ocean, Dashtgard writes about her 20-plus years as an activist. “Saving the world was a relationship of passion requiring fidelity and obsession…there was never any time for here and now. My activism and identity became one.” And burnout was the consequence.

Dashtgard says activist burnout results when we push beyond what we and our bodies can sustain. She advises activists to “Go at the speed of your own nervous system,”  as well as “learn to say no”and “unplug when you feel you need to.” She reminds us that “not a single one of the systemic issues any of us are working to change is going to change overnight, so pace accordingly.”

To those feeling despair, Dashtgard reminds us that activism does lead to positive change– history shows that, over time, “the arc of the universe tends towards morality.”

When it comes to guiding activist-led enterprises, she cautions against reacting too quickly to current events. “Often there’s such urgency to jump into action, but any change efforts need to be built on a solid foundation.” She recommends talking to people and gathering perspectives before taking next steps.  “The answers are often in the group, and often unfold through a process of listening as much as directing.”

Caring for the Movement

As well as heeding sound self-care advice, we can also experience a recharge by caring for our movements and each other. How? Consider this additional advice from other long-time activists:

  1. Write Activist Love Letters: Syrus Marcus Ware, a Black Lives Matter and trans rights activist, encourages people to think about their role in sustaining movements by writing love letters to activist leaders. He has personally mailed thousands of letters around the world to activists and organizations “as a salve to heal activist burnout.” Ware adds, “It’s [also] been amazing to get replies and be connected to activists around the globe.” Imagine the shot of energy we could bring if we each wrote five love letters to people working hard to change the world?
  2. Shift Your Focus: If the glacial pace of change gets you down, one way to refill your cup of hope is to take your eyes off the sky (the big picture) and focus on the ground – at the “emergent forms of life in the cracks of the Empire” — advice from Joyful Militancy authors carla bergman and Nick Montgomery. Activist-led experiments and startups below the radar are doing amazing work. Find them. Collaborate. Nourish them. Your support in whatever form that takes can make make an impact in ways that are felt right now versus decades from now.
  3. Say Yes to Pleasure: In Pleasure Activism, author adrienne maree brown suggests making space for pleasure – it’s a fierce form of resistance and critical for changing the world and staying resilient in fucked-up times. She recommends that we get in touch with our erotic and deep desires as part of our resiliency practice. “I touch my own skin, and it tells me that before there was any harm, there was miracle.” Tantalize your senses, take your mind on a trip, open up to great sex, take delight in the very beauty of existing.


We know that unless systems of oppression are dismantled, none of us will be free. If we don’t re-imagine our economic system, a handful of predominately white male billionaires will continue to call the shots. With rampant environmental destruction, Mother Earth will echo George Floyd’s now iconic plea “I can’t breathe” for years to come– and we will all suffer.

But we can’t do this vital work when we’re suffering to the point of burn out.  Self care, yes. But also remember that just being alive is a miracle worth celebrating everyday. Take a look at the flowers growing in between the cracks in the cement, cracks you are creating.  They will remind you that a better world is possible and indeed emerging.

LiisBeth is one the few indie, 100% womxn-led and owned media outlets in North America. If you enjoyed this article, please consider becoming a subscriber donor today! [direct-stripe value=”ds1577108717283″]


Related Reading

Breaking Bad Silence

Cherry Rose Tan created a forum for entrepreneurs to talk about what they thought unspeakable—the mental health struggles of entrepreneurs.

Read More »
Sample Newsletter


Photo of Ani DiFranco, Righteous Babes Tour Poster


To detox from a full day of narratives about entrepreneurship from a technology sector point of view at Toronto’s recent mega technology sector conference, #Collision, I turned to Ani DiFranco and her newly released memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream. 

It was such a joy to read.

DiFranco is an award winning, singer-songwriter who embraces the activist label as well as being a political and feminist entrepreneur. She has sold over 5.5 million albums—on her own terms. In fact, DiFranco was one of the first artists to create her own label back in the early 1990s. She built her fan base by playing gig after gig in tiny bars and at off-beat music festivals…for two decades. She has been celebrated and vilified for her views. Not to mention her “bad feminist” moments. But many have looked to her for inspiration on how to stay authentic while building growing a successful, values-led enterprise.

As a flawed human and fiercely independent entrepreneur with ambitions to build a sustainable enterprise, I sometimes ask myself after attending tech sector events like #Collision, where it’s easy to get caught up in the intoxicating and chromatic entrepreneurship narratives, “am I doing it “right”? After all, if everyone else is out there  practicing lean startup methodology and signing with a “label,”—the tech equivalent to inking a deal with a VC—or learning the right way to pitch so they can get into a hot accelerator, shouldn’t I be doing the same? If I want to see my enterprise and everyone involved with it thrive, shouldn’t I be playing along?

Fortunately, a line from page 115 of DiFranco’s book 115 helped me answer that question.

Difranco writes, “I think my one shining gift in life has been to know who my teachers are and to follow them around looking for ways to be at their service. It was easy for me to turn down record deals because I didn’t find any of my teachers in the music industry spheres.“


It’s so important for those of us going against the grain to find the right teachers. Finding the right teachers means knowing who you are, understanding what you want, and finding ways to connect with the people you want to learn from.

It’s also important to find—or build from scratch—the right community. Not an echo chamber, but a community that has the capacity to challenge you, and hold you accountable. In DiFranco’s case, that community was her fan base.

I sometimes imagine what DiFranco’s music would have been like if, as a young entrepreneur, she had attended the music industry’s equivalent of events like #Collision. What if she believed going after only mass markets was the only way to succeed, and signed that record deal? I shudder at the thought of her dressed up and behaving like a Pussycat Doll, smiling and singing: “I’m telling you to loosen up my buttons baby (uh huh)”, instead of showing up in jeans, shaved head and a t-shirt singing: “Science chases money and money chases its tail / And the best minds of my generation can’t make bail.” A few lyrics from Garden of Simple, Ani DiFranco

DiFranco’s record label Righteous Babes includes a touring company, a retail operation, a music publisher, and a foundation, all in addition to the label. Annual revenues are reported to be approximately $5M. The company employs over 20 people. Righteous Babes purchased a 19th century church in Buffalo, NY, and converted it into a 1200 seat concert hall called appropriately—Babeville.

Now let’s think about that. Take it in. And then ask yourself how the next Ani DiFranco or outspoken political, activist entrepreneur with no desire to compromise or “exit”, might go about finding relevant support, or the right teacher, within today’s impressive maze start up ecosystems?



Pleasure Activism book launch by
Another Story Book Shop at Lula Lounge in Toronto


adrienne maree brown is an author, doula, women’s rights activist and black feminist based in Detroit, Michigan. And a revolutionary.

Known for her best seller, Emergent Strategy and now, Pleasure Activism, she addresses ways we can shape our often heavy social change work into meaningful, collaborative, pleasurable experiences. LiisBeth caught up with AMB in Toronto at her Pleasure Activism book launch.

In our interview with AMB after the show, we asked Brown what it would take to create a socially just world and about her experience as the Executive Director of The Ruckus Society, a multi-racial network of trainers dedicated to ecological justice and social change movements. Listen to the audio recording here. Or read about it all here!


The Coupon code LIISBETH will be good for 15% off Pleasure Activism books at from May 31 through June 30.

Paul and Ruby McConnell


It’s summer (sort of). The outdoor cannabis growing season is here. We felt it was time to check in once again with women cannabis entrepreneurs. Which led us to these two incredible stories.

Full Circle C02 Comes Full Circle?

When Ruby McConnell’s co-owned cannabis company, Full Circle CO2, was about to be shut down due to local protests, she used her small town Oregon community connections to stop the closure. And instead of filing a grievance over the shut down effort, she asked to join the rules-making committee to prevent such a thing from happening to others. She was the only female processor in the room.

McConnell’s “canary in the goldmine” story is what a female cannabis entrepreneur’s journey looks like in a new industry and environment where everyone is still sorting out how to interpret new legislation. It’s also a place where not everyone is pleased to see cannabis become legalized. Her harrowing experience gives the phrase “reefer madness” a whole new meaning. Her advice and insight is pure gold.  You can read the full story here.

PHOTO of Reena Rampersad / PHOTO CREDIT: Mai Nguyen


Women in grassroots agriculture, food, and health and wellness enterprises shaped, nourished and tilled the market for today’s legal cannabis industry. But it didn’t take long for the patriarchy to take over once legalization was on the table.

Today, only eight out of 99 licensed cannabis companies in Canada who have public information available, are headed by women.

While women’s role in society has changed and afforded new possibilities to many, the way power works and who has power, clearly has not.

Still, women entrepreneurs like Reena Rampersad, are forging ahead. Rampersad is also uniquely mindful of the importance of creating opportunities within this new sector for marginalized, socially oppressed communities who have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition for a very long time.

Learn more about Reena’s story here.

Jonathan Hera, founder of Marigold Capital



Jonathan Hera, Managing Partner of Marigold Capital, is happy to help by offering a one hour complimentary investment readiness coaching session to the first LiisBeth reader to *meaningfully* comment on this month’s adrienne maree brown interview article!

Jonathan Hera is one of Canada’s leading impact and gender lens investors. Marigold Capital is specifically looking to invest in enterprises that advance social justice while providing just returns for investors. You can learn more about him and Marigold’s $20M Canadian fund here.

Marigold Capital is the first venture fund in Canada to sign up to The Billion Dollar Fund for women’s initiatives which invites venture capital fund companies to increase the number of women-led companies within their investment portfolios. At present, still less than 12% of all venture funding goes to venture capital eligible women-led companies. For an idea of what Marigold looks for in company, download their handy guide here.

To be the first to comment on the AMB article and claim your reward here!


Filmmaker Barbara Hager used this photo as a vision statement to illustrate how she would be collaborating with communities in the production of 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus. It was included in information packages sent to community members and used by her team as the basis for presentations to Chiefs and Band Councils.


On May 10th, Ontario Creates held an informative session for non-Indigenous content creators regarding protocols for working with Indigenous communities. The report, “A Media Production Guide to Working with First nations, Métis and Inuit Communities, Cultures, Concepts, and Stories” was released in March, 2019, and covers etiquette, proper consent and permission, and best practices related to working on Indigenous lands, working with Indigenous content, working in Indigenous communities, working with Indigenous crew or cast, working with archival materials, releases, and marketing and distribution strategies.

The practices recommended can, and perhaps should be extended to anyone working with content that might involve community or individual sensitivities.

You can download the report here.


Everyone reading this newsletter is aware of the mind blowing anti-reproductive rights legislation wave in the United States.

If you are outside the U.S., and/or believe it can’t happen where you live, think again.

Here in Canada, Bloc Quebecois MP Monique Pauzé recently asked for unanimous consent on a motion asking the Canadian House of Commons to “reiterate that a woman’s body belongs to her and her alone, and to recognize her right to choose an abortion regardless of the reason.” Everyone stood, except the Conservative Party members. Canada’s federal election is in October, 2019.

Kellee Maize

About 14 hours after the motion in the House of Commons, we received an email from Kellee Maize, an internationally-renowned independent rapper/singer, motivational speaker, activist, feminist, and entrepreneur based in Pittsburgh, PA. Maize found us on social media and asked us to share this abortion-ban protest video she created as a way to voice her rage and mobilize resistance.

It took us about one second or less after watching it to say yes. We encourage you all to watch it as well, and share widely.


Artist Ness Lee and writer Vivek Shraya discuss Death Threat, a compelling act of resistance in the form of a comic book published by Arsenal Pulp Press

Hecklers in real life. Internet trolls that tell you to piss off. All part of the scene for women who work online or dare to use their voice in public.  But descriptive death threats? That’s a whole other level.

When Vivek Shraya, a transfeminine person of colour started receiving vivid death threats, she decided to turn her hate mail into a graphic novel. Talk about resilience.

Vive la resistance Vivek.  You can get a copy of her book here.


Champagne Thomson, LiisBeth Assistant Editor

Soooo incredibly happy to have Champagne Thomson on board as Assistant Editor for LiisBeth Magazine. Thomson will be be reviewing queries, helping with event planning and supporting the growing Liisbeth community in general!

Thomson is a Human Rights and Equity Studies student at York University with extensive work and volunteer experience in grassroots NGOs across Ontario.  Her passion for social justice and equity (rather than equality) has led her to work in harm reduction VAW and anti-Human Trafficking shelters but also to conduct anti-oppressive, feminist research aspiring towards bettering the world in which we all are meant to share peacefully. Thomson has also worked with newcomers, youth, and can speak with varying levels of proficiency in Ojibwe, ASL, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

Oh, and she also has an obsession for houseplants and waterfalls. Welcome Champ!


Marika Arovuo’s interview with Gina Romero, Co-Founder of Connected Women. In the last year, the organization hosted 167 meetups that had over 7000 attendees in 47 cities across 6 countries includingPakistan, Singapore, UK, Philippines and more. [14 minutes]

The interconnectedness of all things…and people.

Here are two organizations that are connecting women on a global scale. 

Above, Marika Arovuo hosted the first Canadian Connnected Women meetup in Toronto in April 2019. Aruovo grew up in a Finnish farm village, started her tech journey after high school by studying computer science in a class of 30 boys, and this week was newly elected as the President of the Canada-Finland Chamber of Commerce. After living and working on three continents, she now runs her digital marketing agency, GRIT Online and has been employing women from the global community of tech-powered women entrepreneurs, freelancers and professionals for the past 13 years. Aruovo fully supports the idea of connecting talented female virtual assistants with female entrepreneurs around the world.

Speaking of international women’s networking organizations, LiisBeth was recently introduced to WOW (World Wide Network of Women). WOW Canada held their launch dinner Toronto 2019 earlier this month at the Gladstone Hotel. WOW got its start in Lisbon, Portugal. What stood out for us? The European tone and sensibility. And the fact that speakers spoke knowledgeably about feminism, fearlessly took on the patriarchy, equity the workplace, colonization and were great examples of reformists and radical new world-builders. Local organizer Maike Althouse says the launch dinner was just the beginning. Watch for more on WOW in the coming year!

WOW Dinner, May 21, 2019 at the Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, Canada. From Left to Right:  Val Fox, The Pivotal Point, Canadian Federal Government’s Minister of Small Business and Export Development, Mary Ng, WOW Founder Isabel van der Kolk, and LiisBeth Publisher, PK Mutch


Politicians, investors and entrepreneurs everywhere are betting on AI’s ability to refresh and drive new economic potential (unless you live in Ontario, where our “Open for Business” Premier actually cut funding). But what does the average entrepreneur or person really know about AI and how to use it?

Via our collaboration with Allied Media, we are pleased to be able to share a downloadable guide that will help you unravel what the fuss is all bout.

Written in 2018 by Mimi Onuoha and Mother Cyborg (Diana Nucera), A People’s Guide to AI is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to understanding AI and other data-driven tech. The guide uses a popular education approach to explore and explain AI-based technologies so that everyone—from youth to seniors, and from non-techies to experts—has the chance to think critically about the kinds of futures automated technologies can bring.

The mission of A People’s Guide to AI is to open up conversation around AI by demystifying, situating, and shifting the narrative about what types of use cases AI can have for everyday people.

You can download it here.

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OK LiisBethians, we are changing it up a bit! This poll is going to be different.

First, LiisBeth is SUPER excited to announce its Feminist City Series which includes a collection of articles, profiles and an event focused on how cities can advance gender equity by design.  

The series will launch during Gender Equality Week coming up September 23-29th, 2019. Commissioning is under way!

So, this time instead of a story vote, we have a feminist city vote!

Here is a link to the 3 minute survey! We can’t wait to hear your ideas. Your thoughts will help us source the kinds of stories for this timely initiative.

A reminder the winning pitch from May is: A story of the legacy left behind following the Wakefield, UK miners’ strike which was famously supported by gay and lesbian organizations—and serves as an example of an intersectional movement long before the word was coined. Readers are wondering what Wakefield is like now? Did activism have a lasting impact? Watch out for the story in the fall.


Libby Davies has worked steadfastly for social justice both inside parliament and out on the streets for more than four decades. At nineteen, Davies became a community organizer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She went on to serve in municipal and then federal politics, advancing to the role of Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party.

Davies looks back on her remarkable life and career with candid humour and heart-rending honesty. She addresses the challenges of her work on homelessness, sex workers’ rights, and ending drug prohibition. She illuminates the human strengths and foibles at the core of each issue, her own as well as those of her colleagues and activist allies. Davies’ astute political analysis offers an insider’s perspective that never loses touch with the people she fights alongside. Outside In is both a political and personal memoir of Davies’ forty years of work at the intersection of politics and social movements. – BTL Books

“Libby’s memoir isn’t only a personal journey of strength and resilience, but also an incredible story of a passionate social organizer who became one of the finest politicians in Canada. In today’s state of pathetic populism, Libby’s personal political account is an inspiration for citizens looking for real change.” – Monia Mazigh, author of Hope Has Two Daughters

This is a manifesto for the 99 percent.

Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, inadequate healthcare, border policing, climate change—these are not what you ordinarily hear feminists talking about. But aren’t they the biggest issues for the vast majority of women around the globe?

Taking as its inspiration the new wave of feminist militancy that has erupted globally, this manifesto makes a simple but powerful case: feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism. Feminism must be anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist.

“[The authors] cut through the corporate feminist ‘Lean In’ noise to offer a feminism rooted not just in intersectionality of identity but also in economic justice. After years of books on feminism that have started to say the same thing, everyone (not just women!) should buy this one.”

[Arruzza, Bhattacharya, and Fraser] have collaborated and written what is effectively a prospective programme for the global women’s movement, a feminist manifesto for the 99%.”Socialism Today


  • Dames Making Games programs provide accessible space, instruction and mentorship for diverse game makers. DMG offers a wide range of free events, workshops, resources and services to genderqueer, nonbinary, femme people, Two Spirit people, and trans and cis women. DMG prioritizes people who are traditionally marginalized in tech and game spaces, especially those whom DMG specifically serves, as well as people who are racialized, neurodiverse, and/or have disabilities. DMG is an explicitly feminist space but open to any and all genders. DMG expects their members to do the same. Become a member or submit a workshop proposal here.
  • In May, 40 members of New York’s Power Bitches gathered to talk about feminist entrepreneurship. Find out what they had to say in founder Rachel Hill’s summary article “Six Thoughts on Feminist Business” here.
  • Kerry Clare, author and blogger writes a post on her blog, Pickle Me This, titled: Women who say no. A wise and healthy reminder about the value of time. “The most feminist thing I’ve done lately was send an email including the line, “It sounds like a great event, but to do the job effectively it would take up a bunch of my time and I can’t afford to do that for free.”
  • From the 2018 archives: “Right up there with more sales is more diversity,” says ZJ Zadley, HR strategist and community builder who is passionate about diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, and building brands that candidates love. Listen to Hadley is in conversation with Rotman MBA Student Fellow (2017-18) Vanessa Ko in this BEYOND THE BUSINESS CASE podcast. “Track what you’re doing. If you’re not looking at analytics and measuring those things [hiring practices] you’re not going to be able to act appropriately.” Ko talks to Hadley about the state of gender diversity in the startup world. Listen to THE STARTUP ‘GENDER PROBLEM’ episode here. [12 minutes]

That was newsletter #53! It brings you up to date!

Our next full newsletter will be a combined July/August edition scheduled for release on July 29th! Just in time for the long weekend! On the roster includes a profile on social entrepreneur and women’s advocate, Pramilla Ramdahani, a review of CV Harquails’ long awaited first book “Feminism: A Key Idea for Society & Business”, plus much more!

Also watch for short announcements about LiisBeth’s initiatives and plans for the coming months!

You might also want to check out our new “About Page” and “Sponsor Page” and note that we changed our tagline from “Dispatches for Feminist Entrepreneurs” to “Dispatches for Feminist Changemakers”.

We felt that was more representative of what our community of readers and supporters has grown into over the past three, yes THREE years!

Also remember, if you have a story tip, email us a

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A happy, shiny, summer solstice to you all!