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Photo By Thais Ramos Varela


Creating a Feminist City: We Rise By Lifting Others

The other day, I came across an article written by the incredible Mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena Castrillo (elected in 2015) in which she wrote about Madrid’s commitment to “to promoting gender equality and fighting the continued discrimination which women face daily.” Then I did a little more research.

I was blown away.

In the article, Mayor Castrillo lists the plethora of innovative initiatives and programs that the Madrid City Council have underway to advance gender equity including “Spaces of Equality” which among other things work to legitimize women’s knowledge and provide them with a safe space to question gender roles defined by patriarchal society, and offering funded, extra curricular programming to “raise awareness and mobilize the population around issues of equality by disseminating the great contributions brought by feminism and implications around the concept of gender.” Not one to mince words, Castrillo goes on to say “Our society needs a breakthrough and profound transformation in this regard. The structural inequality between women and men takes many forms …[including] the alarming rise in macho attitudes among the younger generation. These forms of inequality require a determined and firm response from all of us.”

Let’s pause for a moment. Can you imagine the Mayor of your city even mentioning the word patriarchy at a Board of Trade luncheon or economic club? Or launching a new program to educate citizens about the contributions of its-heretofore mostly maligned feminist community? I can’t. I live in Toronto.

Introducing the Feminist City
There is a strong business case behind the idea that a Feminist City would produce incredible economic development opportunities – so why aren’t all city mayors rushing to become one?

And what if we could rank cities according to how desirable they were for women to live, work and play? What if this equated with sustainable economic growth for all?

If we could pinpoint and, hence, strengthen factors that would attract women and in particular, women entrepreneurs and investors, to move to a city, what might those factors be? Safety in all areas of a city, during day and night? A thriving diverse women-led entrepreneurship ecosystem. A feminist enterprise district? A thriving and well connected feminist community? A self-identified feminist Mayor?.

Sound attractive? We could call this The Feminist City.

Imagine the sign on the highway as you cross into city limits: Welcome to The Feminist City: We Rise by Lifting Others. Please Take Our Values Home.

Read more about the feminist city idea in the full VIEWPOINT essay here,


100% woman owned and queer feminist lead, The Gladstone Hotel is located in Toronto, Canada

New ideas must use old buildings.” – Jane Jacobs

Artist, activist, and entrepreneurial feminist Christina Zeidler runs the Gladstone Hotel, Canada’s first B-Corp hotel. Lana Pesch visits the Inn With Agency that operates under an anti-oppressive feminist framework. Zeidler and her team are challenging the status-quo…one magic pony at a time. Read the feature story here.

Rivera Sun, author of The Dandelion Insurrection and workshop facilitator at the 2018 Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum

Solutionary Ideas From a Love-Based Revolutionary

Rivera Sun, author of the Dandelion Insurrection Trilogy, says she has fantasized about running away to Canada. Sun grew up on an organic farm in Northern Maine, but now lives in New Mexico–even further away!

Though oh-so-close at one time, Sun has never had the opportunity to check out our native land first hand. Until now. Sun arrives in Toronto on December 2nd by invitation to facilitate a workshop at the Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum on how entrepreneurs and business leaders can leverage non-violent activism to drive systems change.

In this interview Sun says, “Change doesn’t just happen through protest. It doesn’t just happen – for regular people anyway – through calling politicians or senators. And it doesn’t usually just happen through buying the right goods as individuals. It happens when we organize. It happens when we look at the whole system, identify what’s holding us back, and starts when we begin working with others — and connecting our enterprises and organizations in ways that leverage each other’s strengths to drive the desired change.”

Check out more Rivera’s thoughts on enterprise-based activism on LiisBeth this month by clicking here.

It’s Campaign Season! If you think our advocacy for women and gender-non conforming entrepreneurs is worthy, or you find our content of value professionally, we hope you will consider contributing to our 2018 Patreon Fund Raising Campaign. Each online magazine refresh and newsletter takes a community to create and disseminate. We have 2000+ subscribers, but less than 30% contribute financially. We are open access and rely 100% on reader donations. Our impact is measurable. So if social justice and economic transformation are on your intentions and gratitude list this year, here’s your chance to donate to LiisBeth. 

Lana Pesch, LiisBeth Newsletter and Associate Editor, at the Made by Feminists GH Marketplace in the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom


Win the t-shirt that speaks for itself by being the first 2 people to TAKE OUR SURVEY TODAY  and drop us a note here when you’re finished. We’re on the home stretch but we still need a few more responses before we can publish results.

We sold a few of these at the FAC markets at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto last month and the first feminist entrepreneurship t-shirt is available for $32 here. Use the LiisBeth reader discount code LIISBETH10 for a 10% discount!

LiisBeth is not in the t-shirt business, which is why we partnered with Jamie “Boots” Marshall so you can #buywomenled. Marshall owns and runs Boots Tees, an online shop for her t-shirts, art, and other fun stuff. Her hobbies include: reading, board games, and fighting the patriarchy.


The 2018 Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum in Toronto less than A WEEK away!

NEW ADDITION!  Lunchtime writing sessions led by Sarah Seleckyauthor and creator of Sarah Selecky Writing School.
Sarah believes good writing needs heart, consciousness, skill, and presence

What else? Three thought provoking foundational talks, three deep dive lab sessions, six 90 minute “think and do” workshops, two embodied movement classes, journaling and creative writing break rooms, a poster sessionreception and more!
Full speaker bios and session details here

Tix are still available!
$299 for ALL sessions // $99 for Students — For TWO WHOLE DAYS!  
Get your tickets here

ONE DAY PASSES ALSO AVAILABLE for December 2nd or 3rd

Read about our official transportation partner, child care support + local dog walking services below! 


Kids, Dogs, and Automobiles

Can’t get a sitter? Pooch need a pee? The 2018 EFFs has all your dog walking, childcare and local transport covered!

Jack Jackson of DoggyDatesToronto is available to provide dog walking services while you’re attending a session and ticket holders’ little ones can be left with Helm, Toronto’s leading babysitting app. Download the Helm app HERE.

Our official transportation partnerDriveHer is the new alternative & safe ride-sharing service dedicated to women by women. Uber for women but without all the deliquency. DriveHer’s priority is to help you arrive safely, comfortably and in style. Click HERE to download the ride sharing app.


Turning the Grey Tsunami into the Silver Economy

If you’ve got an hour to spare, the video above is 60 minutes worth of wisdom, advice, and inspiration from Helen Hirsh Spence and others about finding purpose post retirement.

She was a disruptor in the 60s and 70s and now she is disrupting in her 60s and 70s. The 69 year-old  started Top Sixty Over Sixty when she discovered seniors’ superpower: invisibility. Unless you’re wearing Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility, feeling unseen can erode a person’s confidence and be damaging. Spence wanted to create something that would undo that damage. Top Sixty Over Sixty is a platform to celebrate, educate and amplify the positive impact of older Canadians. “We should be maximizing and growing the potential of older people and seeing them as an asset as opposed a detriment,” says Spence. “It’s about a change of mindset.” And entrepreneurial opportunities for Boomers abound in areas like housing and transportation, health and well-being, education and learning, fashion and design.

The site houses articles like Best Before Dates are for Products Not People, dispelling commonly held myths about ageing, entrepreneurship and generational differences, like:

  • older people are less reliable in the workforce

  • you can’t train older people

  • older people are taking jobs away from young people

Spence developed the ReSet program which is a series of modules that focuses on reducing ageism, helping older adults redesign their future and also increase their entrepreneurial mindset to facilitate better multigenerational teams. “In a youth obsessed culture very often we’re looking at the frailty or older people, not their energy.” The program was supported by Ontario Centre of Workforce Innovation and Ryerson UniversityOut of 48 participants, 44 were women, and people like Vicki Jasperse (also in the video up top), jewelry artisan/entrepreneur, gained validation from the course to understand that she was on the right track.

Spence is in the process of evaluating next steps and is following her own consult: “Contrary to what you thinkthere’s nothing that stands in your way other than your own mindset.”

Good advice at any age.

Francesca Da Costa

Welcome Francesca Da Costa! 

LiisBeth’s new Advisory Board Member is Director Of Philanthropy at The MATCH International Women’s Fund. She is a fundraiser, diplomat, community advocate, entrepreneur, volunteer, foster parent, and foundation builder. Francesca believes we all have the power—and responsibility—to make our communities a better place for all. As a former intelligence and security officer for Global Affairs Canada, she has lived in and traveled to over a dozen countries. It is these experiences that have formed the foundation of her career and a desire to “do more” and we are thrilled to have her join the team.

We are still looking for two additional directors to join and diversify our board. If you, or someone you know is interested in advancing entrepreneurial feminismwe would love to hear from you! Drop us a email here outlining your interest.

From the UK’s The Poola 7 minute video from author and brand communications maven Mary Portas about five ways to improve your working life and your sense of yourself. The tips are taken from her new book Work Like a Woman and include being vulnerable in a confident way and supporting other women.

From left to right: MP Arif VeraniHeather GambleMinister Mary MgPK Mutch

Last month in Ottawa, we gifted Minister Ng with one of our signature t-shirts. She was pleased with message and promised to wear it the next time she announces more funding support for Women Entrepreneurs.  

Lana’s cat, Neil


We’re stunned with how many good queries come to LiisBeth and sometimes it’s hard to know what readers want. So we thought we’d do it the feminist way and ask you directly! 

Below are the top 3 story ideas we’ve received recently:

1. The Duality of Entrepreneurial “Struggle Porn” and Unseen Women’s Labor from a business owner in the gaming industry
2. Portrait of Swedish Feminist Party leader Gudrun Shyman
3. Women are the backbone of Africa’s labor force but lack of opportunities, gender-based violence and policies reduce their ability to advance. Why a conducive environment for African women to thrive makes sense.

VOTE HERE on the one you want to read most.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash


Recipients of last month’s FEMINIST FREEBIES:

Tickets to the Move The Dial event went to:
Golnaz Golnaraghi, Toronto, ON

WE Connect conference pass was won by:
Golnaz Golnaraghi, Toronto, ON

3 signed copies of Gender Physics went to:
Alyson Nyiri, Wroxeter, ON
Heidi Phillips, Santa Barbara, CA
C. V. Harquail, Chicago, OH

YES! We still have three signed copies of Betty-Ann Heggie’s new bookGender Physics! The first three people to do the energy evaluation quiz (that under a minute to complete) and send their response (including their address) to: will receive the next three copies. FREE! Old school in the mail! (unless you’re at the EFFs)


Financialization not only refers to the incredible power of the financial sector over economics and politics, it also refers to the creep of financial ideas, metaphors, narratives and measurements throughout society and culture more broadly.  Examining a wide range of examples and case studies, this book argues that, at the same time as popular culture and everyday life are increasingly saturated by a financial idiom, the financial sector as a whole is more deeply invested than ever in everyday life and culture writ large. From the security culture of Walmart to children’s play with Pokémon trading cards, from the hype around the “creative economy” to the economics of austerity and precariousness, this book seeks to reveal financialization at work where we might least expect to find it. In an age when seemingly imaginary financial assets determine the fates of whole economies, this book suggests we take the idea of “fictitious capital” seriously as a way to understand the power of finance, and what might be done to stop it.

Where are we right now? With feminism and all that? There was the vote. We got the vote, which was lovely. Then there was work, and the pill, and sexual liberation, which was all great, and today there’s #MeToo, and Beyoncé, and something else – something like a sinking feeling: a realisation that these might have been a series of battles won, rather than the war promisedMeg Wolitzer’s 11th novel sympathetically satirises this complicated landscape of contemporary feminism, while also pressing knowingly against these bruises. ” – Eva Wiseman, The GuardianThe Female Persuasion (Penguin Random House) deals with female mentorship, power, ambition and how a single encounter can forever change a person. It’s a story about an intergenerational female friendship encompassing
ideas of influence, ego, and loyalty in Wolitzer’s signature wise and witty style.

Wolitzer’s social commentary can be as funny as it is queasily on target.” The Wall Street Journal


  • On Nov 5th, the Canadian government revealed a list of seven “alternative model” venture funds who will receive some piece of $50M in federal venture capital money which they in turn, can invest in companies. Great idea. The only problem is that only one of the funds is woman-led (Pique Ventures, Vancouver B.C.). All the other recipient venture firms are male dominated. And tech/STEM focused. Not very alternative in our books. We say to Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Minister Bains-good initiative overall. But uncreative, status quo perpetuating selection criteria. #patriarchy

  • Our book recommendation from last month won the Governor’s General’s Award for Fiction! Sarah Henstra’s The Red Word was among the seven English language books announced in November. Listen to Henstra on CBC radio here. (12 minute segment)

  • Do Women’s Networking Events Move the Needle on Equality? The short answer: yes. Author Shawn Achor wrote this article in the Harvard Business Review full of stats about the power of connection, and it’s not just about gender. (See you at the EFFs!)

  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is everyday, but especially this past week, on November 19th, following the WEDO Summit (Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization) at the UN in New York City. See who attended the summit here.

  • Nearly 9.1M firms in the US are owned by women and generate $1.4 trillion in sales. Celebrate #ChooseWOMEN on November 28th, by joining the greatest movement to empower women in business. Click here to join

  • In a recent survey, The Girl Guides of Canada found out what teens in Canada really think and how girls start to experience gender inequality at age 11. The good news is by having these tough conversations, girls can get the tools to grow their confidence and reach their full potential. Read the full report here.

That brings us to the end of our November newsletter. You’ll see a website refresh and newsletter mid-December, 2018, after we come up for air post-EFFs.

Did you read something of value in this newsletter?

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