Artistic Expression of Inner Strength, Hope and Courage with Uli Ostermann

via Christina Rowsell Media

"Meaning"© Uli Ostermann 39" x 39" Acrylic on Canvas
If art is meant to represent the essence of emotion and express what lies in the depths of an artist’s soul, then Uli Ostermann’s work is the epitome of that definition. 

The artist’s minimalist approach to her work reflects the purity and simplicity of her values. Focusing on developing a language that consists of symbols and colours to convey her powerful messages, Ostermann’s work speaks of the importance of such themes as discovering our individuality and creativity, finding inner strength, self-belief, hope and courage.

“Believing in yourself...knowing what you can do, who you are, getting back to self-respect...a lot of people don’t learn that any more,” says Ostermann with obvious concern for the human condition. 

A perfect example of her art conveying a connected and spiritual message is in a piece entitled, “The One You Feed.” Based on the well-known parable of the two wolves that live inside each of us, Ostermann’s painting depicts a wolf in a semi-circle (representing a bowl). “The bowl is a symbol for an open soul, just to let things come to you, just to learn, not to lose hope...believe in yourself, have courage, let go and be open for something new.”

"The One You Feed"by Uli Ostermann 96" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas
Immigrating from Germany in 1997 with three children, Ostermann has had occasion to experience and interpret through art the many changes and adaptations required to successfully adjust to life in a new country.

“It was an interesting journey,” she remarks. “You have to have an open mind to emigrate; you have to have flexibility to deal with circumstances, think out of the box...You have to find a balance to adjust and still be yourself...You make new friends, your thinking changes in a new country and you lose old friends; they don’t understand you any more.”

Of the many inspiring messages in Ostermann’s work, one of the most common themes is that of change. “Dealing with changes, that’s certainly in my paintings,” she acknowledges. “Life is always in constant change, being in the flow, developing...” 

Ostermann is deliberate in her use of specific shapes and colours. For example, she uses loops to represent social interactions, such as the intensity of relationships in crowds. “Grey is a problem zone,” she explains, adding that she uses “...special colours like orange or black [to] transport emotion.” 

With compassion and empathy for humanity being central to her life, Ostermann’s paintings reflect the challenges we face in navigating our complex world. And more importantly, the powerful yet simple values to which we must return if we are to find true connection - or reconnection - to ourselves and others. 

Featuring Uli Ostermann, Solo Exhibition runs July 7 to 28 at Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art 908, 17 Avenue S.W. “Ostermann says, “You will not find one typical style in my paintings – although you can recognize my ” handwriting” – but there is one typical theme in them and that is mainly the individual. I believe in the therapeutic power of colours. I’m also interested in the concept of an art work as well as being spontaneous while painting, but always trying to pursue a rather minimalist style.”

About Uli Ostermann

© Uli Ostermann
Her art was once called a mixture of meditation, poetry and a kind of examination of psychological processes. It is the belief in the therapeutic power of colours that fascinates her, using this medium and combining abstract painting with symbolism. If it is not about pure abstraction, then it is predominantly about inner psychological processes and changes of an individual in social systems. In this case she often uses loops standing for relationships, for connections of all kinds or for networking, and especially as a symbol for the density of social interactions. The latter, she calls the space of not knowing everything – in which misunderstandings lead to mistrust, to tension and possible destruction. Watch for grey loops with black background. Visit http://www.uliostermann.com/ for more information.


Former Speed Skater Talks about Life and Love Through Art - Todd Lachance


Landscapes & Figures at Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art

Painting © Todd Lachance www.toddlachance.ca
It seems that life speeds past us faster and faster all the time. We blink and another week or another month has passed. It doesn’t help that our culture has developed an unhealthy relationship with its devices that are meant to keep us connected but in fact, they are a huge distraction, making us miss too many precious moments in real time, and in person.

Calgary artist, Todd Lachance, knows all about speeding through life, albeit as a former nationally-ranked long track speed skater. He made it as far as Olympic trials before his lifelong passion for art became his career focus. 

Painting © Todd Lachance www.toddlachance.ca
Lachance’s stunning paintings capture the essence and heart of moments in time, like precious snippets that once gone would never be witnessed again. Whether the striking Alberta landscape or the faces of his beloved children, Lachance’s art evokes a depth of emotion that mere words cannot express. A forgotten memory, perhaps bittersweet the innocence of childhood the very threads of life and love that touch all of us are masterfully and powerfully portrayed in every stroke of this gifted artist’s brush.

Lachance’s story-telling art will be exhibited at Michelangelo Fine Art Gallery for most of June. “I think a lot of our stories are told for us all the time now,” he offers somewhat wistfully, “whereas maybe a couple hundred years ago, people were looking at a Rembrandt. They didn’t have television or movies or cell phones. They didn’t even have photography. Now I think it’s a real challenge to try to grab that person’s attention and hold it, and make up a story in their head.”

During the exhibition, Lachance will tell part of the story of his relationship with his father. The two have always been close and on the afternoon of June 4, Lachance will paint his father’s portrait at the gallery where the public can enjoy witnessing the process as well as the love and the sense of humour that these two men share.

Barbara La Pointe, owner of the gallery, says, “Todd Lachance’s representational Realism revolutionizes Alberta landscape painting. He is a master at expanding basic compositional techniques and portraying the contemporary while timeless realities of the landscape in majestic Alberta.”

Timeless, indeed, not just in his magnificent landscape paintings but in capturing those precious moments in life that might otherwise slip past, unnoticed. 

Exhibition runs from June 2nd to June 30th, 2016 at Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art, #112, 908 17 Avenue SW.

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by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


More Than A Roof Over by Yohan Ricardo Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art


The famous artist, Edgar Degas, said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” This has never been more true than in the works of Yohan Ricardo, a Cuban artist who made Canada his home 15 years ago. Ricardo, a deep-thinking, philosophical and keenly observant man, finds profound meaning in virtually all aspects of life, and in particular, in architecture and his environment.

© Yohan Ricardo via Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art
"The Truth of Greatness"
“I realized when I first arrived to Canada, I needed to find a new identity,” he offers. “I was no longer in my own country and homeland.” Wondering how he could incorporate both cultures that were powerful parts of his life, he used his lifelong love of architectural structure and elements to bring the two worlds together in his vibrant, colourful art.

At least as important to Ricardo is that his art is meaningful. “I want my work to be thought-provoking. I want to have a message in there...to capture that attention...I want a philosophy behind the piece.”

© Yohan Ricardo
via Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art

"Tower of Hope"
Socially aware and deeply principled, Ricardo’s opinions and experiences are expressed in his art. Many of his pieces have taken years to produce as he works his magic, layering shapes and textures along with vivid colours that ultimately convey what was in his heart. 

About the bright colours in many of his pieces, Ricardo explains, “[It] lifts spirits. The colour represents my identity. [It presents] a strong point of view. I want to be original; my presentation has to be different.”

Ricardo knew from early childhood that he wanted to pursue art but his parents insisted that he must focus on traditional academics instead. It was years before he found his way to following his heart and his passion, ultimately finishing university in 1997 with a degree in Fine Arts and Pedagogical Sciences, and later teaching students with varied backgrounds and challenges.

When asked why he is so passionate about art, he explains, "To be able to create art is a gift from God...people can change society through art...”

© Yohan Ricardo via Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art
"Portrait In Red"
Ricardo’s intricate and highly symbolic paintings make us see what he sees in society, culture, in life for all it is — and isn’t. Every image, indeed every brush stroke has significance and represents a message, a thought or an idea that Ricardo feels compelled to share, validating the words of Degas from so many years ago.

From April 29 to May 20, 2016, Michelangelo Fine Art is featuring the works of Yohan Ricardo in an exhibition entitled “More Than A Roof Over.” The artist will be in attendance at the opening reception, affording a perfect opportunity to learn about the complex and interesting man behind the thought-provoking art that he so loves — and needs —  to create.


Her Name Is Ashley - She's Homeless

by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

© Photo: Christina Rowsell
Her name is Ashley.

I met her in the parking lot.  I was coming out of Chapters.  My boys and I were looking for new books that they could enjoy and bring home. My youngest picked out yet another dinosaur book.  He has at least a hundred other dinosaur books at home. But, this one has a DVD movie that it comes with.  My oldest son is into chapter books.  He’s so much more advanced at reading than I was at his age.  He picked out a Star Wars book.  He’s so excited because it has 412 pages.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with 412 pages. Not when I was 8 years old that’s for sure.

As we were walking across the dark parking lot at 7:00 at night, a young woman came up to us and spoke in a very soft voice. “Excuse me,” she said politely. “I’m homeless and I’m looking for enough money so I can get a place to stay tonight.”

She stopped me right in my tracks. I walked my boys over to the side, out of the way from any traffic that might come up.  I asked her, reiterating what she just said, “You’re looking for money so you can have a place to stay tonight?” She replied, “Yes.”  I said, “What about the homeless shelter?” She came back with, “I usually get turned away from most shelters because I don’t have any children. I’ve been using the system to get on wait lists, but there’s a three-year list. If I go to the emergency shelter, they usually reserve spots for anyone who has been abused or have children.”

I started to look into her eyes.  I was trying to see if I could tell if she was telling the truth.  I asked her how old she was. “23,” she replied. She went on to say that several months ago she lost her job and that she has arthritis and scoliosis. She explained that it was difficult for her to find a job because of her health limitations. “I usually do office jobs, and it’s very difficult for me because of my arthritis.”

She has such a pretty face. She didn’t seem high or like she was 'on' anything. I trusted her. I opened my wallet and said to her, “Please use this money to get yourself some help and a place to stay. Use this money to help yourself.” Then I handed her $20. She gave me a simple, “Thank you.”

My boys and I then walked away. My youngest asked me, “Why is she homeless? Why don’t we just bring her home and help her.” I replied saying, “Well, we don’t really know her.  We don’t know much about her.” I went on to say, “You can’t always trust someone you meet on the street.” But those words made me feel sad.  I want to trust her and help her.  I can’t help but think of my brother who always came to me asking for help. My mind started to wonder, thinking about my brother who I lost almost 9 years ago now. There are days where I ask myself if I did enough to help my brother. And now I’m wondering if I did enough to help Ashley.

The boys and I got back into the car. The boys were buckled and wanted to hold onto their new books. So I took a moment to open our new books, take the stickers and wrapping off and hand them to the boys in the back. Just as I put the car in reverse and was looking backwards my youngest looked right at me and said, “There she is.” I turned around, and there was Ashley, right in front of my car. Partially pulled out of the parking spot, I put the car in park. I rolled down the window and in a polite voice she said, “Excuse me. I’m homeless and I’m looking for enough money so I can get a place to stay tonight.” She said it as if she never met me. She said it as if she said it a million times that day. I said to her, “Ashley it’s me. I just helped you and gave you $20.” She said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m blind in one eye.”

I took this time to learn a bit more.  She talked about the system and how she’s been trying to get help.  How she’s on waiting lists and how she can’t get much help because she’s young, no children and not in an abusive situation.  Pretty much that same conversation as we had before. I asked her if she tried welfare. Having been on welfare when I was 19, I know it’s not much, but it’s something.  She replied saying, “They won’t give it to me because I don’t have a home.  I need to have an address.” So I asked her if she had family? Without much emotion, like she’s told this story before too, she said her father has a drug addiction. She doesn’t have much of a relationship with her mother.  She dropped out of school when she was 14 and left home at the same time. I asked if she had any siblings. To which she replied, “I have two younger sisters. They live with my mother.” Still prying, I asked her if she thought about leaving Alberta, while the economy is so bad.  She said, “I’ve lived here my whole life, “But lots of people ask me if I’ve ever thought of going west.”

Realizing I was partially blocking traffic, I pulled forward. I looked Ashley in the eye and said to her, “I need you to know why I want to help you. I lost my brother. And he too went through some tough times, and I often wonder if I did enough to help him.” For the first time I saw a bit of emotion in her face. Not much, but enough to know that I’ve made a connection with this young lady. 

Now I want to know how I can find her again. In my mind, I want to make sure she’s okay, and want to check up on her. I asked her, “If I want to find you again, how can I do that? Where will you be?” She said, “Here. I’m here most of the time. Right now all I need is $15 more to get my place for the night.” I asked, “How do you get a place.” She answered, “I go on kijiji and find places that people rent for the night. I usually spend 8 hours a day here trying to get enough money for one night.” At this point I’m not about to ask her how she goes on kijiji. I open my wallet and give her another $20. This time her thank-you was heartfelt. She looked a little surprised. She was very grateful. It’s as though I felt a load lifted off her shoulders.

Looking over her attire I said to her, “You’re very lucky that the weather has been quite warm this winter.” She went on to tell me that it’s been pretty good. There was one woman who came back to her to give her a winter coat.  She said it was perfect timing because the next day it was -25. I suggested to her that she should take her hood off, so that she wouldn’t come across as hiding something. She said, “I can’t. My hair is so matted, I don’t want people to see that.” I asked, “Because you haven’t cleaned it?” She nodded. I also noticed that her gloves had a hole in the thumb. I then turned on my interior light. I had a winter headband in my center console. I’ve only warn it once. When the wind is strong I need to cover up my ears or I get a headache. I have 3 more at home. I gave it to her. She was extremely grateful. I said, I have some gloves too. She holds up her glove with the hole in it and says, “Yes, these ones are pretty worn.” I have a pair of gloves I keep in my car for those bitter days walking my boys to school. I gave them to her. Again, she’s grateful. Next, I look on the passenger seat and there’s some nacho chips. They’re my oldest sons chips. I ask him if I can give them to her. He says, “Sure.” I look out at her and ask her if she’s hungry and show her the chips. Her eyes light up and says, “Are you sure? Yes please.” I also had some chocolate Kit Kat bites and hand them to her. “Oh I like chocolate.”

I leave her with some last thoughts. “Stay strong. Know that you’ll be great. There’s so much for you to do in this world. Stay away from drugs. Stay away from bad men. Stay strong.” She smiles and says, “I will.”

She walks away into the parking lot of cars.  I will go back and check on her. But, what I want to know, is there more I can do?

Follow @RadioChristina

by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


Sanford Williams Master Carver

by Christina Rowsell
via www.sanfordwilliams.com

His heart as a boy was torn. Those he loved and trusted abused not only him, but his friends and loved ones. He found peace through his love of carving.

Sanford Williams is a master carver.

© www.sanfordwilliams.com

© www.sanfordwilliams.com
© www.sanfordwilliams.com 
© www.sanfordwilliams.com
His work is carved through heart, soul, passion and a place of healing. After enduring abuse from a residential school in the 70's, Williams chose carving instead of substance when it came to coping.

Ironically, the deep cuts in his carvings were what lead him to heal. For over 30 years Williams has perfected his art. The precision in these magnificent carvings is like no other. With no books or others to emulate, Williams learned how to create his craft knowing only the ways of his ancestors.

Watch this beautiful five minute video that describes the talent that has become Sanford Williams.  From the backwoods of Friendly Cove to suddenly finding attention from big city collectors — including the Vancouver Canucks. Williams has retained the charm and authenticity of being "the real deal" — a trait that so many people have come to love about his work and character.



Car Seat Safety, Calgary Reads, ABC's of Preschool with Calgary's Child Magazine

by Christina Rowsell
via +Ellen Percival Calgary's Child Magazine

Join me as I walk you through Calgary's Child Magazine.  I'll talk to Steacy Collyer - Executive Director with Calgary Reads.  A thriving community where all children read with confidence and joy. Unfortunately, some Calgary children have few or no books of their own at home.  Steacy will tell us about a collaboration with Calgary Reads and the Calgary Food Bank, helping give books to children.

Plus, bundling up and car seat safety.  Carol Beringer with Alberta Health Services - the Provincial Injury Prevention Coordinator - says the experts advise against dressing children in bulky snowsuits when they are in the car seats.  Carol will walk us through the best way to staying warm and safe at the same time.

And, Ellen Percival, Publisher of Calgary's Child Magazine is here with the ABC's of preschool.  Finding the preschool that works best for you and your child requires some research.  It starts with asking questions. Ellen will give you a list of questions you should be asking.  Visit www.calgaryschild.com for more information.

Listen in here - https://soundcloud.com/user-276177695/calgarys-child-magazine-january-2016

by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


Calgary's Child Magazine In Conversation

by Christina Rowsell

Welcome to the first audio show with Calgary's Child Magazine. Calgary's Child is the trusted source for news and information for families in and around Calgary.

I had the chance to talk to Patty Kilgallon chief executive officer with The Children's Cottage Society.  They are dedicated to preventing harm and neglect to children and to build strong families through support services.  We're at a time of year where we see families come together to celebrate the season, but it's not easy for everyone.  The Children's Cottage ensures that children in our community have strong foundations for healthy physical and emotional development.  I asked patty for some tips for families who want to make sure they're providing this for their children.  Patty takes us through a conversation that reminds us to ask for help.

Patty reminds us that today's families are doing their best for their children.  At this time of year it's a good reminder that everyone needs physical activity, nutrition and to do everything in moderation. Sometimes stress issues start to get to the point where parents become irritable and sometimes take it out on their children.  This is when we need to take a step back and reach out to support systems. The Children's Cottage is there for families who don't have that support in place.  Listen to the interview for some great reminders about reaching out for help. Visit http://childrenscottage.ab.ca/.

We also talked to Tammy Johnston. Tammy is a financial advisor and author of A Financial Foundations Story.  Tammy takes a holistic approach to working with their clients.  Tammy came up with the concept of Financial Foundations. Tammy focuses on educating her clients on how money works and how to ask questions.  The one question that she always gets is, "Do you have anything I can use to teach my children?"  Well – yes she does.  That is when Tammy came up with the concept of Financial Foundations.  

With the tough economy right now and Christmas around the corner, Tammy has some great tips on the interview on how to start the conversation with our children and letting them know that this Christmas might be different from last year.  For more information visit www.thefinancialguides.com

Plus, Ellen Percival, Publisher of Calgary's Child gives us some great tips on how to have the perfect picture with Santa.  Ellen reminds us that Santa's elves are trained professionals!  Visit www.calgaryschild.com

Join the conversation at https://soundcloud.com/user-276177695/calgaryschilddec-2015.

by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


German Supermarket EDEKA Commercial

by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

What does family mean to you?  Although we all live busy lives, the warm memories of loved ones comforts our soul.  This commercial from a supermarket in Germany EDEKA really reminds us to reach out to those you love! Grab a tissue - I had to watch it twice to get through the tears.

by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


Jack Henry Hilton Typhoon Fighter Pilot WWII

by Christina Rowsell
via ChristinaRowsell.com

© Jack Henry Hilton
Jack Henry Hilton, a 96 year old Typhoon Fighter Pilot from WWII with the Royal Canadian Air Force will be signing his new book, “The Saga of a Canadian Typhoon Fighter Pilot.”

Hilton was recently awarded the Knight of Legion of Honour Medal from the Government of France. Even though he has received numerous medals, Hilton does not consider himself a hero. He says, “The real heroes are the ones that didn’t come home.”

During the second World War, Hilton experienced being shot down, had anti-aircraft fire sandblasts and crash landed more times than he would like to talk about. But, its the men that didn’t come home that live in his memory. Hilton’s squadron lost half of their pilots every 90 days. Of the 28 men he deployed with, Hilton was one of only 8 that returned.

His story is one that movies are made of. This Airdrie, Alberta veteran admits that he doesn’t “deserve all this attention.” On October 9, 2015, Hilton received the French Legion of Honour Medal for his services at the Alliance Francaise in downtown Calgary.

You are invited to WWII Veteran Jack Henry Hilton’s book signing.
The Saga of A Canadian
 Typhoon Fighter Pilot
by Jack Henry Hilton

Late January, Chapters at Cross Iron Mills - I'll keep you posted on the exact date and timing. 

“The Saga of a Canadian Typhoon Fighter Pilot” is also available at Chapters/Indigo to order from their kiosk in softcover: http://bit.ly/1QHTeKa and in Kindle format at:http://amzn.to/1HslVsC

See Jack on CTV News here https://youtu.be/thD6iqkDkDU


Halloween Partners For Safety Calgary's Child Magazine

by Christina Rowsell
via Calgary's Child Magazine

Halloween is on a Saturday this year!  Trick-or-Treaters will be out in full force.  We want to make sure that children stay safe!  For the 21st year, the Calgary Partners for Safety will be patrolling our streets with easy access to help.


For Costume Safety, Trick or Treating Tips, and Tips for Grown Up, visit www.calgaryschild.com


Princesses and SuperHeroes Make-A-Wish® Southern Alberta

On Saturday, October 17, Make-A-Wish® Southern Alberta will be presenting our inaugural Princesses and Superheroes Family Gala. “We are very excited to celebrate 20 years of granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions,” says Kim Anthony, CEO, Make-A-Wish Southern Alberta. 

All Princesses and Superheroes will share in a magical experience by walking the red carpet, enjoying a gala dinner and family dance, and joining their favourite Princesses and Superheroes for a live-action musical performance. 

The real Superheroes are our wish children.  We will have a special guest participating in our Family Gala.  Wish kid, Sean, will be the DJ for the Family Dance.  Sean’s wish was to meet Deadmau5 who had inspired him to try DJ’ing.  Sean’s wish to meet Deadmau5 came true and now he wants to give back to Make-A-Wish by providing his DJ services for our Princesses & Superheroes Family Gala.

Proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions in Southern Alberta. 

WHAT:             Make-A-Wish Southern AB Princesses & Superheroes Family Gala
WHEN:             Saturday, October 17, 5:00 PM- 9:00 PM
WHERE:           TELUS Spark, 220 St Georges Dr. NE, Caglary, AB

Get your event tickets now:
Regular Price:
Adults: $175.00
Children: $100.00
Table (seats 8): $1100

Make-A-Wish® Southern Alberta grants the wishes of children living with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.


Companies That Are Leading The Way For Gender Equality

by Aimee King

Image Credit Pixabay
Despite the great strides that have been made towards global gender equality in recent years, the gap between men and women is still shockingly wide. As The Guardian reported last fall, it will take 81 years for the worldwide gender gap to close if progress continues at the current rate. As of last year, women had just 60 percent of the standing of men worldwide—taking into consideration factors such as female economic participation, education, health, and political involvement. 

While some countries, such as Iceland and Finland, have managed to significantly close their gender gaps, others are lagging behind. For instance, the UK has dropped six places on the WEF Global Gender Gap Index since the 2013 report, coming in 26th on the list of most gender equal societies. Meanwhile, in the US, women only earn about 78 cents to a man’s dollar—a number that is even lower for those females who are black or Latina, 
as reported by CNN

In order to effect change for women across the globe, many corporations and individuals are addressing gender inequality in various ways, whether it be within their own business or beyond the walls of the workplace. Here are several companies who are working to combat gender stereotypes by promoting equality through their products, wages, and initiatives. 


Marc Benioff, CEO of the US cloud-based software company, made news recently when he announced he would be examining the salaries of all 16,000 Salesforce employees to make sure both men and women are being compensated fairly. He’s already given some women raises after finding differences in their pay but expects to hand out more, 
according to Financial Post. Benioff said that by the time the process is complete, there would no longer be a pay gap. He added, “My job is to make sure that women are treated 100 percent equally at Salesforce in pay, opportunity and advancement.”

Tootsa MacGinty

Founded in 2011 by fashion veteran Kate Pietrasik (who had previously designed for brands such as Hilfiger and Roxy), this company was born out of a direct response to gender stereotypes. Upon moving to England, Pietrasik was disappointed to find that any sort of fashionable children's clothing featured in stores was usually segregated by gender. Taking things into her own hands, she launched 
Tootsa, a brand that focuses on creating pieces that are “bright and cheerful and as colorful as a paintbox” rather than those that are geared toward only boys or girls. In the short time since its inception, the clothing company has expanded to include an adult collection as well. They now offer knitwear that can be worn at any age and by any gender. 

Calvert Investments

In 2004, the US investment company launched the 
Calvert Women’s Principles (CWP), the first global code of corporate conduct focused exclusively on empowering, advancing, and investing in women. Designed to provide companies with specific, measurable goals for achieving gender equality in areas such as pay, hiring, and career development, CWP offers corporations a set of standards against which they can assess and improve their performance toward women’s empowerment. 

L'Oreal Canada

This past June, 
L’Oreal Canada received EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) “MOVE” Certification, becoming the first company in Canada, as well as the first subsidiary of the L’Oreal Group, to do so. The goal of the EDGE assessment and certification process is to create a balanced workplace for both men and women, enabling companies to accurately reflect on how they are performing at both a country and global level. During the certification process, L’Oreal’s gender policies and practices were thoroughly reviewed and more than 700 employees were surveyed on gender equality in regards to company culture, compensation, promotion, leadership roles, and flexible work environment. Marjolaine Rompre, Director of Learning and Diversity at L’Oreal Canada noted the company’s delight at receiving EDGE Certification, adding that “diversity and equality has always been at the heart of L’OrĂ©al Canada’s values. We are extremely proud of having attained the “MOVE” level of certification and are committed to implementing innovative solutions to further develop gender equality.” 

Think, Act, Report Campaign

Since its launch in September of 2011, the 
Think, Act, Report (TAR) campaign has garnered the support of over 140 major companies, including IBM, Tesco, BP, GlaxoSmithKline, and many more. Introduced by the UK government in order to help close the gender gap, the initiative encourages companies to think about gender equality, take action to promote opportunities in their workplaces, and report on what they are doing. Nearly half of the participating companies have completed an equal pay audit in the last year, and 66 percent are doing more to encourage female talent within their company. Such actions include introducing mentoring and sponsorship schemes, putting in place targeted development programs, and encouraging women to take high-profile jobs.

Aimee King - Freelance
Aimee King is a freelance writer with an interest in gaming, women's health and gender equality. When she's not writing you can find her hiking with her dogs or reading. She resides in the Pacific Northwest.  Twitter @AmieeDKing