On August 18, 2021, we mark Trouble’s first anniversary. We’re proud of our first full year as Unapologetic women celebrating TroubleMakers and inspiring you to join us in funding organizations working toward equity for women and girls. What a year it’s been! Arguably a year unlike any other in history. Some might say a crazy year to have started on our mission, but – on the contrary – we think the timing was perfect!

Bari and Meredith have been TroubleMakers collaborating on ways to advance gender equity for a long time. Maybe it was only by chance that their Trouble brewing came together last summer because, as it turns out, kicking off in the middle of a pandemic couldn’t have been more appropriate. The Covid-19 outbreak caused total upheaval in our lives. Amid the rise of a frightening illness, we had quarantine and mandated lock-downs. We soldiered on and worked from home or juggled an essential job and struggled through remote learning with our kids. Amidst that chaos, there was a unique opportunity to look critically at the ‘normal’ world we’d been navigating on auto-pilot, pre-Covid. Many of us didn’t like what we saw.

The global health crisis created stresses that exacerbated cultural and political polarities. But, it also served to unveil the gender inequities that are and have always been all around us. Consider the multitude of ways women have suffered disproportionately from all aspects of the pandemic and its fall-out. The U.S. Department of Labor says, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, women lost 30 years of progress in the workforce. Inequity is glaringly everywhere!

“Home health and personal care aides, jobs that earn little more than minimum wage and until recently were even exempt from basic labor protections, are two of the fastest-growing occupations in the entire U.S. job market. More than eight in 10 of these aides are women.” NYT 04/18/2020

TroubleMakers have to continue to remind the world of the value of all the unpaid work women do. There is physical and emotional labor in caring – both for and about – the young and the old. That labor ultimately holds our communities together. Actively advocating for affordable child care and living wages for the primarily female essential workforce is real TroubleMaker stuff.

Things began to reopen as the vaccines rolled out, and some have gone back to an approximation of normalcy, but, Trouble knows there’s work to be done for women who suffered in unseen ways during the pandemic. UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, launched a public awareness campaign in 2020 to call out what they named The Shadow Pandemic of escalating domestic violence coinciding with isolating lock-downs. What could be a better time to support organizations creating meaningful change that will improve women’s lives, their children’s lives, our society, and ultimately, the world.

We see the need for making Trouble to advance and empower women and girls in STEM, entrepreneurship, community and business leadership, sports, and trades. You know it-we know it women have to be involved in policymaking to get back on the right track. We not only have to regain the ground we’ve lost, but we also need to accelerate the pace of progress toward gender equity. Like co-founder Bari says: “We’ve come a long way, maybe!”

This year, we have continued to witness the staggering effects of the climate crisis. The extreme heat in the northwest has even scientists alarmed as it appears to be evidence of an accelerated rate of change they hadn’t recognized before. Temperature records were not broken by just a few degrees. They were shattered by a whopping 9 degrees in some locations, impacting millions of people and killing hundreds. Trouble knows that the crisis of extreme weather events, including wildfires and excessive heat, disproportionately affects poor communities and especially women. These conditions threaten mental health, physical wellbeing, and economic stability. There needs to be a voice representing this demographic to plan for the inevitable. Trouble knows women remain underrepresented in both the media coverage of climate and the environmental workforce.

Noteworthy: The passing of Georgia Congressman John Lewis in July of 2020 was serendipitous for the launch of Trouble, too. His death reminded the nation of his unshakable conviction and remarkable impact. He fought not only for civil rights. He worked tirelessly to inspire us to take responsibility for our society and do our part for justice. “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something.” He famously said,” Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Trouble knows that women’s rights are civil rights, and there is good Trouble to be made!

Beyond those specifically related to the pandemic or climate, there were more examples of gender inequity and strides toward parity during this year since Trouble began.

Bari and Meredith chose to start Trouble in the 100th year since the adoption of the 19th Amendment. In Trouble’s first year, we celebrated the power of that hard-won women’s right to vote. We saw the election of Kamala Harris as our first female VP! Wins by record numbers of women in congress gave us hope for meaningful policy changes that we support.

In her victory speech, VP Harris honored women leaders who she said paved the way for her. “I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision, to see what can be, unburdened by what has been,” she said. “I stand on their shoulders.” But, Trouble knows that according to the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report, the most significant gender disparities are in politics worldwide. Still more work to do.

Trouble is proud to have surpassed our original goal of donating $20,000 to women’s causes in our first year. It’s gratifying to have hit the $50,000 milestone as of this blog posting! That success in marketing our fun, practical and, unique products meant we could provide nearly a dozen worthy organizations with the capital they need to promote equity for women and girls.

Have you seen the videos? The feedback from our Trouble community has been uplifting. We “Tested and Approved” over 30 Badass TroubleMakers whose stories inspired us during year one. We’ve loved sharing their diverse accomplishments with you because of the values we stand for; justice, fairness, inclusion, and cooperation.  

It’s almost impossible to single out just one without looking at all of them (and we hope you do!). Troublemaker Shelley Zalis, CEO and Founder of The FemaleQuotient is an influential thought leader whose organization is working to provide community and a platform to raise the visibility of talented women in every field. With compelling data to show business leaders the stunning return on investment when women’s career development is supported, their research shows things are moving far too slowly. At the current rate of progress, it could take nearly 100 years to achieve global gender equality. Trouble agrees, “we can’t wait that long!

Several of our honored TroubleMakers emphasized ‘sharing’ as part of their vision and success. Alyse Nelson, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Vital Voices, is one. She edited the inspiring book “Vital Voices: 100 Women Using Their Power to Empower.” She and Trouble agree that in terms of leadership, the time for women is now. Nelson describes a new model of leadership that “is about listening, not talking. It’s about compassion, empathy, and humility. It’s about understanding that power is amplified when it’s shared.”

That sharing is invaluable. It’s that sharing that is essential for progress. We share a passion for justice and gender equity with you, our Trouble Team. We share this mission with our diverse and accomplished advisory board. We share our determination and willingness to do the work with all of our allies. We share our knowledge, talents, curiosity, and earnestness in service of the goal of gender equity. We share our hope for a better future in which each person is valued and empowered to be all that they can be.

“History proves that amazing things happen when women come together and cause trouble. This is why we’re dedicated to being more than a company, but rather a community that shares the stories and relishes the successes of TroubleMakers around the world.” Here’s to the next year of Trouble and beyond. Thanks for your support because we can’t say it enough..100% of our profits go towards those fantastic organizations fighting for equity!

Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration.

Share the cool stuff you learn here with the TroubleMakers you know and love.


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