According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), this year’s theme is “Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity.” This campaign “celebrates the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving our world and shaping our common future.”
In honor of this timely and worthy celebration, here are 5 female creators and inventors who are powering change in our world today:
Ava is a film director, screenwriter, producer and film distributor. In 2010, she founded Array, a film distribution company that focuses on films made by people of color and women. Since its inception, the company has acquired 18 feature films. She is the first African-American female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe (Selma, 2014), an Oscar for Best Picture (Selma, 2014), an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature (13th, 2016) and to direct a movie with a budget of over $100 million (A Wrinkle in Time, 2018).
Emily is the founder and CEO of Glossier, Inc., a New York-based e-commerce cosmetics company which offers minimalist beauty products on its tech-savvy platform. Her journey to building Glossier began with her beauty blog, Into The Gloss which she launched in September 2010 while she was working at Vogue. After successfully raising $52 million in Series C funding in February 2018, Glossier announced earlier this month that it will be opening a second retail store in Los Angeles.
Mo is the founder and CEO of EbonyLife TV, an international television network based in Nigeria. She launched the network in 2013 after making a name for herself through the success of her talk show, Moments with Mo. In 2015, she was named by Forbes as one of Africa’s Most Successful Women. Last month, it was announced that her network struck a three-series deal with Sony Pictures Television. The first series is an action drama inspired by the Dahomey warriors, an elite group of female soldiers who fought to protect the Kingdom of Dahomey – present day Republic of Benin.
Katrina is the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, a subscription-based styling and fashion retail company that she launched in 2011. Using its algorithms, the company sends a curated selection of clothing and accessories handpicked by stylists to its users on a monthly basis. She was a student at Harvard Business School when she shipped her first Stitch Fix order out of her Cambridge apartment. In 2017, she was the only woman to lead an IPO in technology and today, the company is worth more than $2 billion.
Jessica is the founder and CEO of Uncharted Power, a renewable power company. At the age of 19, she invented Soccket, a soccer ball that stores kinetic energy as it is being used and serves as a portable power source. The idea came to her when she attended her aunt’s wedding in Nigeria and the power went out. Playing with the soccer ball for 30 minutes generates enough energy to power a small LED light for 3 hours. In 2016, the Harvard graduate raised $7 million in Series A funding – the largest amount to have ever been raised in funding by a black woman.
Every day in countries all around the world, women are launching and growing small-scale and large-scale businesses in a variety of industries such as skincare, beauty, fashion, entertainment, technology and agriculture. Their efforts deserve to be celebrated and this year’s nod to female creators and inventors could not have come at a better time.