Tag Archives: activism

Women investors prioritize impact in their portfolios

The gender pay gap — or the statistic that women make approximately 80 cents for every dollar that men make — is a well-documented phenomenon, backed up by data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Association of Women

Arguably as pressing an issue is the gender investment gap: Many women are less prepared for long-term financial health than their male counterparts.

Women have the potential to add $12 trillion to the global economy over the course of the next decade, so helping them use their assets advantageously is a win-win for all. Below, we take a deeper look at the gender investment gap and how to begin to close it.

Examining the gap

There are a few reasons why this gap exists. It’s not entirely unrelated to the gender wage gap: Since men tend to earn more, they naturally have more to invest with, which continues the cycle.

But there are more nuanced factors at play: This article published in the Wall Street Journal digs into the differences between men and women’s traditional styles of investing. Young women — and in fact young people in general — also tend to distrust the markets and often lack adequate financial education, which may hurt their long-term goals. 

Sheila Herrling, the senior vice president of social innovation at the Case Foundation, explains that there are a couple common themes among women investors. For one, they tend to be “risk-savvy (Herrling doesn’t agree with the umbrella statement that women are “risk-averse”), investing conservatively until they’ve gathered enough wealth to support their families. Secondly, many woman are inclined toward socially minded investments (such as impact investing). Women also tend to put a great deal of time and research into the investments they make, and they tend to associate money with personal independence and quality of life. 

Women tend to associate money with personal independence and quality of life.

“From a values-based perspective, many women want to have their investments not only make them excellent returns, but to also have a positive impact on the world,” she explains. “They have also exhibited flexibility in evaluating different investment opportunities, working across the risk-return spectrum and working with different types of capital – this makes them increasingly versatile investors.”

Investments that go beyond money

An impact investment that may resonate with women, for instance, is I AM THE CODE, an organization and global movement led by social entrepreneur Mariéme Jamme, a UBS Global Visionary. The organization helps young girls in Africa learn how to code and investigate STEAMD (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Design) careers.

“Many CEOs’ tell us that they experience difficulties finding qualified workers in STEAMD subjects. This is a result of a lack of investment in the education needed to develop a technologically competent workforce,” explains Jamme. “I AM THE CODE aims to educate and incentivize governments about the importance of investing in the training and education of the future workforce, particularly young women and girls.”

To date, I AM THE CODE has created more than 300 tech hubs across Africa. The program is also being rolled out in every school in Senegal. 

“Success does not come from just the financial resources invested in it,” says Jamme. “Rather, tangible results will come from the willingness to invest time in the development of young women.”

Long-term implications  

Laura Adams, a personal finance expert, author and speaker, points out that women also tend to outlive men — meaning they’ll feel the investment gap even more when they reach retirement age.

“Not investing is actually one of the riskiest things you can do,” says Adams. “That’s kind of counterintuitive, because a lot of people think they’re saving… they question why they’d want to expose it to any kind of risk. But with [historically low interest rates], that is not going to beat inflation and get you to your long-term savings goals.”

Image: flickr, john-morgan

In Adams’ book, Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich, she offers advice for comprehensive  financial literacy. She also suggests a variety of resources that can help women get their feet wet in investing: Classic finance books by Jane Bryant Quinn, Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door and George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon, to name a few. 

She says the “right” time to begin investing varies, but in general it’s during the life phase when you’ve started to build up a small financial cushion. (Anybody living paycheck to paycheck probably isn’t in a spot to invest just yet, she says.)

Closing the gap: The future and what to expect  

Both Adams and Herrling have a generally positive outlook on the future of women investors. Adams says millennial women, who are graduating from college at higher rates than any generation of women in history, are well positioned for high earning potential.

That’s not to say closing the gap won’t be challenging; there are larger-scale social norms that must first change.

Rina Kupferschmid Rojas, the head of sustainable finance for UBS & Society, adds that part of the responsibility for closing the gap falls to finance professionals in a position of influence: “Financial advisors who are prepared to listen to women and meet their personal needs are absolutely critical,” she says. “With respect to sustainable and impact investing, it is important for women to work with managers who have a rigorous process and are not going to compromise on either generating returns or supporting social or environmental causes.” 

Rojas works closely with UBS Unique, an initiative by UBS to better serve women investors and catalyze change within the financial industry. Long-term goals of the initiative include helping one million women improve their financial confidence over the next five years.

Herrling, too, offers a few courses of action that will be necessary to close the gender investment gap. She believes that “bringing intention” is the most crucial part of the puzzle: She supports “intentional action to close the wage gap; intentional investment in female founders; intentional opening of social networks to and between women (entities like digitalundivided, The Pink Ceiling, Women’s Startup Lab); and intentional buildout of products to scale impact investing, putting private capital to public good.”

Upping these efforts, she says, will be “a win-win for all.” 

Partnership for the goals: Achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

UBS White Paper

This paper for the WEF Annual Meeting explores our progress in meeting our commitment to the UN SDGs, in particular our pledge to raise USD 5bn of client money within five years to fund the SDGs. We unveil more than 30 partnerships which UBS has forged with public and private organizations to support positive social and environmental change.

Learn more about impact investing and the investing trends defining our modern world.

The value of investments can go down as well as up. Your capital and income is at risk. Assets used for secured borrowing are at risk if you do not keep up with repayments. In the UK, UBS AG is authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. © UBS 2018. All rights reserved.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/03/08/gender-investment-gap/

Apparently Trump is morally against childbirth

Another day, another gaffe.
Image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Wow, Donald Trump might have just become the most anti-life President of all time… because he seems to be against, um, childbirth itself.

While speaking at the “March for Life” anti-abortion rally at the National Mall on Friday, Trump said, “right now, in a number of states, the laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong, it has to change.”

Um, hopefully the law would allow that? Because having a baby in the 9th month is just called CHILDBIRTH?

Here’s the clip.

Trump was probably trying to criticize abortions initiated after the first trimester. Maybe he meant to say “torn” instead of “born from the womb”? It wouldn’t be uncharacteristic for him to have yet another verbal slip-up, after all.

But this kind of railing is par for the course for Trump. During a presidential debate, he criticized Hillary Clinton’s support of abortion rights, saying “you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.” 

Hillary obviously schooled Donald at the time, saying “well that is not what happens in these cases, and using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate,” and went on to show a depth of understanding about the thought and consideration that women go through when making these medical decisions. Sob.

In fact, according to Planned Parenthood and the CDC, less than 1.4 percent of all abortions take place after 21 weeks. Most occur because of medical complications, financial restrictions, and lack of access to or knowledge about pregnancy and abortion during early stages. Hmm, wonder if comprehensive women’s medical care could make that better? Too bad Trump is trying to undermine that.

Regarding Trump’s anti-birth stance in general, the internet is collectively smacking its forehead. But many are still outraged at Trump’s appearance at the rally — his supposed championing of “Christian values”— given recent allegations about his affair with a porn star months after Melania gave birth to Barron. 

No word yet on when the official “end childbirth now” campaign goes into effect.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/19/trump-march-for-life-childbirth/

US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website

Privacy advocates call warrant for IP addresses of just one.3 million individuals who visited inauguration protest website an unconstitutional fishing expedition

The federal government needs to unmask everyone who visited an anti-Trump website with what privacy advocates have to say is an unconstitutional fishing expedition for political dissidents.

The warrant seems to become an escalation from the Department of Justices (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, such as the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 This summer, the DoJ offered an internet site-webhost, DreamHost, having a search warrant for each bit of information it possessed which was associated with an internet site which was accustomed to coordinate protests during Donald Trumps inauguration. The warrant covers those who buy and operate the website, but additionally seeks to obtain the IP addresses of just one.3 million individuals who visited it, along with the time and date of the visit and knowledge by what browser or operating-system they used.

The web site, www.disruptj20.org, was utilized to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 The month of january, when Trump was inaugurated.

This unique situation which specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach with a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Shaun] Sessions, stated Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. You ought to be concerned that anybody ought to be targeted only for going to a website.

The warrant is made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its intends to challenge the federal government in the court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The federal government has strongly prosecuted activists arrested throughout the 20 The month of january protests in Washington Electricity. In April, the united states attorneys office in Washington Electricity filed a single indictment charging greater than 217 individuals with identical crimes, including legal rioting.

Ghazarian stated that DreamHost provided the federal government with limited customer details about who owns the web site if this first received a great jury subpoena per week following the protests happened. However the government returned in This summer using the much broader search warrant.

Were a gatekeeper between your government and thousands of individuals who visited the web site, stated Ghazarian. You want to have them protected.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, that has been counseling DreamHost, characterised the warrant as unconstitutional along with a fishing expedition.

I cant conceive of the legitimate justification apart from casting your internet as broadly as you possibly can to warrant countless user logs, senior staff attorney Mark Rumold told the Protector.

Logs of IP addresses dont distinctively identify users, however they backlink to a particular physical addresses if no digital tools are utilized to mask it.

The things they could be getting is a summary of everybody that has have you been thinking about attending these protests or seeing what happening in the protests and thats the troubling aspect. Its a brief step once you have their email list for connecting the Ip to someones identity, he stated.

Wide-reaching warrants for user data are occasionally issued once the content of the website is illegal for example pirated movies or child sexual abuse imagery, but speech isn’t prohibited.

This [the web site] is pure first amendment advocacy the kind of advocacy the very first amendment is built to safeguard and promote, Rumold added. Frankly Im glad DreamHost is pushing back onto it.

It is not the very first time that the federal government has searched for to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this season, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division from the homeland security department, purchased Twitter to give the telephone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, a free account that presupposed to convey the views of dissenters inside the government.

The account, whose username is really a mention of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is among a large number of alternative Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to supply an uncensored look at civil servants who could not agree with Trumps policies.

To safeguard the identity of the individual running the account, Twitter launched a suit from the Trump administration, quarrelling it might have a grave chilling impact on it of this account particularly and the rest of the alternative agency accounts which have been produced to voice dissent to government policies.

After public outcry within the administrations overreach, CBP dropped the request.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/14/donald-trump-inauguration-protest-website-search-warrant-dreamhost

How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has become the meme of the resistance

Image: Christopher Mineses / mashable&nbsp

The 2009 week, 18 women outfitted in red cloaks and white-colored bonnets, was in pairs within the rotunda from the Texas condition capitol, and started chanting, “Shame!” in symphony. They did not stop shouting for eight minutes.

They call the Texas handmaids. You most likely first saw it well in March, when pictures of their original protest in Austin went viral. This is when they sitting quietly within the Texas senate gallery, watching as lawmakers debated bills that will allow it to be tougher for women to obtain an abortion.

Whatever you decide and not know is the fact that their demonstrations, inspired by Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale and Hulu’s vivid TV adaptation, are gradually distributing across the nation.

Women are holding sewing parties to show yards of bloodstream-red fabric into capes. They are swapping tips on private Facebook pages on how to stage protests. They are even planning for a coordinated demonstration where a large number of handmaids concurrently go to condition capitols or perhaps in other public facilities in metropolitan areas across the nation.

When the visually striking meme will take off, it might become probably the most effective functions of protest in the resistance. The view of a dozen women putting on the handmaid costume, while remaining silent and keeping their heads lower, provides a stark contrast to several mostly white-colored men deliberating over what goes on for their physiques. The imagery is virtually designed for digital era.

The purpose, activists say, would be to send a effective message: We are nearer to a government that strips women of the bodily autonomy than you may think.

“The simplest way we attempt to describe it would be that the handmaids represent the next where women are simply their reproductive capacity,” states Louise Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. “Regrettably, using the laws and regulations which are being passed, that future isn’t so impractical and never so distant.”

We are nearer to a government that strips women of the bodily autonomy than you may think.

The concept to enlist Texas women as handmaids began with Busby a couple of several weeks ago. She became of see women outfitted because the title character from The Handmaid’s Tale at South by Southwest. Which was an advertising and marketing stunt by Hulu, the streaming entertainment provider that introduced Atwood’s novel towards the small screen.

But Busby then joked on Facebook about how exactly someone should send the handmaids lower towards the capitol, where lawmakers have been busy presenting bills that will curtail abortion legal rights. Soon NARAL Pro-Choice Texas purchased white-colored bonnets from Amazon . com Prime along with a volunteer rented red capes. A little number of volunteers rapidly came up an agenda. They loved the component of surprise in turning up in the capitol in costume and desired to let legislators realize that women were watching.

Next produced local and national press coverage from the legislative agenda in Texas, activists round the country began contacting Busby for tips about how to start their very own handmaids brigade.

You can reason that all this is moot, the U . s . States is nowhere near to becoming the Republic of Gilead, The Handmaid’s Tale‘s totalitarian, theocratic condition that freezes women’s accounts, forbids the right results, transmits these to re-education camps, and forces most of them to deal with children for leaders as well as their spouses.

The New You are able to Occasions‘ conservative columnist Ross Douthat argued now that liberals are seeing the incorrect parallels. On the day that, Occasions op-erectile dysfunction contributor Mona Eltahawy wrote the Republic of Gilead already exists in Saudi Arabia, where women can’t drive and could be imprisoned for disobedience. On her part, Atwood has said that nothing in her own novel has not already happened before ever.

“I have a charge card, I have a pleasant vehicle, however i can seem to be the long run here.”

For that volunteers who’re deep in to the work of making and putting on the costumes in public places, it isn’t about whether or not they have charge cards or the authority to obtain a job. The things they see may be the federal and condition governments largely at the disposal of conservative, even authoritarian, men who’ve vowed to defund Planned Being a parent and roll back reproductive health legal rights like abortion and use of affordable contraception. Simultaneously, individuals men intend to funnel money to abstinence-only education and vouchers for “school choice,” including religious schools.

The truth that they are brought by Jesse Trump terrifies they.

“We’ve somebody within the White-colored House who thinks it’s Alright to grab ladies and do whatever he wants, and I am designed to relax and become awesome with this?Inch states Emily Morgan, executive director of Action Together Nh, an activist group that emerged within the wake of Trump’s election.

Earlier this year, Morgan contacted Busby for details regarding how to create handmaid costumes. But rather of getting women in to the Nh legislative gallery throughout a debate or hearing, Morgan and her co-organizers requested these to appear in a press conference with the resignation of Repetition. Robert Fisher, a Republican who The Daily Animal identified in April because the creator and former moderator of Reddit’s popular men’s legal rights “Red Pill” forum. The content board bills itself like a “discussion of sexual strategy inside a culture more and more missing an optimistic identity for males,Inch and Fisher regularly asked whether rape is real, based on The Daily Animal. (Fisher resigned later within the day following a press conference.)

An intimate assault survivor with handmaids demanding Repetition. Robert Fisher’s resignation, on May 17, 2017, in Concord, N.H.

Image: Granite Condition Progress

“Fisher and also the Red Pill embody precisely what The Handmaid’s Tale is really a foreshadowing of or perhaps is an alert against,” Morgan states. “Stating that we are not there it’s kind of degrading to what’s really happening to women.”

Dads and moms prior to the press conference, volunteers made six costumes, but a few of the women bowed out after understanding the media could be attending. Morgan states they feared in-person an internet-based harassment. Nonetheless, she thinks more women will advance to sign up in approaching demonstrations, particularly since volunteers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Nh are sewing new cloaks to ensure that activists in Colonial rapidly get access to them for future protests.

Time-intensive, pricey facet of purchasing the bonnets and making the cloaks is a challenge to growing the handmaid ranks. Additionally, there are the risk that different groups will splinter in order to launch the very first nationwide demonstration. Morgan is moderating a personal Facebook page to coordinate a nationwide action. An identical page began by among the Texas handmaids has near to 300 people.

The handmaids’ signature costumes will also be a comparatively obscure reference when compared with pussyhats, the knit pink caps that are presently symbolic of the resistance. But they are also memorable even though you have no idea the foundation.

Ane Crabtree, the costume designer for that Hulu series, states the outfit’s visual power is rooted both in the vibrant red colorization, which could signify bloodstream, birth, and fervour, and just how the cloak conceals ladies who put on it. The mixture informs the viewer what she needs to understand about the way the body beneath the costume is oppressed.

“This is an easy type of expression to state that everything’s been removed and it is being removed, and it is a genuine factor,” states Crabtree, who’s encouraged and inspired by individuals making their very own form of the costume.

Deborah Marsh, a 65-year-old retiree who is among the Texas handmaids, states individuals who obtain the reference frequently approach her in the pub or perhaps in the capitol’s rotunda by way of thanking her a lot for the action of defiance. Some, however, have experienced the meaning and do not enjoy it. Marsh states a couple of people in the pub have experienced “outbursts” or known as the ladies “pathetic.”

Joe Pojman, executive director from the anti-abortion legal rights nonprofit group Texas Alliance for Existence, appeared to criticize the handmaids a couple of occasions, concentrating on the truth that they have used smartphones while quietly protesting within the gallery, a unique point that Marsh feels makes their situation about men that are obsessive about policing women’s behavior.

What Marsh did not expect was how confident she’d feel while putting on the costume. “It’s this type of bold costume, it’s making this type of bold statement,” she states. “And my body system is within that costume, why wouldnt Personally i think bold? Why wouldn’t Personally i think empowered?”

Among reproductive legal rights activists like Marsh, the Texas legislature is infamous because of its anti-abortion legislation. In 2013, the condition passed legislation that effectively brought towards the closure of a large number of abortion clinics, that the Top Court found unconstitutional this past year. The Republican-brought legislature lately voted to ban the safest kind of second-trimester abortion and wish hospitals and abortion clinics to bury fetal remains, including individuals from miscarriages which happen in your own home. Texas has moved to keep Planned Being a parent from condition and federal funding.

Quite simply, as Texas limits use of both abortion and reproductive healthcare like contraception, it’s not hard to make a future by which ladies have little practical control of when and how they’ve children. That vision should not be restricted to Texas either other Republican-dominated states are going after an identical agenda regarding restricting use of reproductive healthcare, out of the box the Trump administration.

“I have a charge card, I have a pleasant vehicle, however i can seem to be the long run here,” Marsh states. “If [people] aren’t impacted by it today, they will have it in four yours. Texas is a touch bit in front of the game.”

“Can i change someones mind who’s pro-existence? I do not expect that. Im aiming greater. I wish to alter the culture.”

Stephanie Martin, a mother from Round Rock, in central Texas, who lately outfitted as a handmaid the very first time, states she’s realistic about who the content will achieve.

“Can i change someone’s mind who’s pro-existence?” she asks. “I do not expect that. I am aiming greater. I wish to alter the culture.”

Will still be early to gauge just how that culture will respond past the videos and photos which have gone viral. However the parallel between your male aggression and control that characterizes Gilead feels particularly fresh per week in which a Republican congressional candidate body slammed a reporter for asking an issue he did not like, and also the president appeared to shove aside a eu leader to obtain a stronger position inside a photo-op.

Let us remember the complicity of Ivanka Trump, who promotes herself like a champion of gender equality but states nothing critical about healthcare and budget proposals which are perhaps hostile to women. Nor are we able to disregard the benign-searching malevolence of Secretary of your practice Betsy DeVos, who couldn’t think of a single demonstration of discrimination at openly funded schools that will offer her pause when requested about this in a congressional hearing. In Gilead, in the end, the ladies who aren’t outrightly oppressed obtain the privilege of wielding what small their capability from the vulnerable and marginalized.

Morgan admits that many people will not make connections between what is happening today and Atwood’s fiction. Yet she urges skeptics to concentrate less on the dramatic, sweeping finish to women’s legal rights. In addition important, at this time, may be the underlying implication of attitudes and laws and regulations that see no harm for making it harder or perhaps impossible for ladies to find out their very own fate.

“They are steps on a single path,” she states from the parallels between Gilead and Trump’s America. “You need to start somewhere.”

Find out more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/28/handmaids-tale-protests-costumes/

This comic uses augmented reality to tell the harrowing stories of acid attack survivors

Illustrated depictions of the acid attack survivors who became the inspiration for the heroes in ‘Priya’s Mirror.’
Image: Priya’s Mirror

As an acid attack survivor, Monica Singh once found it incredibly difficult to look in the mirror. Her scarred skin brought her back to the day men poured a bucket of acid on her in Lucknow, India a violent retaliation for her rejection of a marriage proposal.

More than half of Singh’s body was burned instantly, altering her appearance forever. But the activist says using a mirror has helped her reclaim love for her reflection, and for herself.

More than a decade after her attack, Singh’s story is now being used to empower other acid attack survivors through an unusual medium a comic book. Titled Priya’s Mirror, the book uses augmented reality and image recognition to bring its characters to life on any mobile device.

Singh was the inspiration for Anjali, one of the book’s main characters. The narrative itself, which is based on the format of Hindu mythological tales, curates the real-life stories of several acid attack survivors in India.

Image: Priya’s Mirror

“I became my own strength,” Singh tells Mashable. “I used the mirror as a type of therapy to accept what happened to me and that story was very much intertwined into the comic book. The mirror is Priya’s Mirror, but it’s also Monica’s Mirror, too.”

Priya’s Mirror was created by producer Ram Devineni and artist Dan Goldman to help address the stigma and shame around this type of gendered violence. In the book, Priya is a gang-rape survivor who helps inspire a group of acid attack survivors to escape the rule of the demon king, Ahankar or “Ego” in Hindi.

It was co-produced by Singh’s foundation, the Mahendra Singh Foundation, as well as Fundacion Natalia Ponce de Leon both nonprofits supporting victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse and acid attacks. Priya’s Mirror is also the first comic book ever funded by the World Bank.

The creators hope the comic will ultimately help foster solidarity among survivors of gender-based violence.

Priya’s Mirror is the second chapter in the Priya series, following the hugely successful Priya’s Shakti, which introduced the story of the titular character. The first chapter was created in response to the gang rape of a woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012, covered widely by media outlets around the world.

Priya’s Shakti was the first of its kind, using augmented reality technology to enhance the overall experience for readers. It has had more than 500,000 downloads since its release in December 2014, and will even be implemented in school curricula in Delhi next spring. Devineni wants Priya’s Mirror to continue that success, broadening awareness and action against gendered violence.

There were at least 249 acid instances of acid attacks in India in 2015.

Though acid attacks have been reported globally, they are extremely prevalent in South Asia. India, specifically, has some of the highest rates of acid attacks in the world, though reliable statistics are difficult to obtain, due to stigma and underreporting by authorities. According to Acid Survivors Foundation India, there were at least 249 acid instances of acid attacks in India in 2015, up from 225 incidents in 2014.

Devineni says the inspiration for Priya’s Mirror came when he met with acid attack survivors in New Delhi in December 2015. He listened to their personal experiences of violence and stigma, and quickly learned that their stories directly mirrored those he heard from rape survivors while researching for Priya’s Shakti.

“You could literally transpose one interview over another, and you couldn’t tell the difference,” Devineni tells Mashable. “[Acid attack survivors] went through the same cultural problems that rape survivors went through with the exception that they were not only internally traumatized, but physically traumatized as well.”

He then began planning Priya’s Mirror, in which these shared experiences come together.

Image: Priya’s Mirror

But Devineni acknowledges that telling these deeply traumatic and personal stories of violent attacks can get tricky. In creating the narrative for Priya’s Mirror, he says it was crucial for survivors to vet their own representations.

“We make sure when we write the comic book that it is reviewed by the survivors,” he says. “They are part of the review process, making sure they are represented with respect and dignity.”

“We wanted to make sure they, as women, were represented with honor.”

There was also the challenge of sensitively illustrating each survivor’s physical appearance. In Priya’s Mirror, Devineni and Goldman illustrated real-life acid attack survivors, turning them into superheroes as an integral part of the story. The survivors worked closely with Goldman on what their illustrated versions would look like.

Devineni says the artwork went through several rounds of editorial changes, ensuring the survivors were represented responsibly.

“That was especially a challenge of this second chapter trying to draw the women with dignity and respect,” he says. “It could easily go into some horrific look, and we didn’t want that. We wanted to make sure they, as women and as human beings, were represented with honor.”

Monica Singh with an illustrated depiction of herself.

Image: Priya’s Mirror/Rattapallax/Youtube

While readers can experience Priya’s Mirror as a standard comic book, the augmented reality component allows them to interact with it further. Powered through the free visual discovery app Blippar, users can hold their phones or tablets up to the comic’s pages to unlock videos and animated content.

Through Blippar, Devineni says viewers can see acid attack survivors tell their own stories, similar to the tech used for Priya’s Shakti (shown in the video below).

Users can also participate in an awareness campaign inspired by activist and acid attack survivor Natalia Ponce de Len. In 2014, a man Ponce de Len had never spoken to poured a liter of sulfuric acid on her in Bogota, Colombia. Her story was highly publicized in the country, encouraging her to fight for policy changes that would help prevent acid attacks.

Her campaign, called The Last Mask, gained mass attention in 2014, when Ponce de Len sent out clear masks mimicking acid burns to media and celebrities around the country. She encouraged them to take photos and share them on social media in an effort to change Colombian law specifically legislation that would make it harder to get acid over the counter, and increase penalties against aggressors. And it worked.

Through Blippar, readers of Priya’s Mirror can continue a version of the campaign by virtually wearing a digital mask and posting it to social media to show their support.

“We literally took that same campaign and same mask and put it into the virtual reality,” Devineni says. “You can scan the cover of the comic book and you will be able to take the mask and put it on your face almost like Snapchat.”

Image: Blippar/Priya’s Mirror

Though the comic book and augmented reality features aim to empower survivors, Devineni says teenage boys are the true audience they’re targeting. Young boys are the next generation of potential aggressors, and they’re essential in the fight to shift a culture that normalizes all forms gendered violence.

“That’s one of the main reasons we choose comic books, as opposed to a fictional or a nonfiction book,” Devineni says. “But also having that additional tech component of AR is much more eye-candy incentive for teenagers to pick it up.”

“The worst thing that could happen to a girl has already been done to us.”

The tactic is definitely making a change, according to Devineni, who points to the success of Priya’s Shakti as proof.

“Now, you see in India people talking about how society treats rape survivors,” Devineni says. “I’m not saying a comic book is the reason this has changed, but we were definitely a part of this. The creation of a rape survivor who was also a superhero really helped to create an alternative narrative.”

With the release of Priya’s Mirror, survivors involved in the project are already seeing the value in the medium.

Singh calls the comic book a form of “cultural education,” hoping it will reduce instances of acid attacks around the world, and help alleviate the stigma and shame that survivors face. But while encouraging society to support acid attack survivors is essential, Singh says it’s even more critical for survivors to celebrate their own resilience.

Image: Priya’s Mirror

“You can do anything now,” she says to survivors like her. “The worst thing that could happen to a girl has already been done to us. I wish nobody would go through the same thing. But, for us, it has allowed us to become fearless.”

Priya’s Mirror, along with an accompanying exhibition, premiered at Lincoln Center on Sept. 30 as part of the New York Film Festival. The comic book will officially launch in India at Mumbai Comic Con on Oct. 22 and 23, and is currently available for free download in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Hindi.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/10/02/priyas-mirror-acid-attacks-india/