She’s Doing It: Emily May of Hollaback!

by Gloria Feldt on August 17th, 2011
in 9 Ways Blog, Create a Movement, Gender, Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, Power Tools, She's Doing It and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Emily May of Hollaback!Are you afraid on your daily commute? Leering glances. Unwanted physical contact. Harassing, suggestive derogatory comments thrown at you while you are just minding your own business on the bus, train or simply walking down the street. Are you fed up in having to always be on your guard when you are just trying to live your life? Talk to most women and these experiences are ones that have caused not only fear for your own personal safety but also a sense of deep outrage.

In this week’s She’s Doing It, I couldn’t be prouder to highlight Emily May, co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback! as someone who has taken the global problem of street harassment and embraced Power Tool #7: Create a Movement with both arms and mobile technology!

“The explosion of mobile technology has given us an unprecedented opportunity to end street harassment—and with it, the opportunity to take on one of the final new frontiers for women’s rights around the world.” ~Emily May, Hollaback! Executive Director

May is an international leader in the anti-street-harassment movement. In 2005, at the age of 24, she co-founded Hollaback! in New York City, and in 2010 she became the first full-time executive director. Hollaback!’s mission is to give women and LGBTQ folks an empowered response to street harassment, and ultimately, to end it by using mobile technology.

May has a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics in Social Policy and argues that a crowd-sourced movement is the key to changing policy and minds, and ultimately, creating a world where everyone has the right to feel safe and confident.

Although most of them are less than six months old, Hollaback! international sites are already having a big impact — working on anti-street harassment task forces with local officials, community safety audits and more bringing awareness to a women’s right to feel safe in public space. Local Hollaback! site leaders run their local blogs and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships and direct actions.

“If I have my way, these won’t just be the leaders of the movement to end street harassment. These will be the next leaders of the world.” ~Emily May, Hollaback! Executive Director

The personal stories on Hollaback! are so compelling — from Steph’s Story: “He had no respect for my personal boundaries” to Marissa’s Story: “I feel uncomfortable going out there now”Sophie’s Story: “Taking charge”  and the others are stories sharing the experience of harassment and violence only to bring it out into the light so that no one has to be afraid.

“By collecting women and LGBTQ folks’ stories and pictures in a safe and share-able way with our very own mobile phone applications, Hollaback! is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment. Hollaback! breaks the silence that has perpetuated sexual violence internationally, asserts that any and all gender-based violence is unacceptable, and creates a world where we have an option—and, more importantly—a response.” ~Emily May, Hollaback! Executive Director

Along with the courage of those in Hollaback!, what might make you inspired enough to take action or maybe even start an Hollaback! site in your area? CLICK HERE for more information.



Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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