Women Wednesday - this weeks positive news from India, the UK and the USA

We love how women are changing the world and making an impact to their home countries that we're talking all things awesome and new every Wednesday!
A group of trans women has realized its dream and will open their own hotel in Kerala , India.The women planned to open the hotel called Hotel Ruchimudra in the state capital of Kochi in south east India. Aditi Achuth, Saya Mathew, Preethi Alexander, Pranav, Ragaranjini and Meenakshi received US$14,320 in local government funding to set up the hotel. The six women decided to start their own business to help promote a more positive representation of trans people in Kerala. ‘The major aim of ‘Ruchimudra’ is to change the negative attitude of the society towards transgenders,’ she told Mathrubhumi. Along with the local government funding, the women also received funding from a charity. But the funding only covered some of the renovation costs of the four storey building. So the women decided to complete a lot of the work themselves in order to save money. The building will house the hotel along with other support services for trans people. Those services will include counseling, office co-working space, shelter and yoga. Kerala is one of the most progressive states in India when it comes to trans issues. In 2017, the state government assigned 23 roles to trans people on the new Kochi Metro Rail service. In the same year, it also launched a housing scheme for the trans community. Despite these advances and other, the trans community still face high levels of violence and discrimination . LGBTI students also have high school drop out rates. A 2017 study found that 70% of LGBTI high school students drop out because of stigma, bullying and discrimination.
Nearly 200 years after her death, fossil finder Mary Anning is finally getting the credit she deserves for her revolutionary work pioneering the field of paleontology — and a feature film to boot. While the name of the legendary fossil hunter is relatively unknown, scholars say that Anning was emphatically denied credit from the scientific community for the “momentous discoveries” she made during her life — including by the so-called “founding father of paleontology,” Georges Cuvier. Anning, whose father died of tuberculosis in 1810 when she was just 11 years old, made a living for her working class family by finding and selling fossils as souvenirs to tourists — or when she found something “particularly spectacular,” to museums. In 1812, Anning successfully excavated the full skeleton of an almost 5-meter long ichthyosaur, an ancient crocodile-like marine reptile that went extinct 90 million years ago. It was the first complete ichthyosaurus skeleton to ever be seen by the London scientific community, according to Dr. Adrian Currie, a professor of anthropology at the University of Exeter. In 1823, she discovered the skeleton of a plesiosaur, a massive Mesozoic-era marine reptile whose likely appearance serves as the inspiration for depictions of the Loch Ness monster. But while her work was widely known to the scientific community at the time, as a woman Anning wasn’t allowed to become a member of the Geological Society — or even to the enter the building. And Cuvier, incredulous that a working class woman could be capable of such discoveries, inspected the skeletons and declared them both fakes. “Originally he thought that this must have been some kind of hoax … but he did admit later on that he was wrong,” said Currie. Today, Anning is considered by many scholars as “the greatest fossilist the world has known,” according to the British Society for the History of Science. An upcoming biopic about her life, Ammonite is set to begin principal photography in March.

(Matika Wilbur / Elle.com)
Matika Wilbur was teaching photography at the Tulalip heritage school and at Northwest Indian College and, while building curriculum for class, she discovered a serious lack of images of Native Americans taken by Native Americans. That void inspired her to launch Project 562, a Kickstarter-funded pursuit to photograph every federally recognized Native American tribe. The ambitious project’s name came from the number of then-recognized tribes. It has since risen to 573, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. In November 2012, she sold everything in her apartment and set out in an RV she called "Big Girl." For nearly seven years now she's traveled the country sleeping on couches and relying on speaking engagements for food money and to pay her small staff. She's captured thousands of portraits from over 400 tribal nations so far, all with the goal of challenging stereotypes and shifting the consciousnesses of contemporary Native America. "Each of us, as citizens, has a responsibility to change that narrative within ourselves," Wilbur says. "To seek new information and to build relationships with the Indigenous people of the territories we're occupying." On shoots, Wilbur asks her subjects about identity, race, racism, and blood quantum, the highly controversial practice of trying to determine how much Native American heritage one has. They often discuss marriage, family, and the meaning of tribal ceremonies. Eventually, she plans to compile her endeavors in a book to, "shed some light on our heroes and some of our everyday folks." "I hope it piques the interest for individuals who want to know more about their Indigenous relatives, wherever they’re from," she says. "Hopefully it inspires them to want to want to connect in some way.”

Have a positive week,

Love Neon Moon x   

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