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Women Rising

Women today grew up fighting for the right to learn, work and govern

Fifty years after feminism’s second wave, women are using their newfound power in government, business, the arts, science and education to uplift new generations. With the confidence of those who have accumulated experience, they are now exerting influence, demanding an equal place in the world for the girls and women who follow.


The three women above (left to right,  photographed by Olivia Arthur) — Jacky O’Shaughnessy, Coco Mitchell and Pia Gronning — are part of a growing number of older models who are changing the perception of beauty and aging and have made their profession one that allows women to work decades longer.

Making Muppet magic at Sesame Street — Moises Saman/Magnum

Rollie Krewson (left), 66, has continued to give children and adults that warm and fuzzy feeling as a designer, builder, project leader and wrangler on the venerable children’s show Sesame Street. She has given life to scads of beloved characters, including sweet Elmo and is often called Elmo’s “mom.” In 2017, Julia, a Muppet with autism, made her televison debut on the program. She was created by Krewson with the sensitivity and intention that comes from a lifetime of working with children. Connie Peterson (right) is a costume designer who joined Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in 1980 and has worked on several Sesame Street puppets.

Feniger (right) and Milliken, longtime business partners and chefs, work in the kitchen of their restaurant, Border Grill. — Diana Markosian/Magnum

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken opened their first restaurant, City Café, in Los Angeles in 1981. In the 30-plus years since, they’ve changed the way Mexican food is eaten in the U.S., with landmark restaurants Border Grill and Ciudad and their 1990s Food Network show, Too Hot Tamales.

Jennifer Riria is a rare female business leader in Nairobi. — Lindokuhle Sobekwa/Magnum

Across the globe in Nairobi, Kenya, Jennifer Riria, 59 (60 on June 21), is one of the few female entrepreneurs in Africa. As CEO of Echo Network Africa, she has transformed the lives of more than 3 million women, awarding over $1.3 billion in small business loans, most for less than $600.

Students in class at the Grandmothers School Maharashtra, India. — Cristina García Rodero/Magnum

In India, the Grandmothers School opened in 2016, affording students autonomy as well as dignity as they learn to read and write. “Earlier I used to just put my thumbprint on bank documents,” one student told a reporter. “Now I can sign my own name — imagine that!”


Preserving Tradition

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