He For She

Six years ago, Lovern Gordon, a lady social entrepreneur, decided to give hope to many women victims of domestic abuse. Instigated by her own personal and family story, she set up Love Life Now Foundation in the US, an organization which, throughout the years, has helped collect thousands of dollars for shelters and raise awareness about domestic violence worldwide. In this interview for the Horyou blog, Lovern shares her thoughts on feminism and social media as an awareness tool, as well as her hopes for the future.

Lovern Gordon in a  Teen Domestic Violence Workshop
Lovern Gordon in a Teen Domestic Violence Workshop

Briefly, tell us a little about the beginning of Love Life Foundation and its main advances.

Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. was established in November, 2011.

I worked tirelessly to promote Awareness Against Domestic Violence as a platform after winning 2 beauty pageants (locally in Boston and nationally in Los Angeles in 2010), but did not want to stop there with advocacy, so Love Life Now was formed.

I am a survivor of abuse from a 2 year relationship, and was also a child witness to it…my mother was abused at the hands of our father throughout their marriage. My mother and I were unaware at the time of the tremendous and valuable resources available to victims and survivors that help save lives daily, and is the reason I seek to spread awareness on a daily basis today through the Foundation’s work.

Through the formation of the Love Life Now and its initiatives, we have been able to donate thousands of dollars to shelters statewide, raise awareness about resources available nationwide and assist victims and survivors in finding the necessary help as it relates to this issue.

Volunteers give brown bag lunches and toiletry filled care packages to homeless affected by domestic violence and beyond.
Volunteers give brown bag lunches and toiletry filled care packages to homeless affected by domestic violence and beyond.

What are the main inspirations for your work?

My mother. For all that she has endured, never letting it break her spirit and still coming out on top…she’s my hero.

What kind of impact does the organization want to make in the world?

When Love Life Now was formed, all I sought to do was help anyone that needed it. Over the years I have observed that our initiatives leave folks with a desire to do more as bystanders when it comes to this issue. If we can continue to help change the narrative while continuing to inspire, that will be more than I could have ever asked for.

Lovern Gordon
Lovern Gordon

Horyou is the social network for social good. How do social networks and technology influence the day-to-day running of the foundation?

I’d say it’s literally the bread and butter of Love Life Now. Our reach via social networks and technology has proven to be limitless. For instance, our newly launched digital domestic violence awareness magazine Love Life Magazine (www.lovelifemag.org), reaches folks in as far as Spain, Africa and the Caribbean. The same goes for our almost daily posts about what we’re doing to foster change…which in turn enables others to let them know they can do the same in their corner of the world.

Feminism is a movement that has gained momentum and has helped people to be aware openly about domestic violence. Do you see the change in women empowerment throughout the years?

Absolutely! Across the world, no matter where you lived…domestic violence was looked upon as a taboo subject, accepted by some cultures, or shameful all around. Though we still have a long, long way to go, I believe it’s no longer business as usual when it comes to women being abused. More women are standing in solidarity with those affected by it. One in every four women will be touched by this issue and in the age of social media where you can show support to other women who no longer want to be silent about it, the empowerment level has been raised up significantly.

White Ribbon Night Gala, where men are invited to speak out against domestic violence
White Ribbon Night Gala, where men are invited to speak out against domestic violence

We live in an age of constant transformation. What are the positive changes you want for women’s lives and for future generations?

A big hope is that the laws surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault are continuously tightened and enforced.

Horyouis the Social Network for Social Good, which connect, support and promote social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens that thrive helping the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Emma Watson
Actress Emma Watson making a speech about her “He For She” campaign with UN Women

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? This is one of the opening lines in “Lean In,” the debut book from well known gender equality advocate Sheryl Sandberg.

Ms Sandberg has gained a lot of traction over the last few years as a champion for helping women to “lean in” in the workplace. Awareness and advocacy for gender equality has always been a women’s movement, but Sheryl and many feminists like her (including men) are changing the dynamic.

In business, a goal without a plan is just a wish. In the campaign for gender neutrality, real goals are being identified at national and international levels and importantly, real plans are being formulated and put into action.

At international level, women and girls are now high on the agenda, as set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to transform our world.

At national level, many companies have introduced quotas of the number of women they want to have in senior positions. This is positive and proactive, however a point was made this year on a gender equality panel at the World Economic Forum.

PM Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, discussing gender parity

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the first ever gender balanced cabinet said that his reasoning in appointing both men and women wasn’t anything to do with “what is right” or “what society will be responsive to.” He said that he would get better decision making and better governance from a group that reflects the diversity in the population he is serving.

This is a turning point. It not only shows action at government level which will most likely trickle down to corporate and civil society but it also realizes that the divide shouldn’t be men and women, appointments should be made on merit, regardless of gender or role.

Prime Minister Trudeau went further in saying that legislation is the easy option. “We need a cultural revolution towards gender parity,” making the point that mind sets can be harder to shift.

Sheryl Sandberg echoed this sentiment and said that this cultural revolution begins at home, with children being treated equally when it comes to chores and pocket money and even with the parents themselves, taking an equal share of responsibilities.

panel
The panel discussing a cultural revolution towards diversity in the workplace

The discussion of gender quality on the world stage is important, however UN Women and passionate gender equality advocate Emma Watson are putting words into action with an international campaign #HeForShe.

He For She is about uniting men and women in the fight against inequality. This campaign is unique in that it brings men into the conversation and encourages them to be part of the solution.There has already been 2.5 million tweets connected to the #HeForShe thread. This is expected to increase as He For She 10 x 10 x 10 rolls out across the world,an initiative in which leaders can adopt a framework and commit to gender equality in their workplace.

It seems that gender equality is now finally part of the conversation, from the world stage down to the kitchen table. No country in the world has ever achieved parity between men and women but as the philosopher Ed Burke once said “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph, is for good men and women to do nothing.”

In the interests of diversity and achieving the greatest good for society, Horyou stands in solidarity with this campaign and every person on the road to achieving equality for men and women.

By Dearbhla Gavin

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