In our fast-paced world of the 24-hour news cycle and seemingly endless social media scrolling, it can be all too easy to get overwhelmed by an overload of information. Read on to help keep your feeds filled only with the smartest, most informed (and opinionated) people in the game. 

Our list of the top 10 advocates for diversity to follow on social media includes a wide range of powerhouses, from an indigenous rights attorney to the most powerful showrunner in the world. 

Reshma Saujani - Attorney, Activist, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code 

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Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change what the world thinks a computer programmer is supposed to look like. She's also the author of the recent international bestseller, “Brave, Not Perfect” and a New York Times bestseller called “Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World.” 

Saujani began her career as an attorney and activist, becoming the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress in 2010. It was during her run that she got the idea to start Girls Who Code, due to the gender gap she was witnessing in computing classes. By the end of the 2019 academic year, Girls Who Code reached more than 185,000 girls across all 50 States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and was awarded most innovative nonprofit by Fast Company. If that wasn't enough, Saujani also serves on the Board of Overseers for the International Rescue Committee, providing aid to refugees and those impacted by humanitarian crises.

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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Geena Davis - Actress, Activist, Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media

Virginia Elizabeth “Geena” Davis started her career as a successful actress, starring in films such as “Beetlejuice” (1988), “Thelma and Louise” (1991), and “A League of Their Own” (1992).

She went on to start the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media in 2004 — the only organization working collaboratively within the entertainment industry to “engage, educate and influence the creation of gender balanced on screen portrayals.” 

The goal of her organization is to reduce harmful stereotypes and increase the number of unique female characters in Hollywood movies. In 2015, Davis also launched the Bentonville Film Festival, an initiative in support of women and diversity in the entertainment industry that helps provide a platform to boost the commercial value of content produced by and starring minorities and women.

You can follow her organization on Twitter and Instagram.

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⚾"Pitch me!"⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ In her interview with @parademagazine Geena talked #ALeagueofTheirOwn, age discrimination, and gender inequality in Hollywood. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ When asked to explain what the gender bias in Hollywood is about she had this to say:⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ "Half of it is the idea that men don’t want to watch women in leading roles. The other half is unconscious gender bias. For the most part, women take up very little space onscreen, are valued for their appearance and don’t get to do the adventurous and important things. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ It’s unconscious gender bias that’s responsible, not a Hollywood plot against women."⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ To read the full interview check out the link in bio:⁠⠀ https://parade.com/560797/dotsonrader/geena-davis-talks-girl-power-sports-and-the-25th-anniversary-of-a-league-of-their-own/

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Candice Morgan - Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Pinterest

Candice Morgan is Pinterest’s first-ever Head of Inclusion and Diversity, a role that was created in 2016 to address the tech company (and Silicon Valley's) lack of diversity — according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than 60 percent of the tech industry in general is white. 

The diversity problem at Pinterest was brought to light two years ago by one of their female programmers, Tracy Chou, prompting the company to pledge to increase the number of women and people of color. Morgan was hired on as the head of D&I. It was in July of the same year that Pinterest announced its goals to improve inclusiveness at the company. Before joining the company she worked for a decade at Catalyst, Inc., a global consultancy focused on diversity and inclusion. 

You can follow her on Twitter.

Jameela Jamil - Actress, Activist, Model and Radio Host

From the time she was only about a year old, actress and activist Jameela Jamil was partially deaf, requiring seven operations on the inside of her ears by the time she was 12. Jamil also suffered from an eating disorder during her teenage years before being hit by a car at 17. It was that experience that changed her life, and eventually she snagged the supporting role of Tahani on NBC’s hit comedy series, “The Good Place.” 

Besides being an outspoken activist for what she calls “body neutrality,” Jamil became a symbol for female empowerment through the I Weigh platform she launched at the end of 2018 —  sparked in part by the negative self talk and rampant use of photoshop Jamil had been seeing all over platforms like Instagram. She started the Instagram account as a safe place where women can be themselves, and it’s now going strong with thousands of posts from women all over the world publicly declaring that they are more than what they see in the mirror, or on a scale.

You can follow Jamil on Twitter and her platform on Instagram.

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I can’t believe we are almost at a MILLION followers on @i_weigh a movement that started as a rebellion against eating disorder culture has moved on to become how we all fight back against erasure and shame in general. Watching so many people from so many different backgrounds embrace their power and redefine their worth outside of what our ignorant and reductive society deems their value to be... is the most beautiful part of my career. I make an @i_weigh whenever I feel like I’m losing touch with my own worth, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you don’t feel confident enough to post it publicly, just making one is so empowering. Capitalism wants us to buy stuff this month, so we are being doubled down upon to feel dissatisfied with ourselves. Fight back with gratitude and self love. ❤️

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Jean René (JR) - Artist, Activist

Jean René, better known simply as JR, is a French artist who rose to prominence by combining photography with large scale art that he put up anonymously in places like buildings, trains and bridges throughout Paris in order to shed light on lesser-seen communities and cultures. JR came out with a project called Women are Heroes in 2009, winning the TED Prize in 2011. The project recognizes and highlights the social role of women in areas of conflict, such as Africa, Brazil, India and Cambodia and celebrates their heroism. JR is also known for a project called “Kikito” on the Mexican border, in which the figure of a large innocent-looking child peers over the wall from Mexico to the United States.

You can follow him on Instagram.

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Part 1/2 TEHACHAPI Maximum Security prison - I have always been interested in jails. After all, as canvas jails are just closed walls. I did a project a few years ago in Rikers Island and it was a fascinating experience because nothing happens in a prison, and when those who are there are confronted with something new, it quickly becomes a highlight. They invest so much energy in it that it gets very emotional. A friend called me recently to say that I could be granted access to a jail in California. At first, I thought it would be too much paperwork and constraints, but luckily someone who participated in The Chronicles of San Francisco facilitated the process. So, with Google Earth, I browsed all the 35 State prisons of California, and I chose Tehachapi without knowing it was a maximum security prison... I just thought that the yard and the surroundings would make a perfect image. The idea was to meet with men working on rehabilitation, and to also engage formerly incarcerated men, their family members, as well as the prison staff, and survivors of violent crimes. When I got there, I understood that most of these men were incarcerated when they were teenagers between 13 and 20 ... I told them about my project and made it clear that I did not want to know what they had done. They had a trial, they have been sentenced and I am not their judge. Nevertheless, a couple of guys left because they felt that their presence would be embarrassing for their families or for the families of their victims. I was asked not to approach the guys too closely because they are not comfortable with interactions but when I got in, I couldn't refrain from looking at them in the eyes, shaking their hands, introducing myself and asking their names. Just because that’s what humans do. They were amazingly grateful for this... A number of them were in prison for life because of the three strikes law in California. ( Part 2 on next post ) #representjustice @cacorrections

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Shonda Rhimes - Television Writer, Showrunner, Producer, Director and Book Author

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Serious question: is there anything that Shonda Rhimes can't do? The award-winning producer, known for iconic and diverse shows such as “Grey's Anatomy”, “Private Practice” and “Scandal,” managed to build what is known as TV's most successful empire, and Rhimes herself is the most powerful showrunner in Hollywood. 

During her 2016 TED Talk, Rhymes stated her shows air in 256 territories in 67 languages for an audience of 30 million people. Her production company, Shondaland, has also produced hits like “How to Get Away with Murder” and “The Catch,” alongside its new audio branch that’s set to produce more than a dozen I Heart Radio original podcasts. Her Shondaland website also produces inspiring content about the real stories and struggles of women as well as business advice, wellness and more. Rhymes’s first Netflix series will debut in 2020 — a show about infamous scammer Ana Delphi called “Inventing Ana.” 

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh - Author, Tech Entrepreneur

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh founded Muslimgirl.com at the young age of 17 after feeling fed up by the gross misrepresentation she had been seeing about the Middle East, particularly about Muslim women. Her site, which serves as a lifestyle site for younger generations to feel normalized and inspired, aims to take back and own that narrative. She also launched the first official Muslim Women's Day in 2017 — a day to celebrate Muslim women and amplify their voices. She also launched the first official Muslim Women's Day in 2017 — a day to celebrate Muslim women and amplify their voices.

You can follow her on Twitter and Muslim Girl on Instagram.

Jillian Mercado - Model, Activist

Jillian Mercado is a disabled Latinx model who grew up with a love for fashion, but felt she didn’t see herself represented. After receiving a degree in marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Mercado interned at Allure magazine to “learn the politics behind fashion so I could hire people who looked like me,” she said at Women of the World’s 10th annual summit. She’s since gone on to model for top brands such as Diesel, Nordstrom, Target and modelled merchandise for Beyoncé’s Formation world tour. Mercado is an outspoken activist, pushing for greater representation of disabled models in the industry. 

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Jennifer Foyle - Global Brand President, Aerie

The Global Brand President at Aerie, Jennifer Foyle has had a hand in revolutionizing the methods of marketing lingerie to young women as well as the standards for photoshopping in fashion campaigns. Foyle has been at Aerie since 2010, and has since turned the brand on its head, eventually launching the #AerieReal unretouched ad campaign in 2014. Foyle has also gone onto sign Aerie Real Role Models — beautiful, diverse women in every sense of the word, as well as casting actual customers in shoots for their website. Behind the scenes, the brand also redesigned each one of their bra frames and extended sizing to cover up to a 42 DDD and a size XXL. 

You can follow Aerie on Twitter and the #AerieReal hashtag on Instagram.

Tara Houska - Attorney, Activist 

Tara Houska is an Indigenous Rights Attorney of the Couchiching First Nation, advocating on behalf of tribal nationals at the local and federal levels. She has engaged in activism around the country — standing alongside indigenous communities and advocates to help protect their rights. Houska is also the founder of Not Your Mascots, a nonprofit committed to educating the public about the harms of stereotyping and promoting positive representation of Native Americans in the public sphere, especially sports. 


You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Published on Dec 13, 2019