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There’s nothing quite like the bond between a mother and daughter. From entertainment to STEM to activism, mother-daughter duos have accomplished some incredible things. Inspired by Mother’s Day, we are going to highlight some extraordinary mother-daughter duos who are working hard to change the world. There’s nothing these women can’t accomplish with dedication and a little matrilineal solidarity.  


Industry: Entertainment

As a successful actress, singer, and dancer, it is no surprise that Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter Willow Smith is making waves in the world of entertainment as well. Like her mother, Willow is a woman of many talents. She began her career acting in films like I Am Legend and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. She now is well known for making pop-punk and alternative music. Both women have won several NAACP Image Awards and advocate for diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. In 2016, Jada Pinkett Smith pushed hard against the Oscars for their lack of diversity, propelling the #Oscarssowhite movement to advocate for greater representation across all award shows. They also host the talk show Red Table Talk together along with Pinkett Smith’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. 


Industry: Global Health Research

This mother-daughter duo collaborated on an international study looking to find why coronavirus (COVID-19) is more common in men than women. Living across the world from each other, their collaboration is all the more inspiring. Dr. Jayanthi Shastri is the head of the Microbiology department in a leading hospital in Mumbai and Dr. Aditi Shastri is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The pair found that the virus may linger in the testes, causing women to be able to flush out the virus much faster than men. This could explain why places such as Italy, South Korea, and New York City reported more male COVID-related deaths than female. 



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A post shared by Miimi & Jiinda Ⓒ (@miimiandjiinda)

Industry: Visual Art

Lauren Jarrett and Melissa Greenwood formed Miimi and Jiinda to create passionate paintings that inspire, connect, and bring light to important issues. The pair hail from Australia’s East Coast and are proud Gumbaynggirr custodians. Many Aboriginal cultures were actively destroyed by colonialism and artists like Jarrett and Greenwood are helping to preserve what is left. They use their artwork to represent their experiences as indigenous women, keep their culture alive, and heal intergenerational trauma. Not only does their art contain representations of their cultural history, but also the precolonial interpretations of nature and country. 


Industry: Water Purification

This mother-daughter duo created the company NALA Systems to revolutionize water purification and help solve the global water crisis. They seek to create new innovative materials that challenge the current tools in water treatment. Reverse osmosis membranes are the leading technology in water purification but can be expensive. NALA seeks to introduce new cost-effective membranes that will make purifying water more efficient and accessible. Their innovative products might just change the direction of water purification for good.  



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A post shared by Lisa Bloom (@lisabloomesq)

Industry: Law

Gloria Allred is an American Women’s Rights attorney known for representing the rights of women in high-profile and often controversial cases. As an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Allred has instituted several legal precedents for the protection of women such as establishing the rights of pregnant actresses to be free from wrongful termination from their jobs. Allred has represented clients against a large number of celebrities such as R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, and Former President Donald Trump. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Lisa Bloom is also a lawyer dedicated to protecting women’s rights. She famously represented three women accusing the then-Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment in a case the resulted in O’Reilly’s dismissal from the company. These women are not only succeeding in a male-dominated industry, they are uplifting and protecting other women along the way. Their work sets legal precedents and creates social change that will continue to help women long after they finish practicing law. 


Industry: Environmental Activism

Berta Isabel Cáceres was an environmental activist and co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. As an indigenous Honduran, she also supported movements such as feminism, LGBT rights, and protesting U.S. military bases in Honduras. She has won several awards for environmental and human rights activism, securing her a lasting legacy in Honduras. In 2016, she was fatally shot in her home by an armed intruder. Honoring her mother, Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres assumed her role as general coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras in 2017. Shortly after, she survived an attempt on her life, but it was not enough to discourage her from continuing her mother’s vision and fighting for the environmental rights of the Lenca people. 


Industry: Entrepreneurship

Teresa Hodge and daughter Laurin Leonard founded the non-profit Mission: Launch, Inc. to give incarcerated women access to technology and entrepreneurship following their release. Inspired by the hardship both faced while Hodge was incarcerated, they use self-employment and civic innovation as re-entry strategies to help women reverse the harmful effects of prison. Criminal backgrounds often act as a gatekeeper to economic security, thus increasing rates of recidivism and creating a vicious cycle. In order to combat this, Mission: Launch, Inc. has supported the development of R3 Score, which they hope will replace traditional background checks and give a more holistic view of an individual beyond their criminal past.


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