Bustle's 2019 Rule Breakers lineup is already a true celebration of us — women and nonbinary individuals setting trends and shattering the status quo in ways that are all our own, both big and small. With a headlining performance by music's It girl, Lizzo, and special appearances by celebrity rule breakers Stacey Abrams, Busy Philipps, and more, it's a day that's all about fun, empowerment, and moving conversations forward. But at the heart of Rule Breakers is the mission to improve the lives of women both globally and in our backyards. That's why Bustle Rule Breakers is donating $10,000 to each of three different philanthropic organizations that align with this goal: Smile On Me, Noise For Now, and She Is The Music.
All three organizations put young women front and center, whether that's by giving them equal steady footing to pursue music, or helping to make sure they have access to necessities like feminine hygiene products and mental wellness. Dre Thomas, founder of Smile On Me, a nonprofit that helps adolescents navigate puberty in New York City, says the most important rule-breaking thing we can all do is to shatter stigma when it comes to women's issues, wherever possible. "Being able to have these conversations about puberty and menstruation and mental wellness with girls of this age, I think we are breaking a societal rule of being hush hush about these things, which is not doing anyone any favors," she tells Bustle.
Thomas, who was herself a Bustle readers' Rule Breakers pick in 2018, is ready to bring some of these hushed conversations into the light. Now in its third year, her organization Smile On Me is expanding its mission by helping adults sort out the trauma they may still carry due to problematic messaging they received about puberty growing up. "Things that happen in our childhood or teen years, if we don't address them then, they follow us all the way throughout adulthood," Thomas says. "So what we're doing this fall is actually launching another series where we're actually working with older girls and women to talk about some of the self-limiting ideas that we have, and how we can address those as a larger community."
Joining Smile On Me in the mission to support women with stigma-free resources is Noise For Now. The national initiative helps performers financially support grassroots organizations fighting for women's reproductive rights. Artists can team up with the nonprofit to organize benefit concerts and other events across the country, with proceeds going back to groups working to protect women's health and abortion rights. By partnering with other organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds and Planned Parenthood, Noise For Now is able to direct funding to areas of the U.S. where women's access to reproductive care is most at risk.
Rule Breakers' third partner, She Is The Music, is a global nonprofit whose mission is to drive equality and inclusivity for women. In an industry where only 12% of credited songwriters and 2% of credited producers are women, She Is The Music is working to change those numbers by creating more opportunity across all corners – songwriting, producing, engineering, live/touring, and beyond. The organization has three tentpole initiatives: all-female writing sessions, the largest global database of women creators, and a mentorship program to develop future generations of rising girls. In bringing the industry together to be a force for change, SITM is helping women to connect, collaborate and create, and ultimately make the world of music a better place.
Bustle's Rule Breakers is all about amplifying women's voices — on a local, national, and global scale. By partnering up with these nonprofit organizations, we're one step closer to meeting that goal.