Equal Everywhere
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This story was originally shared on #EqualEverywhere — a campaign to champion the changemakers working to make equality for girls and women a reality. You can find the original story here.

Christine T. Rose is founder and CEO of Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting, a boutique coaching firm in the greater Seattle area dedicated to facilitating and accelerating transformation for individuals and organizations. The firm has helped business leaders grow their leadership skills, teams, and companies since 2015. Christine's book, Life Beyond #MeToo: Creating a Safer World for our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Friends, lays out a vision for freedom from violence and discrimination and offers tools for taking action to change the world.

Why do you advocate for equal rights for girls and women?

I grew up in a home with three sexual abusers. My early life was traumatic. In fact, I've forgotten much of my childhood and made some very poor decisions about relationships with men as a result. I've spent years working with counselors and coaches, reclaiming my life and rebuilding on the ashes of past abuse. I also have experienced workplace sexual harassment. I've volunteered and coached and worked with countless girls and women who have shared stories of harassment, abuse, and violence. I have felt the call to use what I know about coaching to help others who have faced similar challenges. Even recently, since press releases about the book have gone out, I've been subjected to online sexual harassment from people I've never met. It's an epidemic which needs immediate attention around the world.

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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