This tailoring shop breaks a gender barrier you might not have even known about.

What do you think of when you think of sewing?

Probably something like this, right?


Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

What about sewing at the professional level? You know, like a seamstress.

Probably something like this?

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

But what about a step above that? A true master craftsman. Like a professional tailor...

Maybe that brings to mind something like this?


Photo by Harry Kerr/BIPs/Getty Images.

Or this?

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Notice anything?

Something strange happens when a job generally associated with women is done by men: Women are left behind, while men are considered the masters of the trade.

Think about it. Nurses can do many of the things doctors do, but it's often assumed that women will be nurses and men will be doctors. It wasn't that long ago that all women were expected to know how to cook, and still today there are those who insist a woman's place is in the kitchen. And yet ... many of the most famous chefs are men. Though things are changing slowly, there is a clear gender divide that's pervasive across many industries.

Women are notoriously underrepresented as business CEOs, pilots, high-level software developers, master sushi chefs, you name it.

There are numerous social and societal factors causing this in every trade, but among them is the socially constructed idea that a "master," someone who's dedicated a huge portion of their lives to perfecting a single trade, is a man.

Which is why it was pretty big news when master tailor Kathryn Sargent opened a shop on London's historic Savile Row.

As the first-ever woman to do so, Sargent has made some very significant history.

"It feels wonderful to be on Savile Row, and like a real sense of achievement," she told The Guardian.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Savile Row is a street that, for 213 years, has been known for its traditional tailoring for men.

Shops there have dressed everyone from Winston Churchill to Fred Astaire to Elton John.

A shop on Savile Row in 1957. Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Historically, the tailoring industry has been largely male-dominated, with young boys entering the trade at a very young age. In the early 1800s, when women first started to enter the industry, they were met with great hostility.

Men at the time thought that having women present would undercut the great skill and dedication necessary to become a tailor.

In "Well Suited: A History of the Leeds Clothing Industry," Katrina Honeyman writes:

"Many men, but not all, dreaded women entering the trade and viewed them as instruments of capitalist deskilling. The economic problems facing the tailors in the 1830's resembled those of radical artisans in other trades, as subcontracting systems undercut the craft strength of the skilled man and intensified gender hostility."

Times are changing for the better, though. According to Sargent, a majority of the newly qualified tailors last year were women, and the industry is becoming more diverse.

Sargent's shop, which dresses both men and women, has helped tear a hole straight through the fabric ceiling.

Photo by Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images.

"I am thrilled to be making history," Sargent told The Guardian. "Although for me being a woman is incidental, I am a tailor first and foremost. There’s more and more women coming through now and doing the training."

Every time there's a "first" like this, it changes our perceptions.

Achievements in diversity and representation are important not just for the individuals who earn them, but for how our society views the world.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Tailoring might be a niche trade that most of us never even think about, but for an entire generation of people, it just went from looking like this...

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

...to looking like this.

Photo by Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images.

And that's pretty cool.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."