Times Square in more crowded pre-pandemic times, circa 2016. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
One of our fave stories this year was Broadway re-opening, with works by influential women playwrights. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

If ever a year allowed us to experience the full range of human emotion…

But in addition to real concern, and tentative hope — and everything in between — we’re also feeling some pride here at The Story Exchange. Throughout the roller coaster that was 2021, we did our best to cover the most important stories, from Covid vaccines and our ever-evolving work landscape, to women founders forging ahead through trying times of economic and climate change.

Now, we invite you to peruse our in-house favorites, as selected by The Story Exchange team, in no particular order.

1

(Credit: Ryan Lash, TED)

The Woman Who Wants to Change the Way We See Forests

This profile focuses on “Mother Tree” author Suzanne Simard, and her work to show the larger ecological world that trees are interconnected. We also loved Simard’s thoughts on how humans could learn from our branched brethren. (Picked by Victoria Flexner)

2

(Credit: Chris Montgomery, Unsplash)

Too Good to Be True? Experts Advise Caution With Multi-Level Marketing Claims

This article is equal parts explainer and cautionary tale about the risks inherent in signing on with MLMs. These deceptively attractive business models are an especially big pitfall for women — a problem made worse, still, by the pandemic. (Picked by Colleen DeBaise)

3

Even before the pandemic, women were running the caregiving show. The spread of Covid-19 has only exacerbated the situation – and women’s businesses and careers are suffering as a result. (Credit: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

‘Mom Guilt’ Was Already a Thing. Then the Pandemic Made it Hell for Caregivers

A deep dive into the ways in which women are disproportionately carrying child and elder care duties. The women entrepreneurs we spoke with shared their ongoing struggles with balancing businesses and home management. (Picked by Candice Helfand-Rogers)

4

(Credit: Fatima Babakura)

During Ramadan and Eid, These Muslim Women Entrepreneurs Are Offering Faith and Fashion

This piece was smart, informative, and taught us something new by featuring several inventive Muslim entrepreneurs — whom we never get to hear from enough — and their work mixing faith and fashion together. (Picked by Corinne Lestch)

5

(Credit: Destini Copp)

10 Women Tell Us How They Find Inspiration on Their Darkest Days

Women entrepreneurs shared with us their ways of remaining positive — or, at least, as positive as possible — through life’s rough patches. Their methods range from meditation to tequila. None of those sound like bad ideas to us. (Picked by Victoria Flexner)

6

Kati Kariko, shown here in 1989, worked for years in labs before her work would be taken seriously. (Credit: Kati Kariko)

Toiling for Years Behind the Scenes, Female Scientists Finally Get Respect for Covid-19 Vaccines

Kati Kariko, Melissa Moore and Kathrin Jansen are women scientists who defied odds and worked through heaps of sexism to bring us the technology behind our Covid-19 vaccines. At last, they are getting the recognition they deserve. (Picked by Colleen DeBaise and Zoya Hasan)

7

Coverage of Winslow Farms Founder Debra White

Our ”Healing With Animals” podcast and accompanying video profile of White offer some feel-good entrepreneurial coverage. We were especially moved by the influence of her father, who had Parkinson’s and died young. (Picked by Colleen DeBaise and Sue Williams)

8

(Credit: Womaness)

Why Investor-Backed Startups Are (Finally) Tackling the $600 Billion Menopause Market

Older women exist, and a growing crop of founders is tending to their needs through assorted products and services. Those with the purse strings are, at last, catching on — and we loved this look into what that means for this industry. (Picked by Candice Helfand-Rogers)

9

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Finally, Broadway Is Coming Back. But the Pandemic Made an Indelible Impact on These Playwrights

The Story Exchange got to speak with the creative minds behind two of the biggest Broadway comebacks in 2021. After such a long stretch without live art, it was refreshing to hear from them — and of course, to see their works onstage again. (Picked by Corinne Lestch)

10

(Credit: Kristopher Harris, Wikimedia Commons)

Adele Has New Music on the Way – Not That You’d Know It

Ahead of the release of Adele’s latest album, we published this personal reflection on the ways in which media outlets over-emphasized the singer’s weight loss while writing about the highly anticipated record. (Picked by Colleen DeBaise)

11

Mealworm snacks made by Don Bugito. (Credit: Don Bugito)

Edible Insects Still a Tough Sell, Even as Climate Change Affects Food Supply

Crickets, mealworms and kelp are the main menu items in this article about alternative eats and the women entrepreneurs trying to sell them to reluctant American consumers. (Picked by Sue Williams)

12

(Credit: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

Our Artificial Intelligence Podcasts

Artificial intelligence is an emerging technology with great potential. But since it’s made by humans, it’s subject to human biases — and racial and gender inequalities are manifesting in AI as a result. Through part one and part two of this podcast series, we explored how. (Picked by Zoya Hasan)

13

(Credit: Liza Summer, Pexels)

Our Personal Finance Series

With help from some respected experts, this three-part series breaks down the concepts of investing, credit and homeownership for younger women, to help them start their adult lives on the right fiscal foot. (Picked by Candice Helfand-Rogers)

14

An Urban Farmer Reflects on Food Justice, Black Dirt and Leaving the Bronx Behind

This video profile and article give us insight into the work of Karen Washington, the founder of the Garden of Happiness and Rise & Root Farm. She is, quite literally, planting seeds for future generations of urban farmers and food activists to grow. (Picked by Sue Williams)

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