Kerry Kelly en route to set up a sensor monitoring air pollution in the Great Salt Lake
Entrepreneur Kerry Kelly – profiled in one of our favorite videos of 2023 – is seen here en route to set up a sensor monitoring air pollution in the Great Salt Lake. (Credit: Kerry Kelly)

It would be fair to say that 2023 has been a year of contrast.

We’ve seen worrying regressions on a societal scale around women’s rights. Decreased access to basics such as safe abortions has been seen throughout the U.S., in tandem with a coordinated pushback against women’s professional and personal pursuits outside of the home. Governmental control has taken over women’s abilities to live freely in countries the world over. Disproportionate harm is suffered by women daily amid wars, climate change and other disasters.

Yet there’s a ray of hope to be found – in the broader, more nuanced awareness we’ve seen around these problems. A decided uptick in acknowledgement of the myriad ways in which the sexism and racism built into our societal infrastructure by its largely white, male creators harms us all. It’s discourse that even made its way into one of the biggest films of the year, reflecting both recognition of and interest in these critical issues.

Throughout the year, we at The Story Exchange have been paying attention, and doing our part to shine necessary spotlights on that which ails us. Below, we’ve singled out some of our staff favorites – reflecting on the articles, podcasts and videos we published that, we feel, responsibly tackled complicated problems from places of curiosity, care and respect.

We invite you to peruse them now, so we may greet 2024 informed – and ready.


Credit: Molly Blackbird, Unsplash; Kate Brennan; Courtesy of Shakiba Teimori.

Afghan Women: ‘We Are Not Fragile’

This sprawling, multi-part project explored the plight of women in Afghanistan following the 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops. Numerous interviews, a comprehensive timeline and a detailed podcast took readers through the lived realities of women half a world away.



As Great Salt Lake Dries, Dust Is New Danger

Our video on Kerry Kelly – co-founder of Tellus Networked Air Quality Sensors, which is developing a low-cost sensor to measure air pollution – serves as both an informative package on an accomplished woman entrepreneur, and a cautionary tale on climate change’s effects.



The Real Tradwives of America

A thoughtful deep dive into “tradwife” culture, in which women seek to live out old-fashioned gender roles that see them beholden to husband, house and home, left us reeling – especially when we saw how popular social media posts on the subject were.



Media coverage of the split between actress Sophie Turner (pictured here) and singer Joe Jonas has shed a light on a far bigger, nastier issue. (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

Joe Jonas, Luis Rubiales and Men’s Sense of Entitlement to Women

A series of celebrity news headlines drew attention to a growing, worrying trend of men demonstrating the right they feel to own women’s creations, women’s rights, women’s bodies – women’s identities. This op-ed breaks the problem down.



Mary Claire Haver, a board-certified OB-GYN, has written a book on best foods for menopause. She's a new site,, for women looking for advice and curated products related to menopause. (Credit: Courtesy of Mary Claire Haver)

Known for Her TikTok Videos, a Menopause Expert Launches a New Brand

Dr. Mary Claire Haver rose to prominence by bringing menopause education to the TikTok masses. She has now parlayed online fame into the launch of a startup,, where she’ll more formally curate and share vital information on this phase of life.



Understanding Abortions Through Storytelling

The aim of this several-part series was to put real faces and voices to the statistics behind abortion, and the harmful effects of cutting off access to it – to encourage readers to view abortion as a human issue, rather than a political one.



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A Night off From Drinking: Why More People Are Embracing Booze-Free Nightlife

“I didn’t realize how revolved around alcohol the city was until I quit drinking.” So says one interview subject in this witty trend piece, which explores the businesses catering to a growing sober-curious crowd seeking clear-headed nights out.



3 Summer Products Made By Women, for Black and Brown Kids

A handy listicle featuring several participants in our 1,000+ Stories project, that can serve as a great go-to guide for finding the safety products (and cute ones, too!) that will keep children of color protected – and guarantee them some fun in the sun.



The Moonbird device, invented by Stefanie and Michael Broes, expands and contracts to guide deep breathing. (Credit: Courtesy of the company.)

As Anxiety Rates Soar, More Startups Promise a Way to Chill

We’re not sure a piece could be as timely as this one is. From devices that regulate our breathing to software that mimics psychedelic trips, entrepreneurs are aiming to sooth our jangled, weary nerves as we live through mounting crises.



‘The Artist’s Way,’ and the Limitations We Place on Women’s Imaginations

Perhaps more of a blog post than an article, this contemplation of a guided self-exploratory journey is less about the experience itself, and more about the ways in which societal inequities prohibit women from exploring themselves at all.