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The Vegan Women Summit (VWS) is a first-of-its-kind summit designed to inspire and empower female plant-based change makers across different industries, from food tech to animal activism. After hosting its inaugural summit in February this year, the VWS is continuing to make an impact through virtual events, talks and conferences. It recently organised an online discussion on racial equity and veganism as a part of its ongoing work to tackle bias and discrimination in the food tech and broader tech world.
Founded by San Francisco-based long-time tech community relations leader Jennifer Stojkovic, the VWS is dedicated to building an equitable and diverse representation of female leaders. It was launched earlier this year at its global conference in partnership with prominent vegan companies such as Miyoko’s Creamery and Stray Dog Capital, as well as tech giants such as Facebook and WeWork.
Since then, despite the coronavirus pandemic, the VWS has continued its work to address the issues of inequality, discrimination and bias at the intersection of gender and race across industries that are widely considered to be among the most progressive in the world, including the worlds of tech and food tech.
The Vegan Women Summit was founded to empower the voices of women in the vegan movement. For far too long, women of colour, particularly Black women, have led the way in this movement, yet have failed to be recognised for their contributions.Jennifer Stojkovic, Founder of the VWS
Earlier in June, the VWS hosted a virtual discussion forum on racial equity and veganism summit with Tabitha Brown, a TikTok influencer, teen CEO Haile Thomas and Jasmine Leyva, the director of the Invisible Vegan alongside a handful of other Black female leaders, attracting over 1,000 attendees.
“The Vegan Women Summit was founded to empower the voices of women in the vegan movement. For far too long, women of colour, particularly Black women, have led the way in this movement, yet have failed to be recognised for their contributions,” said Stojkovic.
Social justice and diversity issues have risen to the forefront of headlines in recent months, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, which triggered nationwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination.
With the conversation on inclusion renewed, many brands have found themselves at odds with consumers after instances of racism and rampant non-diverse workplace culture became exposed.
Take sustainable fashion darling Reformation’s founder Yael Aflalo, for instance, who recently stepped down from her role as CEO after multiple former employees of the company accused Aflalo of racist behaviour and spoke out against the company’s long-standing exclusionary environment.
Looking ahead, the VWS hopes to be able to continue launching a series of virtual discussions and to use the platform to break what its founder Stojkovic described to Green Queen as a “cycle of bias and discrimination and siloed investing”.
All images courtesy of Vegan Women Summit.