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Blog: Springfield artist returns to Kickstarter for women’s history trading cards

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In the era of the #MeToo movement, female empowerment is perhaps more important than it’s ever been.

Future leaders in the business and civic communities are growing up in a trying time for women. Mixed political rhetoric that plagues the country daily only adds to feelings of confusion and disillusionment, dividing us into extremes.

It should go without saying that we want our young people to grow into responsible and respectful adults who have the ability to think critically about all issues and wade through nonsensical rhetoric that is prevalent.

These goals can’t be accomplished with a product, but a shift in thinking is needed for adults of today feeding the minds of the women — and men — of tomorrow.

Springfield artist Ellen Schaeffer is back with two new sets of women’s history trading cards in her Persistent Sisters product line. It recently hit Kickstarter, and as of 10:30 a.m., already had $5,713 raised, ahead of its $4,500 goal, with 18 days to go. Side note: You may know Schaeffer from a now-removed mural she painted on the McDaniel building downtown that’s been renovated into The U student housing. I miss that captivating artwork every time I pass by that building.

Schaeffer’s first crowdfunding campaign last year was successful in bringing to life beautifully illustrated trading cards featuring women throughout history. That campaign succeeded with nearly $13,000 via 217 backers.

In her latest campaign, Schaeffer is focusing on women in politics, including the four female justices of the U.S. Supreme Court — Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The cards are illustrated by Schaeffer and others, with a video advertising the campaign created by Springfield digital marketing firm Departika.

“Our women’s history trading cards are an accessible and engaging way to inspire and educate girls of all ages,” Schaeffer says in the video. “We believe girls can be anything.”

Perhaps the empowerment she speaks of can be brought about with trading cards, teaching girls from a young age that business, political and civic leadership positions are not, by any means, unattainable. At the least, it’s part of a larger picture where our worldview toward women shifts for the better.

I was taught by my mother, who I’d consider to be the head of my family, to be respectful to women and treat them impartially. I’ve attempted to live that ethos, and now as a father of two young girls, it’s my desire to pass that knowledge along.

You can do the same. Men, just because they are men, do not deserve higher placement in society. Neither do women, for that matter, but a level playing field is necessary to ensure fairness. It’s attainable, and it’s time.

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