SANTA CRUZ — It was after author Trish Allison was laid off from her job in Silicon Valley and on the hunt for a new position that she stumbled upon an image online — one that would inspire her next big step in life.
The image was that of a little girl in pink, thick-rimmed glasses peeking over the top of a laptop computer. Allison was immediately reminded of her own now-grown daughter, and of the modern women’s rights movement.
Allison, who was at the time living pretty much homeless in the bedroom of a friend in Edmons, WA, realized then how she could use her writing skills, as well as her experience as a mother, to support young girls.
Allison created P.I.N.K. Backpack, a series of digital handbooks aimed to teach girls ages 8-10 and their parents about gender equality. The handbooks cover everything from responding to gender bias to understanding consent.
(P.I.N.K. stands for: Persistent. Intelligent. Necessary. Kind.)
“I called my project ‘P.I.N.K. Backpack’ because I want to help parents fill girls’ ‘backpacks’ with gender equality advice and confidence,” Allison stated.
The decision to target the “pre-teen” years was a conscious one; Allison explained that girls at this age are coming into their own as individuals.
“It’s also the age that, unfortunately, girls tend to lose the most confidence in their abilities,” she added. “Hopefully, they’re still willing to look to their parents for guidance.”
Creating a small business from the ground up was a challenge for Allison, who was writing the handbooks in the early mornings, on her lunch hour and on weekends while holding down a Monday-Friday data entry job.
“[It was] all fueled by the hopefulness that opportunities for girls and women were slowly improving,” she said.
Today, Allison is kicking off a crowdfunding campaign to help her create more guidebooks (there are currently nine), hire professionals to help with marketing and hopefully produce audio book versions as well.
Allision added that she also wants to expand her content to parents with sons.
“Boys are 50 percent of the gender-equality equation, and need guidance too,” Allison said.
The current campaign is unique, Allison said, in that she is reaching out to other parents for feedback and their own ideas. Even if someone cannot contribute financially to the campaign, Allison welcomes people to email her at [email protected] for any input they might have.
“My dream is that someday we’ll live in a world where girls are considered equal to boys and ability always comes before gender,” Allison said. “If 'P.I.N.K. Backpack' can make a small contribution to that ideal, I’ll feel like a made a difference.”
To support Allison’s campaign visit pink-backpack.com/invest.
P.I.N.K. Backpack guidebooks are available on amazon.com. A free PDF of the “How to Help Your Daughter Understand Consent” guidebook is available to view at pink-backpack.com.