Maya Nussbaum

mayanussbaumWith women holding less than 20 percent of elected positions, winning less than 12 percent of Nobel Prizes in Literature, and directing just 5 percent of major U.S. films, it seems obvious that their voices aren’t being heard. Maya Nussbaum, 39, is determined to change those numbers through her nonprofit, Girls Write Now. She started the organization in college, “at the age of most of the girls we serve now.” A mentoring program is “the heart” of the organization, says Ms. Nussbaum. The nonprofit pairs high- school girls from underserved neighborhoods in New York with successful women such as Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers for weekly meetings, as well as access to a panel of therapists. Girls Write Now also stages readings by prominent guest speakers such as Gayle Forman (If I Stay series) and Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist), an annually published anthology, as well as free college preparation classes. The organization boasts impressive results with a 100 percent college acceptance rate for participants, one of the reasons the organization was recently nominated for the prestigious Diane von Furstenburg “People’s Voice Award.”—Molly Shilo

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