Lena Dunham's Newsletter Is Celebrating Women In A Way It Never Has Before

Who runs the world?

Lena Dunham's newsletter, Lenny Letter, has been a fresh outlet for feminist perspectives since it launched in October 2015. Twice a week, the online newsletter features a series of interviews, op-eds, poetry, and even works of fiction to celebrate womanhood and advocate for gender equality. The newsletter was created by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, best known for their work on the HBO show Girls. For the week of July 19, Lenny has partnered up with GE to do something they have never done before: focus on women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Women in science have made extraordinary discoveries and technological advances, yet many still face underrepresentation and sexist discrimination. This week, Lenny is taking a closer look at this complex issue, celebrating and supporting women who take on these challenges every day of their careers.

This might be the first time Lenny is focusing on issues related to science and technology, but the empowering approach is exactly in line with what readers have come to expect. 

Lenny co-creator Lena Dunham (left) interviewing GE's Vice Chair Beth Comstock (right) for a feature about women working in science and technology.
Lenny co-creator Lena Dunham (left) interviewing GE's Vice Chair Beth Comstock (right) for a feature about women working in science and technology. Autumn de Wilde

One of the main features is an interview between Dunham and Beth Comstock, the first female Vice Chair of GE. They talk about what a career in science actually looks like, women in the media, and how GE is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to encouraging women in tech. 

"GE is a science company at our heart. We have science, engineering, technology," Comstock tells Dunham in the interview. "In the last 18 months, we've doubled the number of women tech executives across GE and we're focused on driving our entry level engineering talent to 50 percent women."

Another incredible woman doing big things at GE is Alexa Christon, Head of Media Innovation. (Christon was responsible for making the connection between GE and Lenny.) She spoke with A Plus about how important the partnership is to supporting women in science, given how educated and passionate the readers of the newsletter are on a wide variety of topics. 

"Lenny has been amazing at pushing the envelope in journalism for what we think is a niche community: younger females who are really educated and pushing the envelope in their careers, in the world, in topics of politics, fashion, society, and pop culture," Christon told A Plus during a phone interview. "We are really excited about partnering with them to highlight women in science and tech."

An amazing facet of this week's partnership is that it doesn't strictly focus on women from GE or women doing scientific research. All of the features are accompanied by original illustrations from Rachel Levit Ruiz, who brings a unique feel to her drawings. There's also a short science fiction story written by Alice Sola Kim, which helps to strip away stereotypes of who writes sci-fi and who enjoys it.

Alice Sola Kim, author of the sci-fi story "The Next World And The Next" for Lenny Letter.
Alice Sola Kim, author of the sci-fi story "The Next World And The Next" for Lenny Letter. Willy Soma

Dunham prefaces Kim's story, The Next World And The Next, with her own tale of being disillusioned by the portrayal of women in the genre. While sci-fi gives us the chance to explore some of the biggest questions about humanity and technology, women are typically absent from the narrative or only exist in a hyper-sexualized capacity. 

Because the newsletter focuses on women in STEM this week, it was also a golden opportunity to showcase Kim's incredibly original story that demands we confront our ideas about what it means to be human in the face of life and death.

"I think [readers] will find [the partnership] delightful," Christon told A Plus. "It's not talking about GE, it's not talking about women in science in a direct way, it's talking about this influence of female perspective across business, across art, there's a focus on Girls Who Code. It's really the gamut of what females are doing in science and technology."

Head on over to Lenny Letter to read all of the features from the partnership with GE, and don't forget to subscribe to catch the second issue later this week!

Cover image: Autumn de Wilde