When it comes to gender equality, beauty is often a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, girls and women around the world face impossible beauty standards, blatant objectification, and the sexist assumption that they are somehow only "good for their looks."
On the other hand, ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women everywhere starts with recognizing their incredible potential and true beauty, both inside and out. Beauty and fashion can pidgeonhole women—they can also be powerful sources of identity, self-expression, and even income.
In 2014, a New York City hair stylist named Heather Packer decided she wanted to help women in India better themselves through the power of beauty. So she packed her bags and headed to the North Indian city of Rishikesh to mentor women in the art and business of hairstyling.
Heather and her Fearless Beauty pupils.
One year later, Heather's organization, Fearless Beauty , has graduated its first class of hair stylists and is already looking to expand. In a place where most women are confined to traditional gender roles and given few opportunities to earn income or explore new interests, Fearless Beauty is helping women overcome those barriers and develop valuable skills.
Global Citizen had the chance to meet Heather and hear her story at a Fearless Beauty fundraiser in New York City. Watch the video above to see Heather and her Fearless Beauty pupils in action and find out more about this empowering organization.