THE BRA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD… The 1970s saw women coming into their own, working hard to create new roles at home and in sports, culture, politics, and business. It was also the start of the “fitness revolution.” At this unique intersection of feminism and athleticism, Lisa Lindahl’s game-changing entrepreneurial journey began.
She invented the first sports bra, the “Jogbra,” in 1977. It was the right product at the right time, throwing Lisa into a high-stakes world of business and power—a world for which she was not fully prepared. Unleash the Girls is the improbable story of a young artist with a disability who used her powers of creativity to solve a vexing problem and ended up leveling the playing field for girls and women across the globe—literally, unleashing the girls.
Her invention would become a feminist icon and the company she founded would change an industry. But amid the success, Lisa continued to search for meaning and the true nature of power and beauty. This is the untold story of the invention of the sports bra and how it changed the world for girls and women...and, along the way, changed Lisa, too.
Lisa Z. Lindahl is an artist, inventor, women’s health advocate and shamanic practitioner. In 2020 she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for inventing the sports bra in 1977, revolutionizing athletic participation for women and girls. She has a BS in Education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s of Arts in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University in California. She splits her time between Charleston, South Carolina and Colchester, Vermont.
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Unleash the Girls
Life is about the evolution of all of us—not just women, but humankind. It is about how we learn, grow, come to know—how we become. We evolve and change constantly. We make an effort. We surrender. We dig in our heels. We get attached, tied down, tied into or tied up. But every once in a while, we get unleashed. Or, better yet, we unleash ourselves—sometimes in the oddest, most counterintuitive ways possible—whether it’s by partnering with a shadow teacher or by wearing a particular kind of bra.