Year: 2013

Photo Credit: Her Turn

Combating Child Marriage in Nepali Villages

By: Kathryn Sall, Her Turn Intern Renuka Thapa came to Nani Maya Gurung’s office crestfallen. Between her tears, broken sentences filled the room. For weeks she had fought with her parents. They were forcing her to get married, but at 18 years old, she wasn’t ready. She had hopes and dreams of a life in Kathmandu – working, earning an income, living on her own. About to complete grade 12, she wanted to finish school and use her education. They wouldn’t listen. Marriage was the appropriate and most secure next step for their daughter, and they felt it their right and duty to make the decision for her. Why waste time finishing school when they had a stable future lined up for her? Renuka disagreed. Thankfully she went to Nani, and thankfully Nani had observed a Her Turn workshop. Nani sits with her shoulders slightly rounded, eyes fixated on the Nepali district map behind me. Her long black plait rests on her back and her weathered, tawny hands nervously click a pen on the desk …

Living Proof - Birth in Nepal

Give Mothers and Babies Life

Imagine this. You are almost nine months pregnant somewhere in rural Nigeria. It is 20 kilometers to the nearest clinic and you have no way to get there without walking. None of your friends or family can afford to help you nor are they able to take the time to care for you. This is something you’ll have to manage yourself. If you have any complication, there are no resources in the clinic for emergency obstetric care, and you have no way to get to a hospital that can help you. Or imagine that you live in Somalia, where the risk is high that you lose your baby during childbirth when there is no one else than an untrained traditional birth attendant who destroys the possibilities of life. Or you’re pregnant in Afghanistan, Niger, or Chad. Some of the most dangerous places on earth to become pregnant and deliver a baby. What would you do when there is nothing else to choose? It is estimated that 200,000 women and girls die due to pregnancy and childbirth …

UNICEF girls education

UNICEF: Innovation for Girls’ Education

The beautiful thing about learning is no one can take it away from you. – B.B. King In partnership with UNICEF and the Global Education First Initiative, I moderated an online discussion on Gender Sensitivity and Girls’ Education. You can find the discussion online at World We Want: Week 2. The discussion was started in recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward. In this discussion, we had individuals from many different countries participate, including: Tajikstan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Uganda, USA, Cambodia, Nigeria, Malawi, and more. To initiate the discussion, we asked the following questions: What barriers are there to gender sensitivity in education? Why are girls less likely to attend school? How can you seek community support for efforts to promote gender sensitivity in education and empowering girls? What methods and tools can be used to work with school administration and teachers to encourage gender sensitivity? The following sections will summarize the discussion. Inspired In this discussion, we received a large number of responses with so many implemented strategies and initiatives. To …


The Ugly Side of Beauty Contests

Recently, in two national beauty contests held on both sides of the Atlantic, the ugly side of beauty reared its racist head as online racist backlash took over the web.  Nina Davuluri, winner of the Miss America Contest, a 24-year-old North American of Indian descent and Flora Coquerel,winner of the Miss France Contest, a 19-year-old whose mother is from the West African state of Benin, both shocked a fraction of humanity as the question was posed: How did they win when they are not white natives to their countries? As a mixed race young woman who has grown up in the UK and exhibits the beauty of Jamaican, Ghanaian and Irish ancestry, I found the racist reactions disturbing to say the least. Here are some of the comments that circulated on Twitter: The United States of America I am literarily soo mad right now a ARAB won. More like Miss Terrorist This is America. Not India Congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you. Asian or indian are you kiddin this is America omg …

Photo Credit: Abate Damte

Full Recap of Family Planning +SocialGood

Running up to the International Conference on Family Planning 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, FHI 360, Packard Foundation and UN Foundation hosted a +SocialGood event to discuss how technology and innovation are enabling the global development community to advance family planning goals and commitments. It was a lively discussion ranging from the role of mobile technology in improving sexual and reproductive health services, to the importance of engaging youth and holding leaders accountable. I was honored to facilitate the discussion and Girls’ Globe members were a part of the exciting media panel discussing the intersection and role of traditional and new media! The event was filmed, so that you can join the discussion and share your thoughts. Above is the full two-hour event and below is the media panel. We want to continue the coversation online from around the world. Tweet your thoughts using #familyplanning and #socialgood to @GirlsGlobe on Twitter.

Marie Curie1

TEDxWomen: Invented Here

On December 6th, I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 TEDxCentennialParkWomen in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2013 TEDWomen main event was held December 4th-6th in San Francisco. Throughout December, over 200 TEDxWomen independently organized events will be held around the world. What is TEDx? TEDx was established with the same intention of TED’s mission “ideas worth spreading.” Organized at the local level, TEDx serves as a platform for organizations, individuals and communities to begin dialogues through “TED-type” experiences. TEDxWomen aims to empower women at every level who have unique and creative ideas that are without a doubt worth sharing. GG blogger @diane_fender attends #TedxCPW in #Atlanta A post shared by Girls' Globe (@girlsglobe) on Dec 6, 2013 at 8:21am PST There were so many inspiring speakers present at TEDxCentennialParkWomen. It was exciting to be a part of the conversation and to hear women in my own community describe how they are creating change around the world. Here are some of the highlights: Karyn Lu Karyn oversees the Insights and Innovations team at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. Karyn talked about her …

Photo Credit: Population Media Center

Empowering Girls and Women through Entertainment Media

By: William N. Ryerson, President of the Population Media Center William N. Ryerson is Founder and President of Population Media Center (PMC), an organization that strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies. He also serves as Chair and CEO of The Population Institute in Washington, DC, which works in partnership with Population Media Center. Mr. Ryerson has a 42-year history of working in the field of reproductive health, including 25 years of experience adapting the Sabido methodology of social change communications to various cultural settings worldwide. The emphasis of PMC’s work is to educate people about the benefits of small families, encourage the use of effective family planning methods, elevate women’s status, prevent exploitation of children, and promote avoidance of HIV infection.  We all need positive role models. We need individuals whose life story could be our own story. We need people whom we can learn from, people who have fought and won the same battles that we fight every day. We need role models …


Youth Vows on Family Planning

By: Amanda Banura Joan, Journalist, Uganda. Amanda is a 20 year-old woman living in Uganda who recently graduated with a diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism. She currently volunteers with a radio station in Uganda as a program presenter and news anchor. She attended the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this past November. This is her coverage of youth commitments to family planning made during the conference. The youth delegates to the 3rd International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) have vowed to be the face and voice of the voiceless in their respective countries regarding issues to do with sexual reproductive health, contraception and family planning issues. Under the newly founded International Youth Alliance on Family Planning (IYAFP), youth met at the African Union Conference center with Liberian journalist Mae Azongo on Friday 15th November, 2013. IYAFP is a global youth platform aimed at advocating for full choice, full access to family planning throughout the world. During The meeting Mae Azongo shared her experience as a women freedom activist in her …

In Korea, We “Hollaback” Against Street Harassment

Last week Korea launched its own Hollaback! website. Hollaback! is an organization and online platform that delivers resources, research, and initiatives aimed at ending street harassment. Most importantly, Hollaback! is a portal for individuals to share personal stories about being harassed or having witnessed someone else being harassed, and for others to show their support for those individuals. According to Hollaback!, “Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. It reinforces sexual objectification of these groups.” A Hollaback! initiative called “I’ve Got Your Back” encourages bystanders to get involved when they witness street harassment, as a way to let harassers know it will not be tolerated. Because it can be dangerous to intervene, find out how you can safely prevent an instance of street harassment. Hollaback! explains, The real motive of street harassment is intimidation. To make its target scared or uncomfortable, …


Maternal Mortality: When Numbers Speak Volumes

The clinical nature of the term ‘maternal mortality’ makes the importance – and the humanity behind the concept – hard to fully grasp. It evokes images of statistics, of numbers and of distant percentage rankings that seem to have little to do with the women we know and meet. Yet, the issue of maternal health has a direct and powerful impact on the most human and personal aspects of our lives: our mothers and our children. The fact is that in the world today, despite the availability of modern technology and huge medical advances, pregnancy poses significant health risk for many women living in parts of the globe. While in developed countries, easy access to high quality care before, during and after pregnancy makes the process safe for most mothers, childbirth is a far more painful and risky process elsewhere in the world. Most maternal deaths are painfully avoidable: women die from basic and preventable, but potentially agonizing complications like hemorrhaging after childbirth, infections, eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, and complications from unsafe abortion procedures. The United …