Month: April 2016

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I Breastfed my Baby in Public and Found an Unexpected Ally

A few days ago, my son and I had a rough moment. We were at a family fair in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and he was exhausted but just could not calm down and fall asleep. We’ve been traveling a lot over the pats few weeks, and he is such a great traveler that sometimes I forget that even though he doesn’t always show it, all this change and stimulation must be exhausting and overwhelming – and sometimes it just all becomes too much. I was desperately pushing him in his stroller around the bumpy streets of Dumbo, and he was screaming and crying uncontrollably. In between his screams I could hear a desperate “Mama, mama… Moooo! Moooo!” – “Mo” is what he calls breastmilk. I knew that if I could nurse him somewhere for a few minutes, he would not only calm down but probably fall right asleep – but I couldn’t find anywhere to sit down. Finally I found a ledge coming out of a wall that was just wide enough for me to prop myself …

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I Am in Love with Gender Equity

As the Program Support and Communications intern at Help Lesotho, a Canadian NGO addressing issues of gender equity, leadership, community empowerment and HIV/AIDS, it was part of my duty to take pictures of the Leaders-in-Training Program (LIT) participants during their journey. The LIT Program is an intensive, 60-day training program that develops resilient young people (aged 18-30) in Lethoso to become a new generation of leaders by helping them change unhealthy behaviours and providing them with a safe environment to heal, learn and grow. LIT explores gender, sexual violence, HIV/AIDS, leadership, decision-making, communication, self-esteem and grief and loss. On the first day of LIT, I encountered a group of three young men and asked them, like I had asked everyone else, if I could take a picture of them. They silently stared at me for a few moments and then one of them said, “Wait, I’m drinking water.” As I waited, I began to see that he was purposely drinking slowly, relishing whatever power he thought he held over me by making me wait. When I realized what …

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Crowdfund The Mom Pod with Us!

Today, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise $35,000 in six weeks! Launched in January 2016, The Mom Pod is a bi-weekly podcast series related to motherhood around the world, produced and hosted by Girls’ Globe bloggers and new mothers Julia Wiklander and Emma Saloranta. We have already produced 6 episodes, reaching individuals in over 50 countries and listened to over 1000 times! E pisodes cover a range of issues important to mothers and incorporate interviews, surveys and more to inform and raise awareness about issues relevant to parents and other caregivers. The Mom Pod episodes bring together research, data, hot topics in the media and personal stories and experiences from mothers around the world. The Objectives of The Mom Pod are: to promote understanding and tolerance to share experiences, information and practice across cultures to disseminate interesting and important information to parents and people working with maternal and child health on relevant and timely topics to create a judgement-free space to share personal, sensitive and uplifting stories of motherhood Emma and Julia decided …

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One Year Later, Girls’ Voices Are As Critical as Ever In Nepal’s Earthquake Recovery Efforts

This post was written by Aparna Singh, Women LEAD’s Communication and Programs Associate, and Stephanie Arzate, Research and Communications Fellow Imagine the longest fifty-six seconds of your life. This is how I remember the April 25th Earthquake that struck Nepal exactly one year ago today. That Saturday morning, I was at the Women LEAD office facilitating a workshop with around fifteen girls in our year-long leadership program when the office began to shake violently. For a mere minute, we watched as the office swayed in every direction. By 11:57 AM, we emerged from the office to find that our country had changed forever, sometimes in ways that we could never imagine. The April 25th Earthquake brought us closer to death than anything else many of us will ever experience, and unfortunately took away the lives, homes, and hopes of thousands of people. But amongst all the sorrow and pain that came from that tragic day, I remember seeing something that was truly magical. For a year, Women LEAD selects 30 high-achieving girls in the Kathmandu …

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#6 – Breastfeeding Mothers Share Experiences

In this episode of The Mom Pod, we meet mothers Kristina and Maria from Sweden, Felogene from Kenya and Julie from the United States. All four of these mothers have chosen to breastfeed, and in different phases of their breastfeeding journey they share their experiences, and talk about the challenges they have faced and the support they have received. Although these mothers are from different corners of the world, there are several common denominators in the equation of making breastfeeding work for them and their babies. Support from family and health care professionals is essential to make breastfeeding work from the start and to make it possible for mothers to reach their breastfeeding goals. “At the end of the day, breastfeeding will take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of love. It is really worth it, but you have to be part of the process,” says Felogene. Maria shares her experience with 6-week old Ella who has colic – and although breastfeeding works well at this point, it is a constant struggle to find a …

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Life-Changing Surgery for Refugees in Kenya

Written by Lindsey Pollaczek, Fistula Foundation Program Director It’s difficult to imagine what it would be like to live in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp. Located on the northeastern border of Kenya, the camp is home to more than 300,000 people, mostly refugees from Somalia displaced by years of conflict and famine at home. Iam in the middle of Ben Rawlence’s book City of Thorns, a disturbing look inside the lives of nine residents of this sprawling camp and the tremendous daily struggles they face. When I try to comprehend how much more difficult it would be to live in Dadaab with an obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that leaves women constantly leaking urine or feces, it is a harrowing prospect. Over the six years I have been involved in this work, I have spoken with hundreds of women who have lived with fistula. Many endured painful, prolonged labor, lost their babies, and were abandoned by their spouses and isolated by society as a result of their condition. Life-changing surgery Since last May, …

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A Look at Women in Politics in 2016

Post Written by Ophelia Overton Picture a young girl, about 10 or 11 years old. She’s lying on the living room floor watching television. She sees a commercial for Hillary Clinton running for president and thinks, ‘That could be me,’ but does she realize the barriers standing between her and the presidency, let alone between her and the polling booth? In 2016, when breaking through the glass ceiling seems closer than ever, women are forced to jump over a number of hurdles before they can even think about stepping foot in the political process. From social to structural barriers, it’s important to understand the political climate women face in 2016. Social Women face immense social barriers to exercising their agency in the political sphere. From deeply entrenched sexism, to outright laughter at women with political aspirations, contemporary culture is not conducive to women participating in the political process. Although laws forbidding women from voting or running for office are long gone, the social stigma remains. Women who are interested in politics are often categorized as …

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A Coordinated Approach towards SDG Implementation in Kenya

Along the journey towards formulating the 2030 Agenda and even post adoption of the ambitious sustainable development blueprint, we laud our global efforts of being consultative and inclusive. The phrase, ’Leave No One behind’ was coined by impassioned stakeholders who were adamant to learn from the process that bore the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which was criticized for its top-bottom approach. It was criticized because it did not take the voices of all people nor did it reflect adequately the needs of the world. However, this development framework was not comprehensive enough to fully address the world’s challenges.  Making Bold Steps Together, Initiating the Journey with a Solidarity Pledge Before the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and especially during its formulation, the Kenyan Civil Society organized to form the Civil Society Reference Group on the post 2015 agenda. This organization served to provide an avenue for advocacy with the Kenyan national government, making contact with the Kenyan Permanent Representative to the United Nations and mobilized fellow civil  society to support a common position …

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France’s Prostitution Ban: One Step Forward or Two Steps Back?

The French have a long history with prostitution. From Madame du Barry to the paintings of Degas and Picasso, prostitution has been celebrated as an inherent, and even glamorous, part of French culture. But in 2016, the reality of the practice is starkly different. Now, the majority of prostitutes are trafficked, often immigrants fleeing political or economic hardships only to find themselves at the mercy of an often abusive sex trade. In response, France has criminalized sex work. The law takes a more modern approach: the guilty are no longer the workers, but the clients. Someone caught buying sex can now be fined a whopping $1,500 euros (USD $1,700) and repeat offenders can be slapped with a $3,750 (USD $4,260), according to Vocativ. Criminalizing the sale of sex is a moral minefield. On the one hand, the women’s empowerment movement advocates a woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body; that means the right to say no as well as the right to say yes, for compensation or not. Sex workers are protesting the decision, publicly rallying with signs declaring that …

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How Activists and Organizations are Using Social Media to Promote Family Planning

By Luke Nozicka and Jennifer Gonzalez / Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting When Imali Ngusale hosts social media discussions about sex and family planning, to inform people about subjects they are not exposed to at home or in school, she often uses numbers and codes to keep the conversation under wraps. “We do this because when it goes to social media … somebody may need to find out where they can get youth friendly services — and if their parents or relatives are following them, you want to make it discreet,” Ngusale said of the online chats, which usually consist of more than 100 curious youths who use Twitter to talk about reproductive health. “It is an innovative way to be discreet but also cool.” Ngusale, a 27-year-old social media strategist who works for the Centre for the Study of Adolescence in Nairobi, Kenya, said she has to do “some very good ground work” before each discussion, emailing people to inform them when conversations will occur and what code words will be used. “You can create meaning through different trends,” she said. Ngusale was …