Author: Miia Yliaho

Girls’ Globe Book Tour – First Stop: Sweden

What we read can influence our thoughts, dreams and goals. Stories are powerful and so, too, are storytellers. Grab a book written by a strong woman who speaks her mind and you can be sure of a read free from meek female characters waiting in the background for a prince to save them! Join Girls’ Globe on a global book tour of female authors translated into English. Our first stop is Sweden – here are five writers who are sure to serve you spellbinding stories. All of Karolina Ramqvist’s writing is political. She is one of Sweden’s most well-known contemporary feminist writers, unafraid to spell out uncomfortable truths. Her style is simple and elegant, while the content is raw and fiery. Read the psychological The White City, about former gangster’s girlfriend, Karin, who suddenly finds herself alone with a baby and a pile of bills she can’t pay. The reader follows Karin’s fall from luxury housewife to abandoned single mother as she starts selling of her Louis Vuitton handbags to be able to afford food and heating. When Sara Stridsberg’s Swedish translation of Valeria Solana’s SCUM manifesto …

Blood, Sweat and Sequins: Three Women on Taekwondo

When writing a blog post about how I started training in martial arts after an attack, I became curious about my friends who train at the same club. Why did they step into the dojang that first time, and where has this step taken them? I decided to have a chat with my training partners-in-crime. Gabriela, Mia and Sabina all started taekwondo at the same time as me. Six years later, the three of them are still at that same club, they are all advanced students, and Mia has even earned her black belt. Three women, all with different backgrounds and motivation. I was curious about their views and thoughts on taekwondo. Why did you choose taekwondo? Mia, a 30-year-old nurse and children’s taekwondo trainer, puts it this way: “I had been looking for something with another purpose beyond just getting fit”. To become better in taekwondo, you need to train not only your physical abilities, but also the mental ones. This takes focus off the way your body looks, and instead you start asking …

How Martial Arts Helped Me Get Back on My Feet

Content note: this post contains depictions of physical assault  After being attacked on my way home, I decided to start training in martial arts. I wanted to become stronger both physically and mentally, and eventually, I found my way to the Korean martial art of taekwondo. Today, the mental tools taekwondo has given me help me out in all areas of life. In my twenties, I was attacked on my way home after a late shift at work. A man followed me and forced his way into the building where I lived. Luckily, he didn’t have a weapon, and I managed to get out of his grip and scream for help. Even though he ran off when he heard people approaching, I was deeply shaken. What if there wouldn’t have been anyone around? I felt so helpless. The man who had attacked me wasn’t big – around my height. But when he grabbed me, it was like one of those nightmares where your muscles stop working. I was paralyzed by the thought that he might …

Female Networks: Creating Magic by Getting Women Together

2017 might turn out to be the year of female networks. Are you part of any organised network, virtual or physical? I wasn’t, at least not actively, until last year when I joined a Swedish Facebook group for women only, Heja Livet. Nowadays, I seem to start every other sentence with “I saw this thing in that female network…”. When I joined, Heja Livet consisted of 1,500 young women. Today, not even a year later, we are over 24,000 women (you heard me!) sharing our lives with each other. According to Swedish TV channel SVT, Heja Livet is the third biggest Swedish all-female Facebook group. Why should you be part of a female network? The idea of Heja Livet is to prove wrong that outdated idea of women not supporting each other. The two founders of the group, Emely Crona Stenberg and Caroline Levy, have a basic requirement for all posts and comments: no hateful or mean content allowed. As Emely an Caroline put it: “Constructive criticism? Sure. Hate? No”. Recently, something called The Wing …

Female Sexuality in the Trump Era

The photo of Donald Trump signing a ban on funding to organizations involved in abortions (even if just by providing information!) has been all over the net this week. That image makes me think of a recent post in a closed, all-female Facebook network – a post about abortion but also, on a deeper level, about our views on female sexuality. One of the members of the network wrote a very naked post about her visit to an abortion clinic. She had made friends with the girl in the bed next to hers, and as they opened up to each other, it turned out that they were both there for the same reason: they had been convinced to accept sexual intercourse without protection. Both girls had felt uncomfortable, unwilling, and pressured, but had in the end given in to the man they were with. Now the girls found themselves dealing with the aftermaths of unprotected sex: not only taking that test, finding a doctor, taking time of work, enduring bleedings and pain, but also living …

How I Fell in Love with the Women of Iran

When I landed back home, I was bombarded with questions from curious friends: What was it like to cover up all the time? Did I feel restricted in any way? Could I go shopping on my own? Was I free to walk in the streets without my husband? Was I even allowed to talk to men? I went to Iran for my honeymoon – and ended up falling in love with the women. Those bombarding me with questions were my friends, young, highly educated Swedish women, and this reminded me of how little most Europeans know about Iran and everyday life there – I was certainly no exception. But when boarding the plane to Tehran, little did I know what a mark the trip would make in me. An all-girls guide to – Tehran? Almost ten years ago I found an unusual travel guide in a Parisian bookshop – a city guide to Tehran, written for young women by French-Iranian journalist Delphine Minoui. Far from your ordinary Lonely Planet, the guide is like an informal …