Author: Tilde Holm

Let’s Talk Equality: Midwives of the World – Part 1

In order to reach a completely equal society, all basic human rights need to be secured. One of these is maternal health. The success of a country can often be traced back to successful maternal health programming. Therefore, my project partner Anna and I decided to create a documentary series about midwives around the world. To create this documentary and to get a fair picture of the situation for mothers and midwives around the world, we have collaborated with the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA). The WRA is an incredible organization for maternal health, and a network for volunteers  from all over the world. We decided to focus on White Ribbon Alliance Indonesia, or “APPI” (Aliansi Pita Putih Indonesia), and visited their team in Jakarta earlier this year. With the three parts of our documentary, we hope to do two things. One is to present a fair picture and comparison of the maternal health situation in Sweden and Indonesia. The other is to inspire people to make a change in their local communities, just like the volunteers …

Activism in Indonesia: a movement for change

It has been a couple of weeks since I got back home from an intense week in Indonesia. With our project Let’s Talk Equality, my project partner Anna and I visited several organizations and doctors in the suburbs of Jakarta and Bali. The objective of the trip was to gather footage for our documentary on maternal health in Sweden and Indonesia. I was completely blown away by the positive energy present in every office I visited. Despite facing a lot of resistance, people were determined and confident that it was worth all the work. Having tried to understand the slow and difficult process for change in Indonesia, I will try to share some of my observations here, before the launch of our documentary later this spring. Having grown up in Sweden, I was raised under the impression that certain privileges were certainties. Like legal abortions. Low maternal mortality rates. Free contraception. Paid paternity leave. The right to love regardless of gender. In Indonesia, none of these “certainties” exist. In fact, abortion is illegal. As is homosexuality. Parental leave is exclusive for mothers and …

Partnership for Progress: Post-UNGA Reflections

1+1=3. This equation hardly makes sense in mathematics, but in social impact it’s everything. Why work separately when we, together, can achieve more with less means? The 17th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) captures the most effective way of change making: Partnership.  ”We are all travelers on the same planet headed towards the same future”. These words really spoke to me during presentation by NASA astronauts. It really makes sense to view people as a collective rather than individuals when speaking about the future of the world. If we have this collective mindset, it feels rather stupid not to help each other when working towards the same goals. Generally, society is about individual actors working for profit, sovereign states with different interests, companies working for money and individuals making their living. However, when striving for comprehensive progression in our society, we cannot walk alone. This is why it is so important that we come together and partner to achieve the SDGs. It’s sometimes difficult to understand how partnership for social good works. Collaboration feels …

Young Leaders and Johnson & Johnson work together to reach Global Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require a lot of commitment and hard work, and young leaders have an essential role in making them a success. The private sector also has a big role to play, and many companies have already settled ambitious and specific plans on how to work with the SDGs. One of these companies is Johnson & Johnson – a private sector leader in advancing the health and rights of women and children around the world. For this year’s United Nations General Assembly, Johnson & Johnson invited young leaders from all over the world to inspire and lead for change. Young leaders from Nepal, USA and Zambia speak what everyone can do to make a change in their communities and lead for a successful outcome of the SDGs by 2030. In this next video, we get an insight into Johnson & Johnson’s plans and how companies can work efficiently and in partnership towards far-reaching goals. Read more about Johnson & Johnson’s 2030 Promise here. Girls’ Globe is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson to provide coverage during …

Reflections on the Refugee Crisis from the UN General Assembly Week

I live in Sweden and naturally, the refugee crisis has become a very important matter to me. There has been a lot of hate among the Swedes, which mainly has its origin in incorrect data and fear of the unknown. After spending a day at the UN Headquarters, I have gained a lot of important insights on the matter. I will share some of my highlights of the day, interviews from inspiring and influential people and important remarks and perspectives on how to approach this complex problem. The refugee crisis is often regarded merely as a humanitarian problem. It’s about vulnerable people that need humanitarian aid in terms of shelter, food and water. But the fact is that these peoples’ needs stretches way beyond that. Humanitarian aid is temporary, and what we really need is long terms solutions. Like Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees put it; “We are treating the refugee crisis as a humanitarian problem, which it is, obviously, but we can’t solve it with only humanitarian resources.” The next big …

Involving Young People in the Global Goals

We are now half a year into the work of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, and still a lot of questions need to be answered as to how to approach these goals remain. I find myself, as a teenager, feeling slightly distant to these ambitious and comprehensive goals. While they are highly relevant for my generation, there is still little information on how a young adult can get involved. Although health care and sanitation issues might be more difficult for students to affect change, there is one goal that young people clearly can play a huge part in achieving- gender equality. The mission of achieving gender equality is still mainly concentrated around world leaders, CEOs and global organizations. This confuses me, being that young people could and should be the very engine of this matter. Empowering women and reducing the inequalities between the genders is repeatedly mentioned as the single most important condition to being able to achieve all of the goals, which means that young people can actually make a huge difference for these …

The Importance of Data: To Make Women Count, Count Women

“We can’t close the gender gap without closing the data gap.” That was the key message of the speech by Melinda Gates at a session titled “A Girls’ and Women’s lens on the SDGs ” at Women Deliver. With a new plan of action, new goals and a new roadmap for achieving them, it is more crucial than ever to ensure we are able to measure the progress properly. Yet, the data is still incomplete, and the dark numbers are huge. Is it really that difficult to gather data, and how do we change that? Data is necessary for knowing what’s happening, and how to move further. Without being able to measure the right things, we cannot know where and how to invest money and time. And often, where help is the most needed, the numbers are the most misleading. As Gates pointed out later on during her presentation, “Where the data does exist, quite often it’s sexist.” Now, how can numbers and statistics be sexist? Basically, the surveys are often focusing on men and …

Women as Leaders

Women haven’t always been best suited for the leading roles. A thousand years ago, leadership depended on other skills than what is required today. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in her famous speech We should all be feminists, “[…] human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival. The physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger; of course, there are many exceptions.” That isn’t the case any more. Women are just as capable of being leaders as men. Yet, men are dominating as leaders in almost every sector. With less than one week to Women Deliver in Copenhagen, it’s time to reflect on why women are still underrepresented among higher positions, and how we can change that. Over 50 percent of the population are women. Still, it’s not news that parliaments all over the world are dominated by men. Worldwide, 22 percent of the parliamentarians are women. In 37 countries, this number is below 10 percent.Parliaments in Micronesia, Yemen, Qatar, Tonga, Palau …

Why we need to talk about periods

“I’m on my period.” Silence. Questioning looks. Did she just say that out loud? “Hey, not everybody has to know, keep that to yourself.” Menstruation is one of the many bodily issues women have to suppress. In order to make both girls and boys feel comfortable about it, we need to talk about the matter.  When I was 10, I remember learning about periods and sexuality in school. Only girls were invited to the lesson. “Girls have their period once a month, it can hurt a little, but is usually manageable and completely normal.” That seemed okay, I thought, wondering why it was only girls bleeding once a month. “Oh and right, the boys won’t learn about this until next year. They aren’t mature enough.” I laughed at this at the time, proud that I was a girl. But now I’m thinking, why do we have to protect boys from their fellow classmates reality? Men are indeed spared from the monthly hell of periods. But still, they cannot escape the bitter reality where all fertile …

What makes a “girl” or a “boy”?

I remember hosting my 10th birthday party for my classmates. It was a themed party, with a dress code and all, and I was really excited. The theme was pirates. In my mind, pirates were cool, fierce and dauntless. Everybody liked pirates, so it seemed like the perfect theme. I got an eye patch, a sword and a hat for the special day. And so the day came, as did my friends. We had a great time going for a treasure hunt, giving each other pirate names and dancing to pirate music. It really was a success. However, after the party people started asking questions. Yes, it was a great party, they said. But pirates? Can a girl really host a party with a pirate theme? All the other girls chose typical girly themes. So, why didn’t I? Considering the success of the party, I did not reflect on these questions further at the time. Only recently have I started wondering why my fellow 10-year olds reacted so strongly when I broke the gender norm. Even so, I consider myself …