All posts filed under: Women Who Inspire

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 …

#BeBoldForChange: Lerato the Youth Advocate

To mark International Women’s Day 2017, I have conducted a series of interviews celebrating women I feel have had positive influence on society. The third woman is Lerato Morulane. I‘m Lerato, a 21 year-old youth development advocate from Pretoria, South Africa.  My advocacy focuses on the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV prevention, substance abuse prevention, LGBTI rights and youth participation within the Sustainable Development Goals and African Union’s Agenda 2063. I started my activism work at the age of 12 in Atteridgeville, in the west of Pretoria, focusing on sexual violence the community.  Later, I worked on a teenage pregnancy awareness programme with two secondary schools in Atteridgeville. I serve as a member of the African Youth and Adolescent Network for Eastern and Southern Africa, and I also serve as the Chairperson of the National Campaign for Young Women and Girls in South Africa; SHE CONQUERS. Apart from advocacy, activism and my academic background in mechanical technology, I am determined to pursue a Law degree, with fervent intentions of becoming the African Union Chairperson! What does it …

#BeBoldForChange: Shakira the Young Health Leader

To mark International Women’s Day 2017, I have conducted a series of interviews celebrating women I feel have had a positive influence on society. The second woman is Shakira Choonara. As a young South African (27-years-old), my passion and goals are centered on improving health systems, especially in low-and-middle-income settings. I am presently pursuing a PhD (public health) and working towards my ultimate dream of becoming the next Minister of Health in SA, or perhaps even being the President of our beautiful nation! As a qualified demographer, I have worked and continue to work on several aspects of healthcare in various regions of the world. I’d describe myself as an academic or researcher by day, though by night and in any spare time I engage in activism around anti-racism, disability rights and broader development issues. 1. What is the special thing in your life that makes you feel bold? Boldness undoubtedly emanates from your dreams and aspirations. We all have our dreams and since I was six years old my dream was to be the President of South Africa. …

#BeBoldForChange: Tshepy the Journalist Turned Entrepreneur

To mark International Women’s Day 2017, I have conducted a series of interviews celebrating women I feel have had positive influence on society. The first woman is Tshepy Matloga. My name is Tshepy Matloga, a 30 year-old South African journalist turned entrepreneur. I am the founder of Chronicles Media Group (South Africa) and co-founder of Encore Creatives PR and Events (Malawi). At the moment I alternate between South Africa and Malawi. When I am not working I read – I am an avid reader of African literature. I have been an entrepreneur for three years and since then I’ve been selected as one of the 100 brightest young minds in South Africa, the 20 most influential young people in SA, and I am a Nelson Mandela Institute of Development Studies (MINDS) alumni. I have also been featured on international mediums such as True Love magazine and She Lead Africa. I am also a founder of Malawi’s only women’s business and lifestyle magazine Inde, which was born last year. My ultimate biggest goal in life is to one day become the president of South Africa. What is the …

This is What Democracy Looks Like

I started the morning bright and early at 6:40 and headed to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. The metro was packed with chatty passengers wearing pink hats, carrying signs and snapping pictures. Every time a new group of riders boarded the train erupted with cheering. The excitement was contagious, and we all cheered and clapped are way to D.C. They called it the Women’s March but it was evident that it was everyone’s march. We were all there, and everyone had a message to deliver, whether through song, chant, cheer or shouting. And we delivered those messages – with Love, Faith and Courage. Some called themselves Nasty Women, nasty like Rosa, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle and Hillary, while others simply stated they were PISSED OFF. Regardless of the countless voices that were represented in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017 we all stood together for equality. So if you ask me what Democracy looks like, this is it – An inclusive, reflective representation of all kinds of voices and stories.    

OK, Ladies – Now Let’s Get in Formation

Yes, you caught me, I totally stole the headline from Beyonce, but it is only because it very well captures what I wish to put forward in this post – the importance of sticking together when times get tough. However, let’s start with a short recap of the year of 2016. 2016 has been a year of some, to say the least, surprising turn of events. Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, the government in Poland suggested that it would be a good idea to deny polish women the right to their bodies, and the U.S Government found it to be no problem to finish the North Dakota Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. On top of that the war in Syria is a never ending story (why can’t they just stop?) and keeps forcing people to flee their homes at the same time as racist and opportunist parties get ever more supporters around the globe, especially here in Europe. Two years ago, when the Swedish Democrats became the third largest …

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 …

Urban Farming: Regeneration in our Cities

Grey. Angular. The low buzz of foot traffic, rubber-on-tar traffic, shoulders pushing against shoulders traffic. Did you see his face when he tried to smile at your across the street? Did you breathe in the blossoming jasmine that crept toward you at the bus stop? We navigate through cities, so loud yet full of silence. We have been waiting. Waiting for the earth to rise up against the pavements, to activate our joy and to remind us who we are and where we come from. We are nature. This is an unfolding narrative of the environmentally conscious and gradual movement that is Urban Farming. This is the remembered narrative of the female presence in the food system. Hailing from the mountainous green landscape of Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa, I have long held the forest as a close friend. Mother Earth can be said to have an innately powerful, fecund and peaceful presence. Plant life and forests are the ultimate reflection of matriarchy, pregnant with the life of a million organisms. My first encounter with a large …

Six Superb STEMinists You Need to Meet

When I think of famous women in STEM, Marie Curie immediately comes to mind, but I can’t think of too many after that. For a girl to succeed in STEM fields, she needs support and she needs role models. These six women are currently working in STEM fields ranging from outer-space to the science lab and even into the White House. “Environmental challenges have the power to deny equality of opportunity and hold back the progress of communities.”– Lisa P. Jackson Lisa P. Jackson is a chemical engineer who has devoted her life to protecting the environment as both a woman in STEM and politics. She worked at the EPA for sixteen years before joining the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and worked on land management rights. She became the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for New Jersey and focused on making sure generally ignored and disenfranchised communities had access to pollutant free air. And she reached out to multicultural communities to educate, inform and involve them in her environmental efforts. She was the head …