All posts filed under: Lifestyle

Girls’ Globe Book Tour: Finland

Finnish literature echoes the country’s vast forests, icy winters and endless summer nights. But also, at times, the conservatism and racism, social gaps, and haunting memories from the two world wars. At its best, it’s dark, witty, and brave – particularly the works of these five writers. Outside of Finland, Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is best known as the creator of the wildly popular Moomins. Jansson was a multitalented artist who wrote and illustrated fiction for children and adults. She also led an ‘unconventional’ life, choosing never to marry or have children, but instead to put her artistry first. She often approached taboo themes, for instance, she incorporated her romantic relationships with women in her stories. (In Finland, homosexuality was considered an illness until 1981.) The Summer Book is set on an island in the Finnish archipelago. Sophia and her grandmother spend the summer on the remote island, observing and living in harmony with the animals, birds and natural forces around them. It’s a quiet and soothing story about the sea, friendship, life and death, written without beautifying filters or nostalgia. I only …

India, Thank You for Re-energizing Me!

In front of me stands a woman in a blue saree. She is sharing her experiences as a female farmer in rural Tamil Nadu, India. We have gathered under a couple of trees to shield ourselves from the broiling sun and while we are talking, the cows standing in the yard are dipping their whole heads while drinking water from a bucket, trying to cool down in the summer heat. As the woman in the blue saree tells me how old she was when she got married, I can only stare at her in disbelief. Of course I knew that child marriage exists in India, but this is the first time I’ve actually met a woman who got married when she was only thirteen years old. Although it has been prohibited in India since 2006, child marriage is still practiced regularly and India has the highest number of child brides in the world. According to Girls Not Brides, in 2016, 47% of all girls under 18 years old were already married. As I try to regain my composure and wrap …

Girls’ Globe Book Tour – Next Stop: Scotland

There is, and has always been, a wealth of wonderful and unique writing coming out of Scotland. Here are some of my favourite female Scottish writers, both long-loved and newly-discovered: Ali Smith One of Scotland’s best-loved writers, Ali Smith is an author, playwright, lecturer and journalist whose novels and short stories have gathered multiple prizes and endless admirers. Born and raised in Inverness, a small city in the north of Scotland, Smith started writing poetry at just 8 years old. There’s a long list of Smith novels to choose from, but my favourite is Hotel World, a mesmerising and inventive piece of writing in which Smith is beautifully playful with language – often going pages at a time without punctuating the stream-of-consciousness of her narrators. “Stories can change lives if we’re not careful. They will come in and take the shirts off our backs. Tell the right stories, and we live better lives.” – Ali Smith, during a radio interview in 2016 Jenni Fagan  A poet and novelist, Fagan graduated from Greenwich University with the highest possible grade for a creative writing. She was was included in the most recent Granta list of the 20 Best Young …

When Feminism Became a Marketing Technique

Post written by Halah Flynn, Content and Outreach Manager at 2U for Nursing@USC Marketing to women has been a tried-and-true tactic used by American marketers for centuries. While the benefits of designing and selling products to women, for women, appear to be plentiful, capitalizing on an entire gender of consumers leads young women and girls down a path that is feminist in name only. Brands are often ready to adopt a feminist persona to appeal to women, who make up an powerful sector of the American consumer base. Traditional gender roles have rendered women the primary purchasers of groceries, clothes, and other household products for family needs. Yet, some marketers still treat women as a niche audience, creating gendered versions of everyday products, from writing utensils to disposable razors. A quick look at some major advertising campaigns from the past years show how marketing can push a product masked under a feminist agenda.   Big Tobacco: Perhaps one of the longest-running marketing-to-women campaigns, tobacco companies have been advertising cigarettes to women for over 100 years. …

Girls’ Globe Book Tour – Next Stop: Latin America

Join Girls’ Globe on a global book tour of female authors. We’ve visited Sweden already, and we’re ready for our next stop! Latin America has a rich literary history. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Roberto Bolaño, Julio Cortazar. However,apart from a few notable exceptions, Latin America’s women authors have gone comparatively without recognition. Those who can quote Neruda’s Veinte Poemas may not have even heard of Ocampo’s Los Nombres. Yet Latin America is full of decorated women writers who capture the culture of their countries, and the nuances of the human condition, as well as any of the male writers in the Latin American canon. A few (available in English) to start: Laura Esquivel “La mera verdad es que la verdad no existe, todo depende del punto de vista.” “The truth is that the truth doesn’t exist, it’s all a matter of perspective.” Laura Esquivel is from Mexico City and spent eight years as a teacher. Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate captured imaginations for its mix of magical realism and genre cross-over and became a bestseller in the United States …

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 …

10 Quotations to Inspire you to be Bold

When it comes to feeling bold, we all need a bit of help from time to time. We asked our wonderful network of contributors to share a quotation with us – something they have heard or read that gives them a boost of courage when they need it the most. Here we’ve compiled a list of our absolute favourites. We hope that they give you the extra dose of inspiration you need today! “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich “Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.” – Wangari Maathai “Don’t let your mind set limits that aren’t really there” – Zadie Smith “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important that fear; the brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.” – Meg Cabot “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I …

Celebrating 100 Interviews with Inspirational Women

My interview with Women LEAD Co-Founder and Former Executive Director Claire Charamnac, published on March 7, 2017, marks my hundredth Inspirational Woman interview. The realization that my hundredth interview coincided almost exactly with International Women’s Day 2017 surprised me and made me think deeply about how far Inspirational Women Series has come. Back in September 2013, I started interviewing women leaders weekly for Women LEAD, and since then, I’ve had the unbelievable opportunity to launch Inspirational Women Series, which is dedicated to showcasing the experiences of women leaders in social impact, international development, and historically underrepresented fields for women. The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 was “Be Bold for Change”. This intrigued me, because all of the women I’ve interviewed boldly use their actions and words to effect change in their everyday work. And nowhere does their boldness shine more clearly than in challenging situations. In my recent interviews, I started asking questions about the biggest obstacles my interviewees have faced –  whether professional, sector-related, or personal. For some women, their biggest challenge was scaling a …

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 …

Books to Make You Feel Bold!

To mark International Women’s Day 2017 we’ve been celebrating the commitment and courage of the bloggers and organisations in Girls’ Globe’s network. We asked each of them to share their secrets of feeling BOLD. Here are the top 20 books that Girls’ Globe reads to feel inspired, emboldened and ready to take action! We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie What does “feminism” mean today? That’s the question at the heart of this personal, eloquently-argued essay. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, Nujood Ali Nujood Ali’s father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. This book reminds us that hope is a verb. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte This innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers through one woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life. Daring Greatly, Brené Brown A powerful new vision that encourages us to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby The most inclusive anthology ever attempted of oral and written literature–in every conceivable genre–by women of …