All posts filed under: Sheroes

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 …

#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 …

A Beginner’s Guide to Stopping Time

This piece was written by Julia Z. – a high school student from the United States of America. All opinions are her own. We hear our grandparents say it. Preach it. Sitting around a crackling fire surrounded by family. Those wise with age warn those who listen eagerly – live while you’re young, enjoy every moment, time moves so fast. We hear the poets telling us to seize the day. Time is an enigmatic topic that attracts scholars, academics, and even inexperienced teenagers like myself. Is it possible that when people tell us to seize the day, they really are warning us to retain our innocence for as long as the universe will allow? Innocence is lost when the weight of the world is suddenly shifted onto the shoulders of an unsuspecting child. Burden, struggle, and responsibility are what make you transform from an innocent child to an adult who wears stress on his or her face like a child wears a smile. What I am describing hit me on a recent trip to Ethiopia. …

Women in Leadership – Tällberg Foundation’s 2016 Global Leaders

Blog post by The Tällberg Foundation “By honoring these amazing leaders, the Tällberg Foundation seeks to draw attention to their work and to provoke a global conversation about leadership…they demonstrate that effective, courageous, and innovative leadership can overcome even the most seemingly intractable issues.” – Alan Stoga, Tällberg Foundation’s Chairman At a time of growing doubts about the quality of leadership in many countries, five extraordinary women leaders spur us to question what kind of leadership is required to counter the challenges of the 21st century. This year, the Tällberg Foundation has the incredible opportunity to honor their work through the Global Leaders and Prize process. Celina de Sola, a Salvadorian humanitarian and co-founder of Glasswing International; Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Eleni Antoniadou, a Greek scientist, Sunitha Krishnan, an Indian social activist; and Thuli Madonsela, former South African Public Protector all demonstrate that individual leadership through innovation, ethics, determination and willingness to take great risks still exists. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they all have …

A Smart Thing To Do: Data on Women in Higher Education & STEM

“When we talk about improving women’s lives, education is an issue that comes up over and over again as an equalizer, because when women and girls have access to an education, they can accomplish anything.” – United State of Women But do all forms of education create equity where gender disparities are greatest? Although we need to work toward improving women’s and girls’ access to education on all levels, real disparities deepen in secondary and higher education environments around the world. Significant progress has been made as 2/3 of developing nations have achieved gender parity when it comes to access to primary education. Despite significant progress made on girls’ school enrollment in the past decade, 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in developing countries. The situation is worst for the poorest rural girls in South and West Asia: only 13% complete lower secondary school. If we agree with UNICEF that educating girls is “both an intrinsic right and a critical lever to reaching other development objectives,” then advocating for a higher output …

Our Voices Matter – More Than Ever

As I woke up this morning to a layer of the first snow on the rooftops across my bedroom window, with my daughter cuddling close to see the white watery powder in delight, I had forgotten that the election across the Atlantic had come to an end. We walked into the kitchen and my husband greets our daughter with a smile and then looks at me with shock in his face – and tells me that Trump is probably going to be the next President of the United States. As the final news unfolded during the morning hours here in Sweden, the layer of snow slowly started to melt, and I was hit by shock that felt like a punch in my abdomen. A womanizing, racist, fear-feeding man, who has acted on his self-interests has been elected President of the United States, after a campaign smeared in scare tactics and hate speech. This feels like a heavy bomb hitting one of the world’s largest countries, following a range of ever-louder assassinations on our human race – …