All posts filed under: Uncategorized

Why I Stopped Combing My Hair

I have to say this, I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation about my rather unusual decision. Moreover, I am by no means imposing my views on other black women. I further declare that I do not represent anyone or any group of people in particular, this is me and it is my personal decision. I cut my hair short in the year 2014, and did a series of cuts then finally decided to start growing it natural. I only applied dye, just to have it colourful and not too boring. I also applied moisturising creams to keep it strong and healthy. My hair is curly, just as black hair should be. I used to comb my hair to have it look ‘neat’, but it would sadly break. The curls are so fine, every time I rubbed a comb, a lot of my hair would go out with it. The process of combing was painful. I then resorted to doing braids, putting on wigs and headwraps to protect my hair from breaking. Much of …

Involving Men and Boys in Efforts to Achieve a #BetterLife4Girls

One may wonder why men and boys involvement in matters like teenage pregnancies and child marriages is important. Well, it is clearly because behind every teenage pregnancy or child marriage, there is a male involved. In the wake of the movement to end child marriage and teenage pregnancy, young people, parents, religious, cultural  and community leaders have to be called to action. Because these are issues that affect girls directly, it is of peculiar interest how pivotal the male voice has to be to make sure that the plight of a better life for girls is heard. The fight for gender equality remains incomplete without male involvement as we stated earlier this year here on Girls Globe and we won’t repeat the statistics. One part of of our agenda, from our recently concluded community dialogues in the eastern part of Uganda on ending under-age marriages and teenage pregnancies by Reach A Hand, Uganda supported by UNFPA Uganda, was to capture voices of men and boys as a way to continue involving them in anti child marriage and teenage …

Gender and Colombia’s Peace Agreement

Gender has become a hot-topic issue since the referendum vote on Colombia’s peace negotiations. Several tumultuous weeks following the failed referendum on Colombia’s peace agreement, renewed negotiations between the government of Juan Manual Santos and the FARC produced a new agreement. Misconceptions regarding the role of gender language within the initial peace agreement, however, seemed to cast fear and doubt that it would be removed from a new accord altogether. Why was a gender focus within the country’s peace deal so controversial? And what follows for women within the country’s peacebuilding processes now that a new agreement has been signed? More than 50 years after the start of a conflict that has resulted in more than 220,000 deaths and nearly six million displaced, the decades-long Colombian war has reached a formal end as of Thanksgiving Day (Nov 24th, 2016). Representatives of the FARC—an armed, left-wing guerilla group—and government representatives under President Juan Manuel Santos had spent four years engaged in peace negotiations. A previous peace agreement was brought to a popular vote in October. Most …

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 …

(re)THINKING Youth Development

By Bhongolwethu Sonti “My life has been a great challenge and opportunity as it’s made me flexible to what is constant in the world – change. Change is something that we young people know a lot about – when we reach a certain age our bodies experience many turns and turbulences, some which we can’t explain and at most times no one wants to explain to us.” This was the opening line to my TEDxYouth@CapeTown talk on youth development and meaningful engagement. When we think about development we think of the re-imaging or rejuvenating of a place or situation for the better through a certain process. When it comes to youth development, per Eastern Kentucky University, it is “the process by which young people acquire competencies and positive connections to self, others and the larger community and all the people, places, supports, opportunities and services they need to be healthy, happy and successful.” These definitions, although accurate in describing the process, also outline the crippling problem that hinders this work. Youth development is seen and conducted …

Women In Politics: Moving From the Periphery Toward Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions

With our sights and Twitter feeds plugged into #2030NOW, the UN has amplified not only the Sustainable Development Goals but also asked us to consider the world we want to live in in 2030. Regardless of our political affiliations, government is highly influential in shaping our world and governance is reflective of societal norms and power dynamics. A low representation of women in government does not lend itself to the inclusive, transparent, and just governance systems we have pledged to achieve by 2030 via Sustainable Development Goal 16, which calls for Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. In excluding women from government, women’s preferences, voices, and citizenship are all disempowered. However, women advocates, UN organizations and others have stepped up and voiced these concerns and are actively working to increase female participation in government. For example, UN Women’s primary goal is to empower women and girls and has used the platform of Goal 16 to elevate the importance of transparent, inclusive governance in empowerment. Their solution involves developing the capacity to conduct gender analysis, monitoring systems to track good …

White Ribbon Alliance: Passionate Citizens Changing Communities

Girls’ Globe bloggers have had the opportunity to meet with and speak to Midwives and Citizen Journalists from Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe, who are working with White Ribbon Alliance to strengthen the rights and health of women and children, and to change communities so that they thrive. Caroline Maposhere, Zimbabwe Caroline Maposhere is a Registered Nurse, nurse midwife and a public health nurse with Bachelor of Theology and Master of Science in Counseling studies. She has extensive experience working in reproductive health including counseling young people, parents and religious leaders on sexual diversity and training health care providers on how to be sensitive to the needs of LGBTI people. Caroline has vast training experience including being US Peace Corps Pre service Technical Trainer in more than 10 countries. She is well-known as “Aunty” on radio, TV and church programs for sexual and reproductive health in Zimbabwe and is a member of the Board of Trustees for White Ribbon Alliance Zimbabwe. Elman Nsinda, Uganda A journalist and advocate for women’s and children’s health and rights, Elman Nsinda has been involved in safe motherhood advocacy campaigns across the Uganda …

Why Girl Empowerment Programs Should Move from Boardrooms to Communities

Why don’t many Ugandan girls go to school? Is it because they have no books or uniforms? Or they have to trek long distances? The answers to these questions might be affirmative. But that is not all. There is another, rarely talked about problem that can bring girls’ education, social status to a screeching halt: the simple lack of a sanitary towel when she has her period. Phionah Kizza has been working with AFRIpads, a social enterprise in Uganda that manufactures and sells washable cloth, sanitary pads, for two years now as a supervisor in the production facility. During the commemoration of World Population Day by Reach A Hand, Uganda in Kawempe, a slum in Kampala city, she had an opportunity to show adolescent girls and women who were at the event how to use these reusable pads. The event was commemorated in partnership with UNFPA under the theme Harnessing Uganda’s Demographic Dividend: Invest in Teenage Girls with the emphasis on bringing services and information to these young girls using the hashtag #LetGirlsBeGirls on social media. Ordinarily, …

Decriminalization of Sex Work is a Human Rights Issue

Written by Preston Mitchum, Policy Research Analyst, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) Decriminalization is a social justice issue for women and girls around the world. Laws that criminalize trans-diverse populations, sexual minorities, drug users, and sex workers increase stigma and drive the HIV epidemic. Decriminalization serves as a vehicle to ensuring that the health and human rights of women and girls everywhere are upheld, honored, and protected. The sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls will not be achieved without decriminalization. Evidence shows that criminalization of sex work, for example, results in more human rights abuses, impedes prevention of women and girls from actually being trafficked for the purposes of sex, and creates barriers to accessing health care and other services. It’s time to break these barriers. In May, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) was proud to support Amnesty International’s new policy calling on governments to take specific actions in protecting the human rights of sex workers, including decriminalization of consensual sex work, the full engagement of …

Live Your Life and Love Your Body

I’ve noticed during the past year the body positive movement has been expanding across social media. The body positive movement is a feminist movement confirming that all bodies are good bodies. It serves as a reaction to what mainstream media considers to be an acceptable female body which overwhelmingly only represents the bodies of white, thin and straight women. The body positive movement aims to provide equal representation of marginalized bodies including the bodies of people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and non-traditionally thin body shapes. I doubt anyone hasn’t seen the wave of this movement in social media, which uses hashtags such as #myswimbody #beautybeyondsize, #bodypositive and #loveyourbody, where women of all shapes, sizes, heights and colors picture their own bodies as beautiful despite societal standards. The body positive movement has also recently reached the fashion industry in how Ashley Graham became the first plus size model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. During her appearance on The Ellen Show, she discusses recent milestones in her career and the impact she’s making toward increasing body representation in media. …