All posts tagged: Empowerment

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Letter to A Young Girl

This letter is written by a young woman to her earlier self whose career is about to take a huge transformation. In this letter, she reflects on which characteristics and attitudes she wishes to retain and what she hopes to accomplish as she progresses forward to achieving her medical dreams. She also hopes that it will inspire other girls to go confidently as they pursue their scientific careers. Dear Me, I hope you’re well. I cannot tell you what you will encounter in the next four years, the people who will change your life, the experiences that will leave an ingrained memory in your brain. A lot of questions flood my mind as I think about the journey you will go through: Do you still keep your sense of poetry? Your creative writing? Does the idea of taking care of another human being terrify you? Do you still give humorous lectures of how things work in the molecular world? Do you still only eat fish and vegetables just to keep your mental faculties sane? (Please do relax sometimes! And …

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What Happens to Community Projects after Organizations Leave?

Post Written By Annemijn Sondaal “It’s not a drug, it’s not a vaccine, it’s not a device. It’s women, working together, solving problems, saving lives” -Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, May 2013 Participatory women’s groups all over the world have created spaces for women to engage in dialogue, exchange their ideas and experiences and spur them to take action to improve their community’s health. The Institute of Global Health, University College London and its’ partners including Women and Children First, have shown that participatory women’s groups can, with participation of at least a third of pregnant women, cut maternal deaths in half and newborn deaths by over a third. Women’s groups are run and attended by local women (and sometimes men), mobilising local resources to address local problems. This type of capacity-building and community-mobilising intervention is perhaps the most likely to sustain after the supporting organisation leaves, but organisations rarely investigate the long-term effect of interventions or their sustainability. This means that little is known about optimal times and methods to withdraw support, the capacities needed, and support mechanisms necessary …

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Empowerment as a Luxury Item

‘Empowerment’ has become a buzzword in feminist circles, a rallying cry to improve the lives of women in rural developing countries as well as those trying to shatter glass ceilings in Fortune 500 companies. Four syllables capture the very abstract, but vital goal that feminists and organizations worldwide are trying to accomplish. Like anything that has gained traction in the public consciousness, many have capitalized on ’empowerment’. A search for ‘feminist products’ will bring up novelty items like a mug with the words ‘male tears’ emblazoned on it, and Etsy has multiple pages worth of accessories and apparel dedicated to wearing feminism, quite literally, on your sleeve. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but it encapsulates the increasingly cosmetic standard of the word. This doesn’t just redirect our attention to how we’re using feminism to make ourselves look, rather than think. It spills over into a bigger phenomenon of a superficial feminism, one that steers clear of the messy, unattractive and painful problems beneath it. For example, Hilary Clinton should be a resounding victory for feminism, as a …

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The Most Amazing Week

Although Zambia developed the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act in 2011, Gender Based Violence (GBV) still persists at high rates today in Zambia, deeply entrenched in Zambian culture and norms. Out of the Southern African countries, Zambia ranks unfortunately high for GBV prevalence with 72% of women experiencing GBV in a lifetime and high associations between GBV and HIV positive status. As a result, young girls living in Zambia face a myriad of challenges. Pressures from emerging womanhood, boys, and social media can force girls to experiment with their bodies and sexuality, though they may lack education and resources on safe and safer sex. Additionally, girls that come from poorer areas or families might not be able to negotiate or decline early childhood marriage. All of the unique pressures that girls face in their adolescence puts them at additional risk for HIV. To address this, the Zambia Centre for Communication Programmes (ZCCP), in partnership with Peace Corps, is running Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) camps across Zambia to educate and empower female youth by teaching them …

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Gender Parity in Lesotho: 10 Years Later

Post Written By Stephanie Vizi In 2006, married women in the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho, gained equal legal standing to men under the Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act. Now, any woman can legally own land, receive inheritance, and make her own decisions. Prior to 2006, women in Lesotho were considered legal minors. In 2003, the Sexual Offences Act was enacted to combat sexual violence. The Act officially defined all forms of unwanted sexual penetration as rape, not just vaginal penetration as it was prior to this Act. This act also gives legal rights and validity to men who have been raped. In addition, it states that marriage or any other relationship is not a legitimate defence to sexual violence. 10 Years Later It’s been over 10 years since these laws were put into place to protect women from gender inequality and abuse. However, implementation has been slow, especially in rural, mountainous villages, which accounts for the majority of the Basotho population. According to Thato Letsela, Help Lesotho’s Officer for Leadership Centres, “In general …

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Respecting Your Body: The Key to Attaining Self-Respect and Becoming Your Best Self

“How do you manage to stay so fit and still accomplish all of your goals on your own?” “I’m a vegetarian who does a lot of martial arts and cardio exercises every day, and I always make sure to touch base with myself at the end of the day.” Questioning looks. Silent glares. “Is that even humanly possible?” they whisper. Self-confidence and self-esteem are two of the most common issues that women and girls face. In order to help them reach their full potential, we need to address these issues. When I was 15, during lunchtime, my classmates would stare at my lunch filled with an array of different vegetables and fruits and ask whether I had eaten enough to fuel my body for the rest of the day. Even in college, whenever I chose not to eat meat, people would give me blank stares and whisper behind my back. What’s wrong with the choices that I have made for myself? Although many people are not vegetarians and are not committed to a rigorous exercise and sleep regimen …

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An Equal World is a Better World – Don’t Leave Anyone Behind

Tomorrow, Girls’ Globe is celebrating International Women’s Day under the slogan “An equal world is a better world – don’t leave anyone behind.” Through this theme we want to highlight the fact that a world where all gender are treated equally and afforded the same rights and opportunities is not only in the best interest of women and girls, but in fact benefits everyone. While women and girls continue to face the bulk of the negative consequences of gender based discrimination, such discrimination and gender stereotypes are also harmful to boys and men, and women’s inability to reach their full potential and participate in the development, and growth of their societies slows down and negatively impacts progress and well-being for everyone. We also want to bring attention to the inhumane and unbearable situation facing thousands of refugee women and their families, who find themselves stranded in between borders while fleeing horrible situations in their home countries, but are unable to find refuge in Europe as more and more nations are closing their doors at the face …

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Equal Nationality Laws Are Vital to Realizing Girls’ Rights and Security

This post was written by Catherine Harrington, Campaign Manager for the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, on behalf of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. At first glance, laws governing nationality rights might seem irrelevant to securing the rights and security of girls across the globe. But, in reality, when countries deny women and men equal nationality rights, it can result in serious violations of girls’ most basic human rights. Nationality laws dictate one’s ability to acquire, change, retain and confer nationality. Today, 27 countries deny women equal rights to pass their nationality to their own children. Over 50 countries maintain some form of gender discrimination in their nationality law, including denying women the right to pass nationality to foreign spouses. When women are denied equal rights to confer nationality to their children, children with foreign fathers are at risk of being left stateless – a status whereby no state recognizes the child as a citizen. Children may be unable to access their father’s nationality for a variety of reasons. In Nepal, a country where roughly one in four …

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12 Ways to Give Back for Women and Girls

I love holiday traditions. Not only that, but the holidays are one of my favorite times of year. My family gathers and we spend time together. During this season, friends, faith leaders and mentors have challenged me to stop and be present. In the United States, Christmas is a time to spend with family, friends and, eat good food and give gifts. As someone committed to the Christian faith, it is also a time to reflect and celebrate Christ’s birth. Whether you celebrate Christmas, a different Holiday tradition or simply the joy of being with family we have to admit it is so easy to get caught in the busyness. Several years ago, my entire family decided to do something non-traditional for Christmas. We decided to stop giving gifts at Christmastime. Instead of giving gifts we decided to focus on spending more time serving each other. Last year, we each picked a cause or non-profit organization to support. Going around in a circle, we drew names one by one. Each person agreed to learn about their selected family member’s cause …

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Girls’ Globe chats with Femme International!

G irls’ Globe continues our health series to highlight the work being done to improve women’s, girls’ and adolescent health around the world. Yesterday, we spoke with Femme International‘s Co-Founder, Sabrina Rubli. Femme is one of our featured organizations and works to address unique health and safety needs among women and girls in East Africa. Femme believes all women deserve the opportunity to empower themselves through education and personal health. By providing females with innovative tools and knowledge, we hope to facilitate their ability to overcome gender-specific barriers. If you missed our conversation, you can watch the video below: Watch our inspiring hangout with Femme International!