All posts tagged: Women’s Empowerment

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A Day in the Life of a Working Nepalese Woman

This post was written by 2016 LEADer and Women LEAD Blogger, Samika Mali Whether it is a weekday or weekend, my mom wakes up every day at 6am and sweeps the entire house. Preparing lunch every morning until 9am is a compulsion for her no matter how sick or weak she is. Then, in no time, she has to gulp down her lunch, get dressed, and rush to work. After a long day at her shop, she returns home tired and exhausted. But she doesn’t get to rest. Though her duties as a businesswoman are over, her responsibilities as a housewife have not ended yet. In the evening, she has to serve food to all her family members and do the dishes. Then, she cleans the whole kitchen. Sometimes, she even mops the floors, throw the clothes in the machine to wash, and sits down to help me with my projects. Finally, her day ends. Growing up, I saw my mother balance her life as a successful business woman in a culture where women are …

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A Letter to the 15-Year-Old Me

As we celebrate women’s month in South Africa, I took a moment to reflect on of all the mistakes I made and the right things I did to prepare myself for womanhood. I am a 26-year-old young woman, who doesn’t have it all together. But, I am glad I am working towards a goal. Looking back to when I was young, there are certain things I wish someone could have told me, lessons that I should have learned a lot earlier. Although I am happy with the life I am leading, I have made my own fair share of mistakes. I made enemies that could have become valuable friends, spent money that I should have saved and wasted time that could have been better used. On the note, I decided to write a letter with advice to my 15-year-old self, with the hope that it will be useful to someone who is in their journey to womanhood: You are beautiful. The world may have its definition of beauty, but you are allowed to create your own. …

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3 Ways Girls Are Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Do you ever have those moments in life that stick out as “light bulb” moments? Whether you are driving down a road or in a meeting at work. Something hits you like a ton of bricks and you understand certain aspects of life more clearly. One of these “light bulb” moments occurred for me three years ago at the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I walked into the UN with head held high, ready to attend a high level lunch to talk about progress for women, girls and children. I brushed by Melinda Gates and ran into Mohammed Yunus and chatted with him for a little while. I am not the type of person who gets star struck but let’s just say there were a lot of important people in the room. As the beautiful lunch continued, I scanned the room and quickly realized there wasn’t one single girl, woman or child in the room. At that moment I remember thinking: What makes us think that we can wall ourselves into a high level lunch …

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Breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals

Breastfeeding is an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can be mirrored in not only the most obvious ones – like Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being – but in many (if not all) of the other goals. Its impact and benefit for the baby, mother and thus society as a whole might not be the main target of the goal, but indirectly many linkages can be recognized. Breast milk is, and always has been free. The costs for formula on the other hand, can have huge impact on a household’s budget. Our babies don’t need anything else – not even water – for the first six months of their lives, if they are exclusively breastfed (of course, there are always exceptions to the rule). With adequate information and support, nearly all mothers can breastfeed their children, no matter their financial situation. What an amazing, effective and inexpensive intervention in the battle to end poverty! Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-Being are essential goals towards global sustainability and equality, and they …

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Let’s Continue to make Gender Equality a Priority

The final day of the Gender 360 Summit was an informative culmination of speakers and participants discussing a multitude of issues which affect women and girls. Amie Wells, Youth Sector Manager at Mercy Corps discussed the challenges of providing education to girls and boys in post conflict areas. She highlighted a story where a young boy with an un-conventional idea engaged various populations in order to create a hip hop class. She reminded the audience that men and boys are a crucial component of advancing gender equality. A youth advocate from Bosnia Herzegovina highlighted that gender equality is a 50-50 issue and we must engage men in order to achieve a more inclusive society. Many thought leaders have coined this period monumental for women and girls and highlighted the significant role that men and boys play in making it come to pass. Although the whole summit was powerful, some of the most memorable experiences were spent tucked away in quiet spaces with fellow participants and speakers simply talking. We shared our stories and hopes for the future of gender equality. …

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Why We Should Talk about Gender Bias and Sexual Harassment in Medical Training

Gender bias and sexual harassment continue to be prevalent issues among medical trainees and practicing physicians. In order to help aspiring female doctors fulfill their career goals, we need to address these issues. Gender bias is a prevalent issue in the workplace today. However, when it comes to medicine, it seems as if a significant amount remains to be resolved. In a 2000 study, among 3,332 full-time faculty, female faculty were 2.5 times more likely to perceive discrimination in the workplace. Among women, rates of reported discrimination ranged from 47% for the youngest faculty to 70% for the oldest faculty. In contrast, less than 3% of male faculty reported such experiences. In addition, in a 2009 study, during the interviews with 12 third-year female medical students, many of them found themselves behaving in stereotypically ‘feminine’ ways and had gendered expectations when interacting with supervisors. Unfortunately, many of these cases of gender discrimination remain unreported as aspiring female physicians may be concerned with the possibility that these cases will affect their careers. In addition, many of them have …

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The Importance of Having a Role Model/Mentor

“Why is she here, working with us boys? Shouldn’t she be somewhere else? How is she better than us?” As a woman working in a male-dominant field, I can’t help but think of the moments when I felt insecure about myself or watched other people whisper directly behind my back. It becomes even more difficult when there is no other woman in the environment that I am working for who has similar goals as I do. Fortunately, I found my role model when I was 14. Even though she did not have the same career aspirations as I did, her geeky personality and her infectious ambition resonated with me. Since then, I have shifted from worrying about what others think about me to making my dreams come true. Finding a role model that suits you certainly takes some patience and effort. Yet, the benefits of finding one are huge: It helps you stay grounded in your dreams and maybe even feel a lot less lonely along the way. I believe it is important for girls to find a …

Yekatit 12 hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Pudlowski

ALUTA CONTINUA: Securing a Healthy Future for Girls and Women

Women’s health news continues to dominate, inform, and affect our lives and imaginations. Ahead of the Women Deliver Conference, I highlight some of the most influential advances in young women’s sexual and reproductive health of this past few decades and their potential to promote women’s sexual and reproductive rights in multiple ways. As I boarded my flight on Saturday to from Nairobi destined for Denmark to attend the Women Deliver Conference, I reflected on the journey ahead: security checks, somewhat long layover at Doha airport, change in temperature and eventual time difference from my own country. Up to this point, I had done the due diligence preparation for travel processes which include visa application and logistical arrangements. Upon further reflection, this process lay particular significance and meaning to the Conference ahead and the journey to secure girls’ and women’s rights in health. A Moment in History When it comes to contraception, life today has meant a variety of choices available for the young woman. It is difficult to imagine that about sixty years ago, the …

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Story Power

As I travelled to work last week, mentally racing through the growing list of things I had left to do before departing for Copenhagen, I absent-mindedly opened the book I had been filling my train journeys with. On the first page I read, the protagonist describes being told a magical tale by an older sibling. He says: “That story, as all good stories, planted a seed in my soul and never left me.” (The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma, 2015) I heard those words as though someone was speaking them aloud in my ear, then read them again, but more slowly, in that deliberate way you only ever bother to do when words make perfect sense or no sense at all. They summed up, more eloquently than I ever could, the reason I first began reading Girls’ Globe’s posts, the reason I now love blogging as part of the team, and the reason I believe a global moment like the Women Deliver Conference is so incredibly important to creating a better and fairer world for women and …

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Celebrating Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Work in Africa

In the words of former American President Woodrow Wilson, “We are not here merely to make a living, but to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision and a finer spirit of hope and achievement.” Some ordinary people have taken it upon themselves to add value to their countries and empower communities, making them exceptionally extraordinary. On International Womens Day, I asked several of my friends, and fellow champions of women’s economic empowerment, at Empower Women to help me identify and celebrate such African women. These are strong, courageous women who have overcome many challenges to achieve their dreams. Their zeal to improve the welfare of women and alleviate poverty is what makes them outstanding. Here are inspiring stories of four incredible African women, as nominated by the champions. Faith Kasoni (Kenya)- Leading Anti-FGM Campaigns Teresa Abila from Kenya, nominated this courageous woman from Samburu, one of the counties in rural Kenya that FGM is still widely practiced. Teresa says that she admires Faith because she decided not to undergo the cut as an …