Best of 2018 on girlsglobe.org!

As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve compiled a list of Top 20 posts published on girlsglobe.org. We hope you’ll enjoy re-reading old favourites, or catching up with articles you missed!

“The short guidebook was written in response to the fact that 87% of women in Afghanistan have faced verbal, physical and/or sexual violence at home. Yet too often, women feel alone.”

“There are many people who have been trailblazing the fight against FGM for years, and each have important messages about how we can end this violation of human rights.”

“I feel the plight of these girls in my bones. The girls who can’t leave their homes without being harassed and groped by men in plain daylight. Girls who are married to adult men.”

“She fought for human rights and spoke out about police violence in Rio’s slums. She was 38 years-old. She was Marielle Franco. And on March 14 2018, she was murdered.”

“We have to agree that online communities with tens of thousands of members coming up with strategies to rape as many women as possible are more than just gangs of weird losers who can’t get a date.”

“The ease with which perpetrators can commit these crimes is the result of a culture of normalization that includes victim blaming and telling women to fear public space because we are not safe there.”

“The effects of Chhaupadi are extremely dehumanizing and psychologically stressful, with young girls being told that they will bring bad luck on their families if they enter their own homes during menstruation.”

“Nyaradzai’s story could be the story of many women living with fistula in Zimbabwe and other developing countries. Fistula is a silent condition, and as a result many women are suffering in silence.”

“At a time like this, when people are losing their faith in democracy and their representatives, I think it was good for the public to see that they can make their voices heard and actually influence a government’s decision.”

“How is it that so many women are experiencing the same problem, yet so much of the world is completely oblivious to our pain? Instead of being supported, we’re being made to feel like we’re ‘crazy’.”

“After a year and a half of getting nowhere with the police, Shiori decided to go public with her case. A decision like this wouldn’t be taken lightly within the Western world, but in Japan, it is almost unheard of.”

“Many young people enter this field due to their empathy, compassion and sense of justice. This makes it hard to clock out at the end of the working day and take enough time to rest and recuperate.”

“By 2030, more than 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. With women representing more than half the population, cities need to improve urban infrastructure to discourage harassment and abuse.”

“We can be angry about the outcome of this election, and I’m absolutely certain there are many people who walk the streets of my home country scared. It is more than time to change the conversation.”

“Our SRHR policies do not support or uplift disabled women and this is worrisome. Not enough research is done to understand and recognise the sexual desires and needs of disabled women.”

“These thoughts craved your delight and safety always, but not today.
For today, my mind has learnt to paint my thoughts in happier shades.”

“Although half of female garment workers report being sexually active, less than a third of them use modern contraceptives.”

“It is critical that we provide young people with information on their rights so that they can know when to say no, how to say it and how to defend themselves against manipulation and abuse.”

“With social anxiety, some of the most banal things in the word feel terrifying — such as, in my case, standing in line at the grocery store, answering the doorbell or opening a text message.”

“Yesterday, a judge dismissed all charges against Imelda and she was allowed to return to her family. This is an amazing victory in a country widely considered to have the most extreme abortion ban in the world.”

Happy Holidays from Girls’ Globe!

The best of 2017 on girlsglobe.org…

We Need to Talk About Mental Health 
by Gabrielle Rocha Rios 
“A big misconception about mental health issues is that they are strictly in a person’s mind and don’t make them physically sick – but that is far from true. Mental health issues are never a person’s choice – they are disorders, and can affect anyone, at any age, anywhere in the world.”

If They Kill Me 
by Bita Aranda 
“How could I not use this platform to tell the rest of the world what they are doing to us? How could I not write about the gender based violence we live amongst every day? How could I not use this privilege as a way to give those women and girls their voices back?”

#MeToo: We’re all in this Together
by Preeti Shakya 
“I remember being subjected to harassment long before I even knew what harassment or assaults were. School-going boys. Middle-aged men. Married men. A policeman. That boy who considers himself a ‘feminist’. Colleagues. On the bus. Across the pavements. In a queue. At a temple.”

How to be Alone
by Farahnaz Mohammed
“I wish we lived in a culture that valued a woman who does her job well, or recognized her role as a sister or a daughter or a friend as much as a girlfriend or a wife. I wish our knee-jerk instinct in supporting the women we care about wasn’t to try to remedy them of their singledom.”

At 25, I’m Finally Meeting my Cycle
by Eleanor Gall 
“As I’ve tried to educate myself about natural menstrual cycles – which I’m now experiencing for the first time in my adult life – I feel more alert to the signs and signals my body sends me. I’m working on building my knowledge of what’s happening at different stages of my cycle, and I feel more able to listen to and respect what my body wants and needs at each.”

Keeping Girls Healthy in DRC
by CARE

“Adolescents and young people in DRC often find it difficult or impossible to access health care. Information and services related to sex and reproductive health (SRH) are especially hard to find due to cultural norms and expectations (such as abstinence before marriage) that prohibit young people from seeking them out.”

10 Things that Happened to me After Childbirth
by Julia Wiklander
“Throughout my first pregnancy, I didn’t think too much about the time after birth – with only one session with my midwife and one parental class to prepare for breastfeeding. I was not fully prepared for what was going to come – and perhaps I could never be prepared enough – but there were a few things that happened to me, my body and my baby that I wish I had known before giving birth.”

Standing Up for Girls in the Time of Trump
by Ashley Lackovich-Van Gorp
“My work, like all work, begins at home. I visibly resist hate for and with my own daughters, two immigrants of color who are growing up in a time when integral parts of their identity are being challenged. They, and all girls in my life, must see me modeling contested truths: black lives matter, native lives matter and refugee lives matter; women’s rights are human rights; no human being is illegal and love is love is love is love.”

Menstrual Cups: Breaking the Bloody Taboo 
by Terri Harris 
“When you’re comfortable with your period, you become curious and intrigued by the female anatomy. When you begin to speak frankly about menstruating you can change other people’s perceptions about their periods too. The cup is the gateway to being open and honest about your period. Being frank about menstruating may just steer girls away from those feelings of embarrassment and shame.”

Midwives Made Me Feel Like Not Going Home
by Mia Ydholm
“It was the middle of the night, I hadn’t slept for 48 hours and the tears seemed unstoppable. I felt inadequate for not being able to calm my daughter down when she screamed as if I was hurting her, while all I was trying my hardest to do was to please her. Midwives provided me with their invaluable knowledge, skills and help, and I am forever thankful for the time they spent taking care of me and my family.

From Child Worker to Girl With Big Dreams
by SOS Children’s Villages
“Families that allow them to be children and do what children are supposed to do: learn, play and feel loved. For girls who live with vulnerable families, it’s critical that we help them become stable and strong through family support programs in order to prevent family breakdown and child abandonment.”

2017 has been an important and exciting year in many ways, but it has also seen its fair share of trialling and difficult moments. We’ve seen them in the media, in our political systems, in our Facebook feeds, and we’ve felt them in our personal lives. We’re sure you have too, and we hope you know that we’re here with you through it all – the good, the bad and the in-between. So much of what Girls’ Globe has accomplished so far is down to you – our incredible readers, contributors and supporters – and so we want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU.

We hope that whatever 2017 has looked like for you, you find yourself able to take the rest you need as we reach the end of the year and look to 2018. We hope you are able to switch off – whatever that means to you – and to surround yourself with the people, places and things that bring you the most joy.

We wish you a beautiful, restful, restorative holiday and a very happy new year!

Girls’ Globe is…the Place Where I Belong

I first met Girls’ Globe in New York, a little over a year ago. I was lucky enough to attend the Global Citizen Festival during the United Nations General Assembly Week as one of the Global Young Leaders from Johnson & Johnson.

As one of J&J’s partners, Girls’ Globe was there to document the process and profile the seventeen Young Leaders from around the globe; young people working on empowering projects and representing issues from their communities – issues that inspired them to do more.

I met the Girls’ Globe team – a group of diverse, intelligent and inspiring woman who were there to share our stories, but at the same time, to share their own. I was very interested to learn more about them. How did they become bloggers for this global organization dedicated to inspiring others? I immediately thought: what an incredible project! How can I be a part of it? I remember casually saying, “hey, if you ever need a new blogger, let me know…” but I never actually thought it would happen!

During the week, we took a road trip from New York to New Jersey, and on the way back I was sitting next to Girls’ Globe Founder – Julia Wiklander. Since there was a lot of traffic, we started chatting about our projects and how we wound up where we are.

I told Julia about the time I was counselor of a WiSci (Women in Science) Camp at Peru, an initiative of Girl Up, which is a UN campaign that sees girls from Mexico, the United States, Peru and Chile learning from companies like Google and Intel.

I told her that we had the incredible opportunity to write a few blog posts on Huffington Post about the experience, but also how unfortunate it was that they were posted on Huffington Post Spain, because there was’t a dedicated platform for Latin America (until recently – Huffington Post has since expanded to Mexico). I thought it was a shame because although we share the same language, we have very different realities, and I felt we needed a distinct platform for Latin America.

So I dropped the big question: “Hey, have you thought of translating girlsglobe.org to Spanish?” Without hesitation Julia said: “Oh, I haven’t, but let’s do it!

First, I joined Girls’ Globe as blogger, and the rush of writing my first post about Latin America’s march against gender-based violence was incredibly empowering. Every statistic was painful, but the thought of writing for a global platform about issues specifically affecting my region, my country and of my community kept me going. I was going to be able to share our pain and our joy, and have other women and men from the world join our fight.

I was (and I still am) talking about Girls’ Globe everywhere. We now have several active bloggers from Latin America. We’re adding content about our region, and that is a major victory.

One of the major challenges is something for which I have to applaud the Latin American bloggers: writing and expressing themselves in another language. One of our big goals for the future is to be able to translate content on girlsglobe.org – not only into Spanish, but Portuguese too – as by doing so we will be able to elevate more girls and young women from the region who feel more comfortable writing in their native language.

And so this is a love letter to girlsglobe.org. Girls’ Globe has given me a place where I can raise my voice, without fear and without censure, and for that I will be forever grateful. It has given me the opportunity to bring more women on board to join this unique community and give them a space to express themselves about issues that matter to them. Girls’ Globe is a place where we can all belong.

Throughout the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, Girls’ Globe is crowdfunding to be able to keep raising voices in 2018. Please support us so that we can continue to share our stories and reach every corner of the world! If you are a Latin American reader and are interested in becoming a blogger, please feel free to leave a comment. 

Top Tips for Successful Storytelling!

As part of the pre-ICM Congress activities, Girls’ Globe – in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson – organized and hosted a Social and Digital Media Training for young midwives enrolled in the Young Midwifery Leaders (YML) programme. The aim of the training session was to equip young people with the tools they need to engage in social and digital media both during and after the 31st ICM Triennial Congress. The young midwives also learned skills that will allow them to advocate more effectively for midwifery in their communities and globally.

Here are our top tips for creating successful and powerful messages!

These apply not only to YMLs at the ICM Congress, but to anyone, anywhere, at anytime, who would like to improve their storytelling skills. Here we go!

Blogging Tips

#1: Define your passion: write something you care about and tell a human-centered story.

#2: Ask yourself why? Why is this story/your passion important to share with others?

#3: Think quality! Reference correctly, include sources, use pictures you’re allowed to use, have someone edit your work.

#4: Keep it simple and short! Avoid technical language and avoid repetition.

#5: Dare to be yourself and know that your voice, your opinions and your story matter.

#6: Encourage readers to take action – include relevant handles and hashtags!

#7: Share your post and get engaged in online conversations

Creative Digital Storytelling Tips

#1: Use your creativity! And always remember: be yourself! 

#2: Good lightning and good sound. Preferably shoot in daylight and check that your microphone is working properly.

#3: Always have nice background and settings – avoid a white wall. Sit in front of your colourful bookcase, stand on the sidewalk in your city get comfortable in your garden.

#4: Use the right mode – portrait or horizontal – for the respective channels you’ll be using.

#5: Edit your video to make the most out of it. There are several apps and tools that you can use to make it more lively.

Digital Media and Advocacy Tips

#1: Know what’s up and be heard! Stay up-to-date use relevant handles and hashtags.

#2: Stay true to yourself – be your creative self and remember, your perspective is unique.

#3: Go live! Use Facebook Live and/or Instagram Live when capturing a speaker verbatim in real time.

#4: Know the facts! Take notes during events you’re sharing stories from, and make sure that what you’re sharing is accurate.

#5: Get visual! Add photos and videos to increase visibility and offer your own perspective.

Are you ready to put these into practice? Submit your application to become a Girls’ Globe Blogger and join our global network of engaged women and girls from all over the world!

Girls’ Globe Feels Bold All Over the World on International Women’s Day 2017!

Girls’ Globe’s incredible community of contributors is made up of bloggers and organizations around the world who raise their voices for change every day. We are in awe of their courage and determination and so, on International Women’s Day 2017, we want to showcase just how bold our network is.

We asked them to share what motivates, inspires and emboldens them in the hope that they can inspire YOU to be bold for change too!

Tell us about a place you go, or a place you’ve been, that makes you feel bold? 

Ayla: I feel strong and bold when I am at the top of a mountain.

Nelly: My village is a place that will always make me feel bold since I overcame so much criticism because of how I am outspoken about women rights, access to family planning for women and girls, and girl child education. I am also the only young woman from this village who decided to choose education over marriage.

Miia: New York, because of the constant energy and all the bold people surrounding me in the streets. My favorite place to write is my hometown Lisbon, Portugal, because that’s where I dare to dream.

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Leah: I spent some time working with female sex workers in Ghana. They work that I did with them, and the things they taught me, made me believe that it only takes one person to enact great change.

Wynter: I go to the playground, hang upside down on the monkey bars and dream. I tell myself the sky is my drawing board.

Grace: Sitting in a coffeeshop, empowering women one blog post at a time. I sit down with my cup of coffee, turn up my music and do what I love. It makes me feel like superwoman.

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Nsovo: Maputo, Mozambique. It has amazing people, great markets, crazy traffic. I love the streets and the spicy food.

Ashley: Women’s spaces make me feel bold. There is a tremendous power around women’s energy, ideas and collective being.

Chaarushi: Used book stores. There’s something about being surrounded by old pages and the copious amounts of knowledge they hold that makes me feel like I can learn enough to truly create a positive difference in our world.

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Mia: Wherever and whenever I meet likeminded people, I feel encouraged, strengthened and inspired to continue to be bold.

Lisa: Roadtripping in Norway, the nature makes me feel like anything is possible!

Maxine: Network events and spaces both online and off that are for empowering women, operated by women themselves. They embolden me, and I relax because I am not alone.

Eleanor: Being by the sea reminds me that the world is so much bigger than me, but also that it can be so very beautiful, which makes me feel strong and hopeful.

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Cynthia: Standing on top of the Matterhorn, Switzerland. To see the vast mountain range and understand I have the potential to write my own adventure made me feel bold.

Emma: Any new place I visit. I am writing this in a cab in Hanoi, Vietnam. I’ve never been here before, and a new country and new culture always makes me feel bold and adventurous and breathes new life and energy in me.

Farah: My Instagram! It’s great to do a quick scroll, and remember the people I’ve met or things I’ve gotten to do. It’s easy to forget your past experiences or accomplishments, and feel like you’re not qualified enough or strong enough to take on what’s coming at you. A good record of the good times you’ve gone through or the things you’ve done is a quick fix for imposter syndrome; for me, it can be a reminder that if I could do that, I can do this.

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Where do you go when you need to feel bold? Where’s the most inspiring place you’ve been? Join us in celebration of boldness this International Women’s Day by sharing your answer with us in the comments or with #BeBoldForChange on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Cover image credit: Ayla Schlosser, Co-founder & CEO, Resonate

Blogging Empowers Young Women in Nepal!

“Being a blogger enables us to give momentum to a revolution that can change the perceptions of the society we live in.” -Akriti, Women LEAD Nepal

women lead girls
Women LEAD Nepal young leaders discuss effective blogging ideas.

These are powerful words spoken by a young woman leader in Kathmandu, Nepal. Akriti, alongside other young women, has the opportunity to participate in Women LEAD Nepal’s year long leadership training program. As part of this program, they will be equipped with essential life and leadership skills to create change among peers, family, community and the world. Last week, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting with Women LEAD Nepal’s amazing young women leaders in Kathmandu. Women LEAD Nepal became Girls’ Globe’s first featured organization in 2011.

As I sat on the floor with thirteen amazing young women, I learned each of their hopes and dreams for the future. I, also, learned about their passion for writing and blogging. Over the course of several hours, I shared my own journey through starting my own blog and joining Girls’ Globe as a blogger. I, also, gave them six effective tips for starting their own blog or joining an existing blogging network. During the course of the workshop, they talked about the issues they are passionate about and how to effectively blog about those issues. Over the next few months, you will hear their stories through Girls’ Globe.

Blogging truly empowers young women to share their voices and stories.

Visiting Women LEAD Nepal was a powerful picture of what can happen in the lives of young women through leadership empowerment. I was able to ask them what they see as priorities for women and girls in the future and also why they believe blogging and social media are important avenues for empowering women and girls. I, also, sat down with Co-Founder of Women LEAD, Claire Naylor. She shared more about Women LEAD Nepal’s work as well as how our partnership has strengthened their voices as they empower young women in Nepal.

Listen to these amazing young women!

1. What can global leaders not ignore for women and girls?

2. Why is blogging and social media important in the movement to empower women and girls?

3. Girls’ Globe speaks with Claire Naylor, Co-Founder of Women LEAD