When it comes to feeling bold, we all need a bit of help from time to time.
We asked our wonderful network of contributors to share a quotation with us – something they have heard or read that gives them a boost of courage when they need it the most. Here we’ve compiled a list of our absolute favourites. We hope that they give you the extra dose of inspiration you need today!
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
“Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.” – Wangari Maathai
“Don’t let your mind set limits that aren’t really there” – Zadie Smith
“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important that fear; the brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.” – Meg Cabot
“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch
“I shall stake my last like a woman of spirit. No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it.” – Jane Austen
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
“Either way, change will come. It could be bloody, or it could be beautiful. It depends on us.” – Arundhati Roy
“Know your own value.” – Michelle Obama
Do you have your own favourite quotation that helps you to feel bold? We’d love for you to share it with us! Leave a comment or connect with us on Facebook, Instagramor Twitter.
For more inspiration you can read Girls’ Globe’s list of ‘Books to Make you Feel Bold’ and listen to our Spotify playlist – compiled by our contributors to inspire YOU!
This month we are celebrating women who inspire us!
So, I want to share with you the profile and bond I have with a very dynamic, dedicated and accomplished woman.
Beatrice Achaleke is World Diversity Leadership Summit’s (WDLS) strategic partner for Europe. Beatrice was also the Founding Executive Director of the International Center for Black Women’s Perspectives AFRA until its transition in 2006. She is the initiator of the first Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna 2007 and current president of the Black European Women’s Council.
In 2008 Beatrice was the first black woman to stand for parliamentary elections in Austria. She was featured as the third most powerful and influential black woman in Europe, by the award-winning blog Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2010.
Ms. Achaleke has many years of training and experience in the fields of diversity management, intercultural communication, lobbying, networking, mentorship, anti-racism, migration and integration, minorities and community empowerment as well as development policies. She studied Sociology at the University of Vienna, Austria and Law at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Beatrice is a multiple award winner and has received the Official and Honorary Decoration of the Federal Republic of Austria for her commitment to Intercultural Dialog in September 2008.
In her own words, this short video tells us what motivates her in her daily work.
Beatrice is such a huge inspiration to me because she has shown me what hard work results in especially when you are not one of those children born with a ‘silver spoon’ in your mouth, i.e. children born into wealthy families and had their future and education planned out and guaranteed. Beatrice worked as an insurance agent to pay for her undergraduate studies and then worked as a volunteer in an NGO that advocated for women’s rights back in the early 1990s when NGOs were just being recognized and established in Cameroon. Beatrice went to Austria as a delegate of her NGO and stayed there. She worked, continued her studies and has become the woman she is today.
She has often involved me in her different activities and I remember working with her in 1998 when she organized a conference in Cameroon to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When I came to Brussels last year, she gave me an internship with her consultancy and after 3 months, I was invited to Vienna to join the organization team for the 4th EDIC Conference. I also had the opportunity to attend one of those world famous Vienna Balls for my first time and it was thrilling!
In a world where there is so much discrimination of women, where there racism still prevails, it is not easy to lean in. I personally got to experience racism since coming to Europe and I was shocked. However, with inspiration from Beatrice and thoughts of what I represent and seek to achieve, I stand my ground and work harder. I can always count on Beatrice’s support and even in her critiques, she is humorous.
Beatrice is initiator of several award-winning projects in Austria. She appears frequently on different programs of the Austrian broadcasting companies including radio and TV, and is a highly booked speaker both at national and international levels. Beatrice’s recent speaking engagements include European Commission and EU Parliament conferences, and the UN Minority Forum.
She is the publisher of the book “Voices of Black European Women 1, challenges, reflections and strategies from the Vienna Congress”, Vienna 2009 and the Lagebericht Schwarzen Menschen in Österreich, Vienna July 2010 and several others. Beatrice is equally the initiator and conference manager of the World Diversity Leadership Summit Europe, www.wdls.eu.
Coming March 16th, Beatrice will be giving a presentation in Luxembourg on her latest book and on the topic “Embracing differences as a resource: are European countries ready for it?” I am going to be attending that presentation because I want to give Beatrice my modest moral support and above all continue learning from her.
As I dig into my heart for the inspiration that keeps it beating, and find the women and girls who stand behind that inspiration, I realize that many of them do not have well-known names or faces. Most of these women and girls do not have their words shared in quotes on Pinterest or Instagram. Many of the women and girls that inspire me are ordinary, but with ambitions and dreams, courage and persistence, love and passion that make them stand out from the crowd.
Women and girls are in many ways pillars of communities around the world. Time and time again, we proclaim that if women are empowered, communities will be more equal, just, peaceful and healthy.
When we invest in women, we invest in the world, because there is no better way to ensure development than empowering women and girls.
But we must look behind the phrases of women’s empowerment and development investments to truly understand the power that lies in the hands of women and girls, and for them to inspire us to make small strides towards changing the world.
The young woman from Somalia
In the middle of my workshop on maternal health and sustainable development, she walks out of the classroom. Her peers are from several different countries, some born in Sweden, some not. She is from Somalia, one of the countries that I had used as an example for the poor status of maternal health and the high indices of maternal mortality. I catch her in the hallway after my session and she apologizes for leaving. She says that she couldn’t hold back her tears, as she knew so many family members and friends who had lost their lives due to pregnancy and childbirth. She was frustrated at the level of care that was given at hospitals and clinics in her homeland. “But,” she said, “now, I know what I am going to do.”
I am going to get educated and become a midwife. Then, I am going to go back to Somalia and change it!”
I will always remember those words, from a young woman who herself fled from insecurity and became a mother of her own in a new country. Her dreams, strength, and courage inspires me.
The ambitious girls from Syria and Afghanistan
Conflict stricken Syria is forcing millions fleeing for their lives, and the lives of their families. A whole generation risks to lack education. Afghanistan, one of the most insecure countries in the world, also drives children and families to abandon places they once called home. It is a country where the strides that have been made for the empowerment of women are balancing on a thin thread and under constant threat.
The girls I meet in the middle school classroom are all new to the country. They don’t yet speak the language, and unless they’re from the same country or region, they aren’t able to communicate verbally with each other. I ask them about education. What does it mean to them?
They speak with anger, persistence and passion as they describe the inequalities that they have fled from. Some of the girls had never set foot in a classroom before they came to this new country. They are all eager to learn and they are all determined to get an education. A 15-year-old girl from Afghanistan said, without hesitation as she stood strong:
In my country I was not allowed to go to school, but now I can. School means everything to me, in school my future is created.
Throughout my conversation with her, she smiled. Her warmth was infectious as we spoke about her work, to repair and heal girls and women who have suffered from obstetric fistula, the devastating injury due to obstructed labor. She is from Ethiopia, and she is a surgeon who saves lives. She is one of the best in her field, and she works hard, repairing countless women every year. The life she has chosen is one of passion, as the prestige and monetary yields are low, but the rewards of seeing women restored is what keeps her smiling.
This woman, who works in the heat, often with inadequate resources to conduct these kinds of surgeries, is an inspiration. Her warmth inspires me.
Who Inspires You?
Share your stories of women who inspire you with Girls’ Globe and Johnson & Johnson this month, and read the stories that we will be publishing here throughout the month!
Join the conversation using #WomenInspire and tweet us a story of a woman who inspires you! We will collect these stories to spread the inspiration that women and girls give us.
Don’t miss the Twitter chat led by @JNJGlobalHealth on Women Who Inspire and the change that is being made improve the health and well-being of women and girls around the world. March 11, 1pm ET. Join using #WomenInspire.
As the days become darker and colder in Scandinavia this year, I remember the cold and dark days two years ago, in late 2011, where the story of Girls’ Globe begins. At the time I was working at the United Nations Population Fund in Copenhagen, Denmark, with strategic procurement and supply chain management for global contracts of sexual, reproductive and maternal health commodities. It was, and is, an important job, as UNFPA makes up close to half of the global public procurement of contraceptives and other essential and life-changing commodities that both empower people and save lives. UNFPA does amazing work to promote family planning, create youth-friendly services for sexual and reproductive health, strengthen maternal health systems and combat neglected maternal morbidities, like Obstetric Fistula.
It was my time at UNFPA that sparked my desire to do more. Although I had amazing colleagues and my job was fulfilling in many ways, I did feel like something was missing. I felt a frustration towards the lack of awareness about the situation of women and girls around the world, the disparities across countries, and even the intricate gender inequalities in my own society. My frustration also stemmed from my childhood. Growing up in Egypt, Pakistan and India, I felt just as much at home in a developing context (which made my typically Swedish looks deceiving) and I felt like that part of my life was slowly disappearing. I also felt a frustration as I was riding the train to and from work between Sweden and Denmark, two of the countries with the greatest welfare in the world, and I was working to deliver commodities to women and men so far from my reality. How can we truly understand the needs of these people when we are physically so far away?
We don’t just want to hear the alarming statistics and see the face of a victim. We want to hear the voices of real women and girls, who are in themselves agents of change.
So, as a way to learn more and educate myself and others, I started to blog and created Girls’ Globe. Since that moment, the seed of the idea to raise the voices of women and girls around the world, for them to educate us and raise our awareness about their needs, their lives and their opinions, has grown into a blooming global network of amazing and passionate young women who both inspire and lead the way for change, as well as, organizations that are empowering women and girls in the core work that they do. (Thank you social media!)
Girls’ Globe has become so much more than just a blog. We are creating change by establishing a platform for connections, creative collaborations and a new way of doing things, by using technology, social media and a passionate team of changemakers to accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.
We’ve had several milestones in the past year alone, including the Women Deliver conference in Malaysia in May. Girls’ Globe hosted our very first crowdfunding and outreach campaign, which enabled seven Girls’ Globe bloggers to attend the conference and meet for the very first time!
Girls’ Globe is growing as I write this with new bloggers and featured organizations, and we want to continue to do so. We don’t only have hopes and dreams for the coming year, we have high expectations and great ambitions. In 2014, we aim to continue expanding our international network of bloggers, organizations, and partners. We will continue attending international conferences and facilitating an online space for young women and the organizations that work to empower them to raise their voice. But, we need your help. Will you join us to continue to create change?
Starting today, on #GivingTuesday, and throughout this holiday season support Girls’ Globe to continue to grow. Donate!
If you aren’t able to donate with money, please donate a small amount of time by sharing Girls’ Globe with anyone you think may be interested in following and becoming a part of a movement to raise the voices of women and girls around the world.
The I WAS HERE campaign for the World Humanitarian Day is a great inspiration to us at Girls’ Globe. It is an inspiration to everyone, not only all the people working with or advocating for the rights and health of girls and women around the world.
See this amazing performance in the UN General Assembly Hall by Beyoncé, and be encouraged and inspired to act, just like we have been!
How will you make your mark? Check out the I WAS HERE website and place a pin on the map with what you have done to make a difference for somebody in this world.
DO SOMETHING GOOD, SOMEWHERE
FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Are you working with women’s issues and would like to be featured on Girls’ Globe? Send us an email, connect to us on Facebook or Twitter.
We would love to hear your story!