Providing muse to make a change to feminine societal standards with beauty, art, aesthetic, and the written word.
FGM for Kids + More
Menstruation Should Not Affect Education
A recent NPR report shed light on extremely strict and problematic school discipline policies at Girls at the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, including rules that can punish girls for leaving class to go to the bathroom. Bloodstains have in fact become such a problem that the dress code now allows girls to wear sweaters around their waist, which only creates shame by publicizing that the girl is on her period. The controversy points to a greater problem about how unequal access to tampons and pads can be detrimental to a student’s education—causing girls to miss school when they are worried about staining their pants, for example. Efforts are being made on the state-level to combat these injustices; New York, California, and Illinois require schools to offer free menstrual products, but harsh discipline at charter schools continue to unnecessarily distract girls from their education
Gender Inclusivity in NY Police Force and Fire Department
New York Legislature recently passed a bill that would change “policeman” and “fireman” to more gender-neutral terms in references to state laws. The updated gender-inclusive language would feature the terms “firefighter” and “police officer” to demonstrate that such jobs are no longer as dominated by males as they once were. Still, opposition to the change exists.
In the last 20 years, female entrepreneurs have risen as leaders of small business in the US. These featured cities were determined by data collected on such factors as the number of startups, the success of new startups, the percentage of female entrepreneurs in the workforce and costs of childcare for the working mother. These cities share greater numbers of female entrepreneurial success as well as better opportunities for entrepreneurs in general.
In response to the current lack of female representation in fields of science, technology, engineering and math, Girl Scouts of the USA is working with Raytheon to develop a national computer science program for middle and high school girls—a time when girls typically begin disengaging from STEM subjects. A recent study of 13 to 17-year-old girls revealed that only 11% of girls are interested in STEM careers (less than half the rate of boys). These girls also said that an important factor in their careers is helping people, which may explain why women with STEM degrees are less likely than men to pursue STEM careers and rather lean towards healthcare and education where the benefit to others is more obvious. This computer science program will demonstrate the power of science and technology to help others and do good, therefore encouraging girls to pursue careers in computer science.
Image: IZABELA HABUR/GETTY IMAGES
Educating and Empowering Kids about FGM
At Norbury School in northwest London, primary school kids are learning about female genital mutilation, a ritual that involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia and often represents a greater desire to control female sexuality. Roughly 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have undergone FGM, which can cause chronic pain, cysts, infertility, death by hemorrhaging or infections, and fatal childbirth complications later in life. FGM is typically carried out between infancy and 15 and affects mostly immigrant communities from countries well represented at Norbury School, so principal Louise Browning wants her students to learn about it at a young age. The school collaborates with the National FGM Center to create age-appropriate lessons, and to empower children by giving them the tools and knowledge to speak up if they witness or are victims of this abuse.
Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman expresses the necessity to encourage more women to go into the world of finance. She says the key to recruiting more women in finance and tech is to illustrate a stronger industry that boasts diversity and economic growth, and to inspire the taking advantage of financial education.
It’s been over a year and six months since the Brexit vote, and the UK’s impending breakaway from the European Union is still causing uproar. Fashion companies based around the UK, in particular, are concerned about the deals’ impact on their ability to hire and travel internationally, as well as import high-quality textiles from around the globe. According to a report from the Creative Industries Federation, 74% of small luxury labels—many of whom are run by or provide employment to women-- fear that Brexit will significantly harm business prospects. Adam Mansell, the executive of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, warns that, although it seems unlikely, “it is vital that we get a trade deal with zero tariffs and very simple border controls.”
28-year-old Humza Mian isn’t just a veterinary technician—he’s also a drag queen and social media influencer whose feeds are both a celebration of his South Asian heritage and of his individuality. His drag name, MangHoe Lassi, pays homage to a popular drink in India. Growing up in a religious family, Mian was taught to hide any traces of femininity, and he still isn’t out to his parents. While he wishes he could be, the reality is that coming out still is not a safe option for many people across the world. Even though laws are changing and promoting acceptance of more and more people, the social implications of such a decision can be incredibly dangerous. Mian wishes that media represented those queer folk who are proud of their identity but still have to remain closeted, unlike the many out-loud-and-proud shows like Queer Eye and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Despite this, he is happy his drag, makeup tutorials, and social media presence as a beauty influencer can create a safe space for him to be fully himself, and he hopes he can create that space for others with similar experiences.
Jessamyn Stanley, yoga instructor and body-positive advocate took to Instagram this week to talk about an issue that isn’t discussed nearly enough: chafing and the discomfort—and scars—it can result in. Stanley posted an amazingly real photo of herself on her couch in her underwear, comfortably watching television with her inner thighs bearing the scars many plus-sized women have from chafing. Within her caption, she says “Yes, there are permanent marks on my thighs from chafing, Welcome to being #fat.” What people don’t realize is that this happens to women whose thighs happen to brush together when they walk—it’s not about being what society deems as “fat.” It’s simply friction and nothing to be ashamed of.
Coming out is an important moment for many in the queer community, but what if you never technically have to come out, or you’re not sure you even have anything to come out about? Growing up, Wilson knew she liked boys, but she was confused about the feelings that girls would sometimes provoke in her. She hated herself for being confused. As a supporter of queer rights, she felt that even discussing her confusion would take away from “real queer people,” and she saw her own identity as invalid. After all, she married a man and was incredibly happy with him, so what was the point of exploring her identity even further? But one day during Pride Month, Eleanor wondered why she didn’t think her identity mattered and why she had been unhappily hiding herself. She realized that to finally feel comfortable in her own skin, she had to be honest. After coming out via social media, Eleanor couldn’t stop telling everyone she talked to; it gave her such a rush of love for herself and her unique identity. If there’s one thing Eleanor’s story can teach us, it’s that accepting yourself and showing who you are to the world takes time, bravery, and a whole lot of self-love.