“The story of how women in positions of strength continually support and empower each other is consistently ignored while the myth that we pit ourselves against each other perpetuates,” reads the #MoreWomen campaign page on Elle.“We want to change this narrative in our feminism issue and create a more positive conversation – to reflect the power of women, and to support and grow each other as we push for global equality.”
My son is in love with trucks, cars, and construction machinery…every time we pass a bulldozer, train, bus, etc… he excitedly yells the name from the backseat of the car and looks for more.
We have quite a few books about fire trucks, trains, planes, etc… and I have noticed there is such a lack of women in these books. When reading to C he will point out all the boys and daddies in his books and I will try to find the most gender neutral looking characters and pretend that there is a Mommy or a girl in some of his construction books.
We recently found this gem of a children’s book at the library. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a woman featured on almost every page, and doing the same work the men are doing. I love hearing my son shout “Mommy” when he sees a woman driving a bulldozer and crane.
Growing up I was one of those kids who could never find a sport that I was good at. I was not very athletic and team sports made me nervous because I was afraid of letting my team down. I tried running off and on but it never stuck with me. I enjoyed exploring outside and have fond memories of endless hours playing in the back yard with neighborhood kids. I also loved spending summer’s with my family camping and hiking in the mountains.
Once I reached high school I started going to the gym a lot and became obsessed with working out to look a certain way and maintain my weight. Throughout most of high school and college working out was an unhealthy obsession I had and part of my eating disorder.
Only in the past 5 years have I become more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I have come to appreciate my body and all that it is capable of. Perhaps the most impactful and life changing experience that made me appreciate my body the most was having my son. Carrying and birthing him was one of the most humbling experiences. Afterwards the ability to feed and provide the nutrients he needed was also incredible to me. For me something changed in my confidence when I became a mom.
Within the 1st year of C’s life I found myself starting take up an interest in running. My sister was into running and always talking about how therapeutic it was for her. I decided to start out slow and see how I did. I started with short 1-3 mile runs around local parks. I also joined a running team at work that ran 5K distances twice a week. I came to love running and found ways to carve out time in my schedule. I got so excited when my mile times went from 11 to 10.5 and then 10 minute miles. I could never remember a time in which I had run so fast.
In addition to running with my team at work I started making plans with girlfriends to run and would get home early enough to park my car, run to C’s daycare with an empty stroller, and run back with him. As the weeks went on my passion grew and grew. 3-4 months into my running journey I received an invitation for a complimentary entry into the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon. Our running team at work was all invited to enter since our company was a major sponsor. When I first saw the email invite I got butterflies in my stomach. I was only running 3 miles a week and the thought of running 13+ miles seemed impossible. With that being said it was only April and I had until October to train. I immediately responded that I would do it and within hours everyone had agreed to do it too. I told myself all I had to do was finish and I would be proud.
As time went on I found my miles times getting fast and faster and my runs getting longer and longer. I will never forget the 1st time I ran 6 miles, 8 miles, and 10 miles. I also will never forget running my first 8:30 mile and my first 8 minute mile. I was so proud of how I was progressing. By July I no longer had a goal of finishing the Rock n’ Roll but I had a goal to finish in under 2 hours.
Running my 1st Half Marathon was amazing. The race was long and tough at times but my final 1/2 mile was incredible. As I rounded one of the last corners of the race, I felt like quitting, I had to pee, and I was tired. I was sweating and contemplating starting to walk and I looked up. I saw the dome of the gold shiny capital in front of me and Katy Perry “Firework” started to play. I had to fight back tears, and the lump in my throat, because I was so proud of how far I had come. As I ran through the capital and saw people cheering me on, I couldn’t believe where I was. I ran towards to the finish as fast as I could and threw my arms in the air as I ran across the finish line. I saw that I BEAT my goal and finished in 1:58:36. Tears started streamed down my face and I was so proud of myself.
Doing something you never thought you could is such an incredible feeling and so empowering. Through running I have found strength and confidence in my body and in my soul. I hope that my story might inspire anyone reading this to find something that you never thought you could do, and try it. Set a goal and do it. You might surprise yourself and beating your goals feels INCREDIBLE!
After my post yesterday, I searched around to see what I could find. I found two interesting studies in the Harvard Business Review and University of Kansas City.
In the 1st graphic it was interesting to me that 59% of men attributed personal success to rewarding relationships, when only 46% of women did. Work life balance was very close and within 1% point of each other. The 2nd and 3rd biggest gaps were between men and women’s views on Learning and Developing and Financial success.
Sorry I have not posted in awhile! I have recently started a new job and have found myself, as I expected, working more hours than I have in awhile. In my new position I have spent time thinking about the differences between men and women, and balance between work and home. I posted somewhat of a stream of consciousness below, I would love to hear your thoughts!
I am constantly trying to make sure that I am contributing as much as a I should at work while balancing a life with my spouse and son at home. There are days where I feel like I have figured it out and days that are just plain tough. It is hard for me to be away from my family as much as I am but I feel genuinely happy about what I do and my career. I am often tired of hearing about women who are trying to have it all or women who are constantly lamenting their guilt about being a working mom. While I am all for balance and every mother finding her own way… I have to wonder, do men think about these things as much as we do?
I think that men and women are inantely different in the way we view different components of work and home life however I don’t know why. I am constantly trying to better understand the variances between how men and women feel about working and being a parent. The balance of work and home is an ever popular topic and yet one in which there will never be answer.
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. As a child, she became an advocate for girls’ education, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived, and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. In 2014, she was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
On July 12, 1997, Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, located in the country’s Swat Valley. For the first few years of her life, her hometown remained a popular tourist spot that was known for its summer festivals. However, the area began to change as the Taliban tried to take control.
Yousafzai attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools in Swat, Malala gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”
In early 2009, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban’s threats to deny her an education. In order to hide her identity, she used the name Gul Makai. However, she was revealed to be the BBC blogger in December of that year.
With a growing public platform, Yousafzai continued to speak out about her right, and the right of all women, to an education. Her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. That same year, she was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
Targeted by the Taliban
When she was 14, Malala and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. Though Malala was frightened for the safety of her father—an anti-Taliban activist—she and her family initially felt that the fundamentalist group would not actually harm a child.
On October 9, 2012, on her way home from school, a man boarded the bus Malala was riding in and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.
The shooting left Malala in critical condition, so she was flown to a military hospital in Peshawar. A portion of her skull was removed to treat her swelling brain. To receive further care, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.
After the Attack
Once she was in the United Kingdom, Yousafzai was taken out of a medically induced coma. Though she would require multiple surgeries—including repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face—she had suffered no major brain damage. In March 2013, she was able to begin attending school in Birmingham.
The shooting resulted in a massive outpouring of support for Yousafzai, which continued during her recovery. She gave a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, in 2013. She has also written an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which was released in October 2013. Unfortunately, the Taliban still considers Yousafzai a target.
Despite the Taliban’s threats, Yousafzai remains a staunch advocate for the power of education. On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement of her work, the European Parliament awarded Yousafzai the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. That same year, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She didn’t win the prize, but was named a nominee again in March 2014. In August of the same year, Leanin.Org held a live chat on Facebook with Sheryl Sandberg and Yousafzai about the importance of education for girls around the world. She talked about her story, her inspiration and family, her plans for the future and advocacy, and she answered a variety of inquiries from the social network’s users.
In October 2014, Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In congratulating Yousafzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as “a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”
For her 18th birthday on July 12, 2015, also called Malala Day, the young activist continued to take action on global education by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets,” Yousafzai proclaimed in one of the school’s classrooms.
That day, she also asked her supporters on The Malala Fund website: “Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book and share why YOU choose #BooksNotBullets – and tell world leaders to fund the real weapon for change, education!” The teenage activist wrote: “The shocking truth is that world leaders have the money to fully fund primary AND secondary education around the world but they are choosing to spend it on other things, like their military budgets. In fact, if the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just 8 days, we could have the $39 billion still needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet.”
A sad and interesting observation from a Mama after shopping for a Halloween costume for her 3 year old daughter on Party City’s website:
“Dear Party City,
Having just finished perusing your website for Halloween costumes for my three-year-old daughter, I am writing in the hopes that you will reconsider some of the content on your website and the antiquated views such content communicates about your company’s beliefs. In order to understand my concerns, please direct your attention to the ‘toddler costumes’ portion of your website. Compare, for instance, the ‘classic’ costumes offered for boys and girls.
As you can see, the classic costumes for boys include 53 assorted options, ranging from traditional vampire attire to a ‘rascal pirate’ to 16 costumes relating to possible occupations. Meanwhile, the classic costumes for girls include 45 options, ranging from a ‘vampire queen’ to a ‘precious pirate’ to three costumes relating to possible occupations. (It is worth noting that I have generously included in this number the ‘cheerleader’ as a possible occupation, despite it being well known that even NFL cheerleaders are not paid well enough for this to be their only source of income, as well as the ‘cowgirl,’ although, unlike the ‘cowboy,’ she is clearly not appropriately dressed to be employed on any sort of working ranch). To be clear, that means 30% of the costumes you market to boys are based on occupations, while just under 7% of the costumes you market to girls are based on occupations.
When you look around at the police officers in your city or neighborhood, the uniforms they wear are probably substantially similar to the costumes you have elected to offer for boys. However, the same cannot be said of the costume you market to girls. Generally speaking, real life uniformed female police officers do not wear short skirts and low cut shirts, but instead wear exactly the same slacks and shirts as their male counterparts. Further, while your choice to market these different costumes to different genders is remarkable in and of itself, it is worth noting that this disparate treatment was apparently at least somewhat conscious on the part of your business. I invite you, and anyone else reading this letter, to review the description of the costumes. When describing the girl costume, your marketing team elected to use language like “cute cop” and “sassy and sweet,” while for the boy costume, they chose to note the “realistic scaled-down police shirt” and assert that “this protector of the peace has it all under control!”
I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.
While Halloween costumes are undoubtedly about “make-believe,” it is unfathomable that toddler girls and boys who might be interested in dressing up as police officers are seeking to imagine themselves in the incongruent way your business apparently imagines them. Toddler girls are not imagining and hoping that they will grow up to become a ‘sexy cop’ — which is clearly what your girl costume suggests; rather, young girls, just as young boys, see and admire their family members and neighbors offering service to their communities and delight in the idea of doing the same. I am absolutely appalled that your business reinterprets girls’ innocent and well-intentioned dreams into this costume.
Finally, the thing that I would maybe most like to point out to you is this: Your company could EASILY include many, if not all, of the costumes you have in the boys’ section as options in the girls’ section as well! And in so doing, you would not only improve the message you are sending to society, but you might actually help your bottom line by selling more costumes (since little girls shopping with their parents would be more likely to see these options)! Even if you insist (and I really hope you don’t) on offering the sexualized version of costumes for little girls, you could *also* offer girls the realistic option of the same costume.
Look at the world around you: In a world where Ronda Rousey and Danica Patrick are excelling, there are certainly girls who would be interested in that Toddler Boys Everlast Boxer Costume or that Turbo Racer Muscle Costume. Perhaps you recently read about Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, the first female graduates of Ranger School; knowing that these women were once little girls, doesn’t it seem like maybe there are girls out there today who would have some interest in the Combat Soldier Costume or the Flight Suit Costume? And surely, having observed female doctors when walking down the halls of a hospital, or female construction workers when driving down the street, or female postal workers when mailing a letter, it is reasonable to believe – both from a sociological and business perspective – that there are girls who might be interested in such costumes just as there are women who are interested in these professions.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with little girls who enjoy and want to dress up this Halloween as a ‘Light Up Twinkler Witch,’ or a ‘Doo Wop Darling,’ or an ‘Enchanted Stars Princess,’ there is also absolutely nothing wrong with little girls who might wish to give the ‘UPS Driver’ costume or the ‘Ride in Train’ costume a try! Please, Party City, open up your view of the world and redesign your marketing scheme to let kids be kids, without imposing on them antiquated views of gender roles.