In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to shine a light on five amazing women who realize the necessary and powerful force sisterhood is to our humanity. Some of these women are easily recognizable (Hey, FLOTUS) while others may not be splashed across a glossy mag their contributions to their communities, and society, as a whole, is what makes them so very (Tyra Banks voice) fiiieeerrrrccceee.
While the First Lady may be best known for her enviable wardrobe or most recently those love em’ or hate em’ bangs. She’s on my girl crush list because of her unwavering ability to help young people discover their best selves. This month marks the third anniversary of her Let’s Move! fitness initiative that motivates kids to exercise and eat healthier meals. The initiative has already inspired laws that enforce healthy meals for low-income families in schools around the country to combat the ever-increasing rise in overweight or obese children. With the help of athletic goddesses’ Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas and Dominque Dawes, FLOTUS launched a new fitness program to be included in America’s schools that will make kids active throughout the day. Nike will donate $50 million over the next 5 years to fund the program.
The shot heard around the world wasn’t aimed at a typical rebel that could be easily extinguished by a Taliban force. It was a 14-year-old Pakistani girl whose only demand was education for girls like herself. Yousufzai’s bravery and sacrifice (she lost hearing in one ear) sparked outrage and protests in her native land. But, it did little to silence the passion she has for empowering girls. Last month since being shot she released her first statement to the press: “God has given me this new life. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated.” Nongovernmental Organization Vital Voices established a nonprofit: Malala Fund that will promote funding for education. Malala and her dad will sit on the nonprofit’s board and decide on the agency’s initiatives. Malala’s unconquerable resilience hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Nobel Peace Prize, which nominated her for the prestigious award last month.
It takes a special person to recognize a beautiful soul. Not a beautiful face. Pakistan native Misbah knows the difference. She is the founder of the Depilex Smile Again Foundation, which helps acid-attack survivors find their place in the world. Misbah, in her early 50s’, started the foundation after being approached by a severely disfigured woman asking for help. The Smile Again Foundation helps women get reconstructive surgery and offers job training. The foundation reportedly helped more than 500 victims that would ordinarily be shunned by relatives and friends. According to Metro, acid attacks are more common in central and southern Asia, but occur around the globe. An estimated 9,000 women were acid-attacked between 1994 and 2001. Misbah’s foundation is home to the survivors and she tells Metro she hopes to create another safe haven. “I just hope God gives me the strength to help more girls. I want to build a shelter where I can live with them. Sorry if I sound like Mother Teresa.”
To Support Smile Again Foundation—> Depilex Smile Again
Jaha wants women to speak up against a cultural practice that is taboo to resistance. A practice that has negatively affected women for centuries. Female genital mutilation has been widely considered a ritual practiced in West Africa, the Middle East and South Asia–until now. There are reports of illegal surgeries taking place in the US and in some cases immigrant families sending their daughters abroad to relatives for “vacation cutting.” Gambian native Dukureh is a survivor of FGM—she was only a few days old when her labia and clitoris were cut off and her vagina was sewn shut to ensure her virginity, then became aware of the mutilation at 15 when her vagina had to be cut back open—and wants women to know this is a global issue. “People think that female genital mutilation is an African issue, but it is a U.S. issue,” Dukureh, now 25 tells NY Daily News. “You have it everywhere Africans migrate to. I felt like if someone knew what I was talking about, most of the things that happened to me, they wouldn’t have happened.” And in order to prevent them from happening to another woman she shared her story with The Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting domestic violence victims, which published her account in a report about FGM in the US. A new federal law made it illegal for this ritual to be practiced and for girls to travel for the purpose of the procedure. Dukureh started a blog entitled ‘Rising Up Against FGM‘ where she interacts with survivors like herself and enlightens women about the dangers of FGM.
To Support Sanctuary for Families —> Sanctuary for Families
Women in Combat: This entry may be a little premature, considering the first female combat team has yet to be chosen. However, I wanted to be the first person to honor these brave, ground-breaking women that will make history by being the first women to go out in combat since President Obama’s administration lifted the ban. Hooah!!!
If you Bl;nked: President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act into law this week. Read my previous blog entry for info about the law. https://ifyoublinked.com/2013/02/22/kelly-rowland-and-monica-promote-domestic-violence-prevention-month/