29 October 2012

World Summit Youth Award for I ♥ Being a Girl!

As announced earlier and much earlier on our Twitters, I ♥ Being a Girl just received one of the World Summit Youth Awards 2012 in the category Power to Women.

This video explains the award and showcases all the amazingness:

All this took us to Montréal to meet other people and show what we've got...


 +  I ♥ Being a Girl even managed a media mention, yes! Thank you, Montréal Gazette.

26 October 2012

I ♥ Being a Girl people, meet the press: Luīze ♥ Being a Girl

We're going back to our roots, both I ♥ Being a Girl and IPPF wise, and exploring our own experiences. And you deserve to meet the people behind, anyways.
So, here it goes!


Name: Luīze Ratniece, @_uize

Things I enjoy doing:
  - Reading feminist literature and blogs,
  - Cooking (vegan), or just eating some awesome nom-noms somebody else has made,
  - Jotting down ideas while sitting in a coffee-shop or library (yes, much love for libraries).

My major breakthrough that switched my interest towards gender issues and opened my eyes literally overnight when I was 13 on 14 were two German books (by a weird coincidence): Ute Ehrhardt's Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Even Farther and Sabine Werz's Best Friends, Best Enemies (the translations being my Latvian to English translations of titles I knew them by). These were fun popular books for somebody not really introduced to any feminist consciousness yet. Nevertheless, they raised the basic awareness about the existing gender norms, barriers, inequalities and told me that I am allowed to ignore what people expect from me as from a girl if I please so. And that's what I've been trying to do since that.

The world would be a better place if everyone would:
  - Watch the movie Shortbus (2006), challenging the heteronormativity and filling the world with sex positivity.
  - Listen some old jazz. Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Blossom Dearie, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt can improve everybody and everything. Especially if you take the very dependent and misogynist lyrics with a pinch of salt.
  - Read two novels by Douglas Coupland, Generation X (1991) and Generation A (2009) to understand how weird the world was before internet and how much weirder it's getting.

Before I'm 80, I want to earn a PhD (a senior teaching position would be cool, too), speak decent French and take a bath full of yoghurt.

I ♥ Being a Girl people, meet the press: Magnhild ♥ Being a Girl

We're going back to our roots, both I ♥ Being a Girl and IPPF wise, and exploring our own experiences. And you deserve to meet the people behind, anyways.
So, here it goes!

Name: Magnhild Bogseth (aka Mag, Maga, Aymara, Misa, Mags or M), @maggsis

Things I enjoy doing:
  - Learning languages by talking to people at the street,
  - Debating world problems with smart people who can provoke and produce new ideas and visions,
  - Getting to know the world through traveling, eating new food and reading books

I became aware of the importance of comprehensive and reality based sexual education when I as an exchange student in high school received sexual education as a cartoon show, where the girl ended up with going to hell because she had sex with her boyfriend after drinking a beer.

The world would be a better place if everyone would:
  - Watch the movie Pay it Forward (2000) and actually do it in real life. And watch Milk (2008), and Pippi Longstocking (1969), of course!
  - Listen to Everybody’s Free by Quindon Tarver and follow his advice.
  - Read the biography of Martin Luther King and get inspired.

Before I’m 80 I want to speak at least 6 languages, be relatively good at surfing and have made the wonderful persons I have in my life happy in one way or another.

23 October 2012

Ensuring SRHR = an asset, again

 An another take on the issue of girls and development, mentioning I ♥ Being a Girl:
"There is consensus that girls are central to development. Yet, girls continue to bear the brunt of poverty and ill-health, including maternal mortality, unsafe abortion and HIV. Issues relating to girls’ sexuality and their sexual and reproductive rights remain largely neglected.
According to the World Health Organization, some 16 million girls between 15 and 19 and two million girls under the age of 15 give birth each year. For them, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death. Approximately 82 million girls in developing countries will be married before their 18th birthday. This will disrupt their education, even though women with more years of schooling have better maternal health, fewer and healthier children and greater economic opportunities. Biologically, girls’ health can be more vulnerable than men’s. Of particular concern are the dramatic increases in HIV infection among young women, who now make up 60% of the 15 to 24 year olds living with HIV. Girls are also exposed to various forms of violence from harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and the growing problem of sex trafficking to early and forced marriage.
Disparities in the way girls and boys are raised and treated are at the root of poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and development challenges. For boys, adolescence can mean new freedoms and greater participation in community life. Girls, however, may face the opposite: restrictions in their access to choices, education, services and support. Traditional gender roles give girls little say about their own hopes and dreams. Yet we know it is possible to take effective practical action that enables girls to tackle gender inequality and ill-health and to fulfill their potential.
The Girls Decide initiative and the project I ♥ Being a Girl are a step toward this. Girls Decide aims to ensure that girls have access, as a human right imperative, to life-saving SRH services and information. I ♥ Being a Girl, recently winner of a World Summit Youth Award, promotes a positive approach to the sexuality of young women through online tools.
IPPF/WHR also invests in services and programs targeting girls. CIES, our local partner in Bolivia, offers medical, psychological, and social care, while ensuring confidential and quality SRH services to young people. In 2011, over 101,270 consultations were undertaken. Sustained leadership is required to ensure that girls are recognised rights-holders. Policymakers can help transform lives of girls by supporting evidence-based research that reflect realities of girls’ sexual and reproductive lives; investing in youth-friendly services and programs; guaranteeing access to comprehensive sexuality education; and creating supportive legal and policy frameworks and social norms. The benefits of investing in girls are transformational – for their own lives and for their families, communities, and countries.
Empowering girls so they can make healthy choices not only boosts economic growth, but are also essential to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Let’s give them greater choice and control over decisions that affect their sexual and reproductive lives and help break the cycle of poverty and inequality for the next generation. "
Investing in Girls is Essential to Ending Global Poverty 
Fiona Salter & Elena D’Urzo*

* Fiona Salter is the press officer at IPPF Central Office. Elena D’Urzo is the Advocacy Officer at IPPF European Network. Originally published by Girls' Rights Gazette. Article found in the blog of IPPF WHR.

22 October 2012

Educating girls is smart, for girls

Education is good for girls. Full stop. Now repeat it again and again. While standing on a chair or any other elevated object, preferably.

Because, as much as we love Girl Effect or any other efforts promoting empowerment of girls and women, at least some of the feminine mystique around investing in girls has to go. Education for girls is good not because they give all their money back to their family afterwards while boys with the same education will not. The very fact that the boys would not support their families equally is profoundly alarming, and a clear sign of structural disadvantage for girls.

So, education for girls for girls' sake we say. 

21 October 2012

World Summit Youth Award for I ♥ Being a Girl, take 1

The surprise-surprise (unless you follow YSAFE Twitter, which you should) is that I ♥ Being a Girl visits Montréal these days to RECEIVE A WORLD SUMMIT YOUTH AWARD for advancing MDGs via IT thingies aka this blog in the category Power 2 Women!

So, we are thrilled and amazed, and amused, and slightly terrified (the invitation says "bussiness formal" and we have just stupid flowers and rubber shoes).
Nevertheless, we'll overcome that anxiety by overdressing while staying excited and treat it like a big I ♥ Being a Girl Tea Party of Digital Solutions and inspirations.

We'll keep you posted!

17 October 2012

I ♥ Being a Girl: Make your day brighter while feministing around

...and an 8 year old wills how you how!

Via A Girl's Guide to Taking Over the World and Guerrilla Feminism comes the inspirational moment of the day:
 "This is how Stella Ehrhart, age 8, decides what to wear for school.
She opens her closet. She opens her book, “100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century.” And she opens her mind.
The Dundee Elementary School third-grader comes to school dressed as a different historical figure or character — Every. Single. Day. And she's done that since the second day of second grade, when this all started.
The budding actress with a social conscience came to school on the first day last year dressed like any other 7-year-old girl, in the outfit her grandpa had bought her: a Love T-shirt and leggings. The following day she was dressed as author Laura Ingalls Wilder.
From that point on, Stella decided that what she would wear to school would represent who she was trying to be. With no repeats, at least through second grade." (More here!)
So, while the geopolitical or whatever else importance of some of these women might be disputable, they are still powerful symbols, it's still so awesome + thrilling is the fact that she does that in a very DIY way, no posh pre-made costumes. And the fact that the school and her classmates are completely OK with it. You go, Stella!

That's her as:

 Elvis Costello (well, she does an "Old Turtle from a children's book by the same name" and her school principal, too)

11 October 2012

International Day of the Girl Child

On the 11 October 2012 the United Nations and the world celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year´s activities focus on ending child marriag.
¨Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.¨

Child Marriage is an ultimate robbery in a girl´s life.

The IHBG project aims to see generations of young girls filled with dreams and hopes, able to learn and chose their path, able to make decisions, take changes and fully enjoy life.Girls who aspire!

That is why today we asked girls about their childhood dreams.

And what did you want to become when you were a child?

Speciall thanks for our lovely participants: Priyanka, Chen, Kaitlin, Silvia, Paola, Mirela, Pilar, Julia, Anna, Laura, Eva, Judith, Christina, Anna, Georgina, Carol and Christina 

New! I [heart] Being a Girl Short Film 2012


We have spent all summer guarding this as our most precious (oh, the Precious!) secret. Below you can find a short video of what has become I ♥ Being a Girl perspective. 

We have dedicated some time (more than 2 years) talking about what are the phenomena of the socialization of girls that we actually enjoy. Be it Spice Girls as role models, frilly dresses, shopping, silly movies... It's OK. We have been taught that these are some of the things girls enjoy, we have tried them and found them to be enjoyable. Our first short film was dedicated to this (and you can still watch it here).

This video is different. It is still based on testimonies and everyday experiences of how it is to be a girl. Just that this one goes one step further than the previous one as we speak about autonomy, authentic choices and that journey when you discover what are the things / activities / people that touch your most inner being. And makes you happy.

Happy International Day of the Girl Child,