Beauty Not Merely Skin Deep

After being approached by a client who had suffered a brutal stabbing at the hands of a man whom she’d rejected, Flavia Carvalho a Brazilian tattoo artist, founded a heart-warming project called A Pele da Flor (or The Skin of the Flower). The lady who approached her had scars on her abdomen from the stabbing and longed for something beautiful to be made of it. Flavia was so touched by the gratitude of the woman after the masterwork was completed that it struck her how many women she could help in similar situations. Huffington Post caught up with Flavia in 2015 and so began the
intense media coverage worldwide of such a wonderful venture.

A Pele da Flor is specifically in existence to provide free tattoos to women who have suffered at the hands of domestic abuse or have had mastectomies. And the work Flavia does with these women’s scars is indeed beautiful and inspiring. Flavia says she has done work for women all over Brazil as well as abroad and the stories she was told in those first consultations have been truly horrendous.

She loves being able to journey with women from walking through the door to her studio with a weight on their shoulders and grotesque scars, to crying with them and sharing their hurt and then to seeing them smile again, proud to show their bodies off after the transformation. She says she follows a number of the women on Facebook and is so touched by the photos she is now privy to: women who are proud to wear bikinis and dresses and are graced with smiles where there was once intense hurt and shame. The background to the project’s name is in Flavia’s belief that all women should be treated like flowers where their skin is ‘protected and embellished’.

When asked of the future of the project and her passions, Flavia says she would love to help as many people as she can. As of yet, no other tattoo artists have put their hand up to participate in the project but Flavia is excited about partnering with women’s NGOs in Brazil as well as being a part of women’s festivals. The deeper intention of Flavia’s is to raise awareness through the project about domestic abuse to women and the scars they bear as a result. In addition to this, Flavia transforms mastectomy scars and intends to be present at Pink Ribbon festivals to ensure her message is heard. Flavia says she is also inspired to continue by the sense of affection and camaraderie she witnesses from the women she helps. She is privileged to see people transformed however is realistic about the scope of the project which is ‘a grain of sand. The world is full of things which
need to be addressed. We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence.’

Flavia has a Facebook page where she posts the before and after photos of the women and includes the stories behind the scars.

 
  Nicola Johnson - CONTRIBUTOR

Nicola Johnson - CONTRIBUTOR

 

International Women’s Day – A day to be celebrated?

“We can’t succeed when half of us are held back.” -Malala Yousafzai

It’s International Women’s Day. One day out of the year to celebrate that we are successful, despite a widening gender pay gap, to be proud that we are driving social progress despite only making up, on average, less than half of all Members of Parliament (NZ).

 
 

To tread lightly in the face of ‘where is international men’s day?’ nonsense and try to explain statistics such as, 1 in 3 women have or will experience sexual and/or physical violence from a partner in their lifetime, as if these statistics need to be defended by women.

To fight against Female Genital Mutilation, abuse which effects 125 million women world-wide.

Perhaps it is time to quietly mention that in rural areas globally, women are disproportionately effected by poverty in contrast to men due to their roles as carers rather than financial earners. In rural Peru 33.7% of women are illiterate compared with 10.9% of men due to a lack of access to education resources, issues all worsened by malnutrition and food scarcity due to the altitude and remoteness of these villages. The UN reports that “a child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive. Every year of education beyond grade four that a woman receives, reduces risks of her child dying by 10 per cent.” Even basic chauvinist
reductionism requires that to make more men we need educated women.

So what are we celebrating exactly?

The UN highlights that “women continue to earn less, have fewer assets, and are largely concentrated in vulnerable and low-paying activities. Seventy-five per cent of women’s employment in developing regions is informal and unprotected.” Water scarcity is a global issue but women have specific biological needs that only increase their need for clean water such as pre- and post-partum care and facilities to manage monthly menstruation. A refugee in the Arizona Immigration Centre told Human Rights Watch that she begged to take a shower and asked for sanitary pads.

She was given two, not nearly enough and explained “I had to just sit on the toilet for hours because I had nothing else [I could] do.”

This International Women’s Day, the focus must be on the continued strength in the marginalised 50% of the world’s population, the success achieved in visible and invisible ways, the contributions that go unmeasured behind closed doors under the blanket idea of traditionalism and the continued efforts made to improve gender equality globally.

Happy International Women’s Day everyone.

 
  Haylee Read - CONTRIBUTOR

Haylee Read - CONTRIBUTOR

 

Duality: Race Perception in Australia

As a white Australian, I feel ill-equipped to speak on behalf of an entire people. But, as a user of social media, I can confidently write that I am continually frustrated by the double standard of prejudice I see in the country I was born in.

It is a strange kind of irony that Australians show open disgust at the lack of diversity at the Oscars -an elitist awards event far removed from the everyday reality of Australians - yet show no real compassion for the segregation issues so often observed at home. But, there is hope in the artwork of ACT High School student, Ineka Voigt. ‘Stolen Dreamtime’ featured as the Australia Day logo for the world’s most used website. Google explained the logo choice; “In response to the theme of ‘If I could travel back in time I would…’ Ineka wrote “… I would reunite mother and child. A weeping mother sits in an ochre desert, dreaming of her children and a life that never was… all that remains is red sand, tears and the whispers of her stolen dreamtime”.

The sketch should remind non-Indigenous Australians of the cost others have paid for their privilege. Rather than reflecting the hateful “If you don’t live it, leave it” nonsense posted too often on social media, Ineka’s illustration artfully reflects what should be recognised clearly as the day of dispossession it is.

In the UK, Asylum seekers’ doors are being painted red to identify their houses to the community. Today a law was passed in Denmark allowing refugees to be stripped of their possessions to cover the cost of their asylum. To this day, Aboriginal Australians fail to be recognised in the country’s Constitution.

Left in the hands of an aging generation, it seems that legitimate respect for difference is getting further from possible. I look ahead and see all of the mistakes my generation will be apologising for. So, it is fitting that the truth of our history is best reflected on Australia day through the eyes of a child already disillusioned by the views and actions of previous generations.

 
  Haylee Read CONTRIBUTOR

Haylee Read CONTRIBUTOR

 

Public Breastfeeding and Desexualising the Debate

Youtube star, Jay Salads recently posted a social experiment video that sought to highlight the duality between the use of breasts as sexual objects vs. their intended use; to sustain an infant.

This issue has been highlighted more frequently recently with Trollstation posting a video that went viral. An actress, Amina, can be seen being abused on the London Tube. A man (also an actor) aggressively harassed her for ‘exposing herself’. The experiment sought to understand how the public would react. Fortunately, other commuters were quick to defend Amina, arguing that she has the right to feed her child despite his objections. But do these social experiments raise more questions than they answer?

At what point did breasts stop being recognised as the natural source of food they are? Are breasts only acceptable as sexualised objects for male pleasure? Arguably, the media and the beauty industry have succeeded in objectifying women’s bodies, but at what point did common sense disappear from the debate? Why is what men deem appropriate still the measure for acceptable female behaviour?

Chantel Molnar writes for Huffington Post about this duality. “We don't seem to have any problem with the duality of our mouths, which can be for sex and for eating. We do not make people cover their heads with a blanket when they are eating in public simply because the mouth is frequently used sexually.”

A forum on Medical News Today sought to give equal weight to both sides of the debate. While one user stated that breastfeeding publicly is “natural and healthy,” another likened it to women urinating and defecating in the street.

Molnar asks, where do we make room in society for mother-work? Economically speaking, the role of breastfeeding threatens a mother’s role as an active market consumer. This places her at the mercy of big pharma-culture with the purchase of expensive, synthetic formula. Where, breastfeeding wholly empowers the mother, turning her from purchaser of goods to the sole producer of the food that sustains her baby.

WABA – the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action suggests that society as a whole simply fails to acknowledge a complete definition of women’s work which would successfully integrate the full productive capabilities and activities of women, including breastfeeding.

Perhaps, a fully integrated economic definition of the role that women play in the production of humans, would desexualise the debate once and for all.

 
  Haylee Read - CONTRIBUTOR

Haylee Read - CONTRIBUTOR

 

Gendering Interviews

I was skyping my brother when I realised something. He had a job interview coming up, so I asked him if he had prepared for it. “Mmm…not yet,” he told me nonchalantly. His calmness bothered me.

I, leaving a few days to prepare, searching ‘what to wear to an interview’ and ‘how to shake someone’s hand’ (in a way that screamed ‘hire me!’) could not fathom going to a job interview unprepared. This was nothing compared to my sister’s militant preparation of mental cue cards and format answers, days, even weeks, before the interview. And yet, here was my brother, days trickling into the dreaded day, and remaining wholly unfazed. The worst thing was, he was amazing at interviews. He was confident and funny, he was assertive and in control, he answered questions in model STAR format. He was everything I needed to be in an interview, and he hadn’t prepared for days on end. What was I, and my sister missing?

Then came in my realisation. My brother grew up in a society that valued the opinions of men. These set the conditions in which men grew up confident that their opinions meant something; society would listen to them regardless. In 2012, the car company BMW changed it GPS voice system because it was a female voice. BMW Germany received various complaints from drivers about the female GPS, telling them where to go and what to do. They trusted, and felt more confident, with a male voice directing them where to go. Is it a surprise then, that women are more likely to question themselves? Society grooms women to privilege the voices of men, while remaining silent, and uncertain of their own voices.

It is a well-established myth that women talk too much. Men are seen as ‘silent listeners,’ and women as mindless chatterers. This is the opposite of the truth. Extensive research by Deborah James and Janice Drakich, Margaret Franken and Janet Holmes shows overwhelming evidence in which men talk, and tend to dominate conversation far more than women, especially in a public setting. This happens from an early age. At primary and secondary schools, research found boys dominated classroom talk. At university, men also dominated conversation. Janet Holmes analysed the number of questions asked by participants in one hundred public seminars. Where the numbers of women and men present were about the same, men asked almost two-thirds of the questions during discussions. Moreover, Dale Spencer, an Australian researcher and feminist, believed that men have no accurate indication of how much they talk. Spencer asked students to evaluate which gender talked more in a given discussion. Men perceived the discussion as “equal” when women talked only 15% of the time, while the discussion was “dominated” by women if they talked only 30% of the time. Essentially, society would prefer women to be silent, than to talk at all. Is it so hard to answer why men can perform confidently (and better?) in a formal, interview setting?

Interviews require you to talk, to be sure of what you’re saying, knowing that your interviewers are listening, and accepting what you have to offer. Men have grown up knowing their voices will be heard, groomed into a society that privileges men’s voices from the classroom, to the office. Of course, there are women who are just as confident and do exceedingly well at interviews. But those come from preparation rather than from natural validation by society. The confidence a white, heterosexual man will have in what he has to say, will be different from how a woman has obtained her own confidence and validation. I understand the importance of interviews, I really do. How else can you gage a future employee’s work habits and ability to fit in a company? But being aware of how the system works to favour men’s opinions and validating the struggles women face, may be the first step to changing something in society.

 
  Wen-Juenn Lee CONTRIBUTOR

Wen-Juenn Lee CONTRIBUTOR

 

The Power of 'Teeny-Bopper' Music

When someone asks you, “What music do you listen to?” the response may vary, but more often than not, you will avoid pop as the go to answer. Rock, EDM, Jazz, Classical music; anything is better than to say pop. And even if a person enjoys pop, it is better to say Beyonce, who everyone loves, or Taylor Swift, who everyone fears, anything but the blanket term, trashy identifier: pop. To listen to pop, unironically, is to admit that, in Bourdieu’s cultural capital, you are an uncultured swine. And what is the worse subgenre of pop, but teeny bopper music?

Teeny bop pop is music marketed for young teenage girls, or alternatively, what teenage girls listen to. For example, the popularity of The Beatles was elevated to standards not seen before, because of the passion teenage girls devoted to the boy band. This is reflected in the same global success that One Direction has received, success at the expense of the ‘teeny boppers’’ reputation and credit. One can listen to ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ with irony, because then, one acknowledges that pop music, namely teeny bopper music, is not ‘real’ music, and general consensus is reached. But to listen to One Direction, seriously and god forbid, passionately, is ridiculous. Why the stain on teeny bopper music?

Simply, anything associated with teenage girls, with their passions and their hobbies, is trivialised in society. And what better way to affirm it than in the disregard of music that they actively support and listen to? A man’s passion for a stereotypically masculine hobby, such as sports, is completely normalised. Wearing the jersey of your favourite sports team, going with your friends to the stadium, waking up at 5am to watch the Rugby World Cup; none of these rituals are ridiculed or teased about. Instead, wearing a One Direction t-shirt, owning any of their merchandise, following ‘trends’ that support One Direction and going to their concerts, is sacrilege. The top definition for teeny bopper in urban dictionary is “Stupid girls of ages 10-14 who squeal and giggle so much that Satan is willing to drag them back to hell…They like pink and listen to stupid bubblegum pop.” The fact one of their identifiers is they “like pink,” stereotypically associated with femininity, shows the very reason for the ridicule of teeny bopper music: it is aimed for a feminine audience, and therefore, it should not be taken seriously. No, unlike hypermasculine displays of gender in rock and metal, teeny bopper music, marketed for young girls, can’t be ‘real music’.

When I listened to One Direction’s recently released 5th album ‘Made in the A.M,’ I was astounded by how mature it was. Lyrics ,written by them, told stories of standard promiscuity, seen in ‘Love You Goodbye’ and ‘Temporary Fix,’ to surprisingly sombre ruminations, in ‘Walking in the Wind’ and ‘A.M’ to startling personal reflections of the boyband’s lifestyle “cameras flashing every time we go out” in ‘Perfect’ and the importance of their fans, and Zayn? (the fifth member that left in March this year) in ‘History.’ These lyrics aren’t mindless junk, churned out by a mass generator and applied to catchy riffs like you’d expect. They’re complex and subtle, with dark tones, like in Wolves: “headed straight for your heart/ Like a bullet in the dark,” and sometimes humorous, like the play on words, “I live for you, I long for you, Olivia” making ‘Olivia’ a pun for ‘I love you.’ The slow tempo of ‘If I Could Fly’ and ‘A.M’ juxtapose with the catchy anthems ‘Drag Me Down’ (already released as a single) and ‘Temporary Fix.’ One Direction’s teeny bopper music is surprisingly mature for something that is often undermined and cast aside.

If ‘Made in the AM’ is anything to go by, teeny bopper music deserves far more credit than what people have given them. It has provided a platform for teenage girls to express their passion, and to negotiate their identities in a society fraught with expectations. The ridicule given to ‘teeny boppers’ and the music they support, lies in the root of who we are; how we treat and devalue teenage girls, and what their worth is in society.


 
  Wen-Juenn Lee CONTRIBUTOR

Wen-Juenn Lee CONTRIBUTOR

 

One Girl: One Dream

Chantelle Baxter - Image via:

Would you like to know how a rebel found her cause and was named as one of Melbourne’s 100 top most influential people in 2011 after being a party-girl lacking ambition for much of her late teens and early twenties? Read on…

Chantelle Baxter is the CEO and co-founder of One Girl which happens to be one of the fastest growing non-profit organisations in Australia. She founded the organisation at a point in her life when she saw everything she had been doing so far was futile. She had helped women switch to vegan pregnancy supplements and choose breastfeeding over formula, but so far it wasn't making much of a difference in quality-of-life. Then Chantelle travelled to Sierra Leone as part of a mentorship program where she was required to live for a month within a remote community and become involved in their everyday life. It was here that Chantelle discovered her heart could be moved and a dream could be born. She fell in love with the children of the community and particularly noticed the hardships the girls were subjected to.

One Girl was started on the back of this trip and exists to ensure that girls and women around the world are given access to an education. The basis of this foundation is that ‘when you educate a girl, she’ll change the world’ and their motivation is to educate one million of the 66 million girls globally.

There is nothing insignificant about the impact One Girl is having on uneducated women. To date, Chantelle has raised over $1.8 million for the work of One Girl and has been asked to speak at countless events raising awareness for these women. Raising awareness is a necessity as currently in Sierra Leone girls have more chance of being sexually assaulted than of attending high school.

Another of One Girl’s branches is LaunchPad. LaunchPad’s product line consists of eco-friendly sanitary pads – a welcome luxury in Sierra Leone where they can miss up to a week of school every month during their period for lack of sanitation. The program has two main roles: partnering with local Sierra Leone women in LaunchPad businesses and providing free menstrual health training and sanitary pads in schools. The social taboo around menstruation is extremely difficult for the women and so being empowered through business and something as simple as a good, affordable sanitary pad is freeing indeed. Many women in Sierra Leone have had FGC (Female Genital Cutting) rendering it very painful for them to insert anything (a tampon for example) into their bodies. Likewise, social etiquette sees them only successfully married on proof of their virginity and so few want to risk spinsterhood. A special point of One Girl and LaunchPad in particular is that they have listened to the audience and done their research, designing a product that is made from all natural materials, relatively locally sourced and perfectly suits the local women with all the daily cultural pressures they face.

Business Brains is a financial literacy and business education program delivered to young girls (and boys) in Sierra Leone to provide them with marketable skills for the future workplace. The program began when a young girl fainted in class from hunger, highlighting the need for more food provision.

The girls themselves suggested a solution, seeing One Girl financially backing them to start their own small companies from which they could buy their food.

One Girl is also building schools with proper sanitation and resources – a welcome haven after a 10-year civil war which resulted in 1200 of their schools burnt to smithereens. To help vulnerable or at-risk girls make it to school, they provide scholarships which ensure the girl has her fees paid, a school uniform and stationery. A strict selection committee chooses who will benefit from scholarships as they look to save girls from child marriage, teen pregnancies and a sheer lack of money – three of the leading contenders keeping young girls out of school and away from a future. The willingness of the people of Sierra Leone has partly ensured the success of the relationship with One Girl. These programs work and realise tangible, life-changing results.

Chantelle didn’t stop there. She is also one of the creators of Do It In A Dress which is a fundraising campaign anyone can sign up for. The gist of it is to pick a challenge to do in a dress, gain sponsorship for doing it and then complete the challenge. Statistics dictate a girl’s life will improve dramatically if she is educated. She will not only have an increased income but will also invest most of her income back into her family and she is likely to marry later in life with a smaller and much healthier family.

The challenge is really for all of us, through things such as Do It In A Dress, to do our bit to see these predictions fulfilled.

If you’d like to get involved…One Girl wants to do things differently to other organisations. They want show transparency in all their financials and so publish their year-end financial reports online so that you can see where your money is going. If you’d like to know more or to donate, please visit http://www.onegirl.org.au/ and http://www.doitinadress.com/.


 
  Nicola Johnson CONTRIBUTOR

Nicola Johnson CONTRIBUTOR

 

Record Rise of Patents Filed by Female Inventors

 Image via

Image via

Over the past 40 years, the number of women filing patents with the US Patent and Trade Office in the field of academia has risen dramatically and swiftly.

In an analysis run by Associate Professor, Cassidy Y Sugimoto at the School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington, 4.6 million utility patents issues between 1976 and 2013 were examined. The findings were that the patents frequently included multi-disciplinary collaborators and a rise of 2 to 3 percent across all areas, 10 percent in industry, 12 percent in individuals and 18 percent in academia. Sugimoto says “women are patenting at higher rates in academia compared to industry, government and individuals… we had thought it might fall lower since patenting is still considered’ optional’ in terms of promotion in academia…” (via)

The downside is that the impact score of these patents – where the patent is cited in other filings, is still significantly below patent filings with male names attached and that the patent filings – regardless of area, came nowhere even close to the representation of women in science, technology, engineering and math even though women make up a third of all STEM field researchers.

It’s a question of whether women aren’t competing at the same level when it comes to patents or if we as women are pushing ourselves to self-promote as much as our male counterparts. It’s an inherent trait to stay humble in our successes but in order to push forward through to progress, we need to embrace the nature of self-promoting, to believe that our accomplishments are more valuable that we give them credit for.

A gender equality club run by men

 Harvard Manbassadors Image  via: 

Harvard Manbassadors Image via: 

At the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate business school, Wharton, a club has been started on campus with a focus on gender equality – what makes it different to other gender equality groups? – It’s run entirely by men. It’s called ‘The 22s’, named after he percentage gap between men’s and women’s pay and has regularly convenes to discuss discrimination, gender issues and attitudes around equality.

*"One of the key ideas behind the group was we wanted to dispel the notion that gender equality is a women's issue," "We wanted to show that it's a universal issue." *(via)

2013 * As part of its Women’s Association, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business launched its Male Ambassador Program. * ‘Manbassadors’ was formed, spurred by male students at the Harvard Business School's Women's Students Association.

2014 * ‘WIMmen’ was formed at Stanford's Graduate School of Business as an extension of the school’s ‘Women in Management’ club.

The men leading these campus clubs are those who had hard working mothers and therefore an example of the gender inequality at work. Harvard Business Schools’ Gender Initiative shows that men with working mothers spend nearly twice as many hours helping with household duties than those who grew up with stay-at-home mothers. One such example is founder of WIMmen at Standford’s Graduate School of Business, Jeff Barnes whose mother is a former president and chief executive of Pepsico North America, Brenda Barnes who famously stepped down from her high-powered position to spend more time with her family (via).

#LikeaGirl

We’ve all heard it before, being told that we ‘throw like a girl’, ‘fight like a girl’, ‘run like a girl’, ‘cry like a girl – they’re all used in a derogatory manner to imply weakness and yet American company, Always have partnered with award-winning documentary filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield to create a video and social experiment questioning what the phrases mean to adults and conversely, to children.

While the adults act out exactly what we’ve come to associate with the phrases, accompanied by giggling, the children do something far more profound. All between the ages of five and thirteen, they respond with fierce punches, runs that start with a launch and a fearlessness completely absent in the adult group.

After being shown the younger group’s reactions, the adult group seemed shocked and are forced to reflect on their response and how the phrases have attained such a negative connotation

One participant says: "I think being insulted with 'like a girl' definitely drops girls' self-confidence and really puts them down’(via)

Another participant points out: "Why can't 'run like a girl' still mean 'win the race'?"(via)

Greenfield wanted to redefine the phrases: “I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine 'like a girl' into a positive affirmation." (via)

Strong is the New Pretty

Photographer Kate Parker's images are enigmatic. Strong and fierce, her snaps (most specifically in her project 'Strong is the New Pretty' depict more than just her daughters going about their everyday life, they show the power of confidence, of childhood innocence and what Kate Parker describes as their 'silly, adventurous, frustrated, happy, loud, athletic, fierce, funny selves.'

Her project is all about determining worth based on something stronger and more important than looks. That strength and character should be the goal, not the proper application of makeup or how many protruding ribs you can count. She wants her girls, and all girls to be celebrated, not for being photogenic or for being this week's news but for being simply who they are. 

Check out the photos in this post and then view the rest at her website!

How to Get a Raise in 47 Seconds

In Sweden, women earn on average, $346,000 less than men over the course of their working life. In a PSA to draw attention to the issue, Annelie Nordstrom, chairwoman of Sweden's largest union, 'Kommunal' is transformed into a man in the comically titled 'How to Get a Raise in 47 Seconds' video, released ahead of International Women's Day earlier this year.

In the states, the comparison is about 77 cents earned by a woman to every $1 earned by a man. 

In New Zealand, women are afforded a grander scale of opportunity but pay disparity and gender inequality is still a major issue around the world.  The questions is - What are we doing about it? 

#Ilooklikeanengineer

Image via: 

Although it’s 2015, gender biases still exist (surprising, no?). Obviously they have improved over the last decades, but there are still many careers and fields of study that are considered “historically male-dominated.” One of those is engineering.

Isis Anchalee, a female platform engineer at the company OneLogic, was featured in their recruiting campaign – she appeared on billboards designed to try and draw in more women. After receiving backlash for her photo – which commenters claimed gave a false picture of what female engineers looked like – Wegner started a campaign, using the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer.

The point of the campaign is to help redefine what an engineer should look like, hopefully making the field more accessible to a diverse group of individuals, according to Anchalee. It encourages people – both male and female – to post pictures of themselves with the hashtag.

Vicky Scrooby - Software Engineering

Data from 2014 (via ) shows that less than a quarter of engineers in any given specialisation are female. Vicky Scrooby, a software engineering student at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, hopes that can change.

Scrooby was interested in engineering from a young age, and received full support from her friends and family to pursue the degree.

 “I became interested in engineering near the end of high school,” she said via email.  “I have always enjoyed science and math, so I was looking into degree options that included those subjects. The reason I was drawn to engineering is the real-life application aspect. Engineering takes theoretical concepts, and applies them into concepts and objects that can be used and seen.”

Scrooby is currently completing a 12-month internship between her third and fourth years of study. 

While it can’t be denied that gender-bias does exist, Scrooby says she’s been fairly lucky.

“I wouldn't say I've received any negative backlash due to being a woman in this field. There definitely is a difference in gender representation […] However I find that my fellow students and colleagues treat me just the same as a male.”

Not only is Scrooby an engineering student, she also feels strongly about encouraging females to pursue careers in the field. One of her jobs had her running programs that encouraged younger girls to think about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and she thinks #ILookLikeAnEngineer is a good idea.

“I think the best way to encourage girls, whether through clubs & camp sessions, or whether through advertising campaigns, is through having a good role model. Isis Anchalee is a legitimate software engineer, so I think she is a good role model.”

In the meantime, Isis Anchalee is now developing a team to build www.ilooklikeanengineer.com as a "safe platform for us al lto continue to share our stories and experiences relating to diversity issues in tech." 

 

Cam Parkes   CONTRIBUTOR

 

My Beautiful Struggle - Jordan Bone

After a slew of critical comments on her video blog about the way she uses her hands and holds her brushes, this beauty vlogger created a video for her taunters and for anyone out there who has been victimised via similar circumstances to reveal what she hides from the camera. 

A car accident a decade ago left her a tetraplegic with her hands unable to move. Unable to move herself or dress herself, she was determined to be able to do one thing really well, to still be able to show people the real her as she'd always appeared, if only from the neck up. 

She taught herself new ways to hold brushes, asserted new control over the parts of her body that previously defied it and now is a successful beauty vlogger. 

We think her journey is an incredible one and one that should motivate you, whatever your goal to learn that no matter the roadblocks on your journey, it just takes looking at it from a new angle, determination and creativity to find new ways to press on to that achievement. 

Watch her video below.

Kingdom of Girls

This striking photoseries entitled "Mädchenland" or 'Kingdom of Girls', is the product of photographer, Karolin Klüppel for an interview with Mic.  The series focuses on the matrilineal Khasi culture in the state of Meghhalaya (India) wherein women are revered and in Karolin's words "To disrespect a woman here is to harm society". 

Girls are brought up with an incredible sense of self, an inherent self confidence and respect that is cultivated by their families and of the people in their culture.  Instead of the tearing down of women so synonymous with western culture, the Khasi foster a respect for women and of matrilineal cultivation. 

The Khasi culture is a testament to how empowering girls at a young age, fosters a sense of self-sufficiency and confidence rarely seen in today's western teens, producing women that are self-assured, independent and successful. 

Read the full interview with Karolin at Mic's website here.  and see the full portfolio of images at Karolin's website here

120 years of Women's Suffrage - Infographic

 Image  via

Image via

While the Women's Suffrage Movement has been a battle fought since the 18th Century, it is astounding that some countries are still only just coming onboard almost 300 years later. 300! In 1718 Sweden, taxpaying female 'members of city guilds [were] allowed to vote in local [and national] elections' (via) a move that was rescinded in 1758 for the former and 1771 for the latter.(via)

Pitcairn Island and the Isle of Man were both ahead of the game without being self-governing countries with the former offering universal suffrage in 1838 and the latter in 1881 as well as various American states signing on before 1893 but it was New Zealand that became the first country to extend women the right to vote in 1893, an action that beat every other country by a minimum of nine years with Australia following suit in 1902 and Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland following suit over the next 13 years. 

It was an act that came about after two decades of campaigning by New Zealand women with the help of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (a women's organisation advocating the total abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and all other drugs) who upon noticing that the bulk of the support for moderation came from women, took an active role in supporting the suffrage movement in New Zealand, arguing that "women could bring morality into democratic politics"(via)

It's an harrowing thought to know that there are still so many countries around the world which still do not allow women this fundamental right and that a group of acutely motivated women in the late 1800s could garner a positive result that is ignored and yet-to-be achieved by these countries. 

It impresses me that New Zealand is so forward in so many ways while still being such a sheltered country, steadfast in its beliefs about what this country stands for and what it will and will not allow, regardless of what superpowers try to coerce us into accepting. 

In light of New Zealand's forward-thinking attitude and in celebration of the 120 years of women's suffrage celebration, this infographic below from Statistics NZ highlights the achievements of the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand.

 Image courtesy of  Statistics NZ

Image courtesy of Statistics NZ