I always like to go high on the ramps. When I’m Up There I feel free, like I’m flying. I like that feeling a lot.
In a marvelous tale of simplicity, ingenuity and determination, Australian Oliver Percovich changed the lives of street children on the streets of Kabul and now Cambodia and South Africa. Percovich captured the curiosity of children — many of them selling goods on the streets of Kabul to support their low-income families — as he rolled by on his skateboard.
The nonprofit Skateistan has a much larger goal today of empowering young people, providing a foundation for change and educational opportunities.
Girl Power Gets Flying In Kabul
Young women make up about 45% of Skateistan’s members. These girls are forbidden to ride bicycles and they must wear restrictive clothing for many sport-related activities. My Modern Met writes:
For these girls, this skateboarding initiative not only gives them the chance to go to school, it also allows them to feel a sense of freedom, strength, and that they have a safe haven away from the dangers that they face on a daily basis. Even with their confining clothes, they are able to successfully skateboard, which would explain why this activity is becoming the nation’s #1 sport for women.
Enter now British photographer Jessica Fulford Dobson, who heard about Skateistan and begged to photograph the liberated, airborn girls. After gaining Percovich’s trust, Fulford-Dobson used a discreet style with no artificial lighting to capture the independent spirit and joy of Afghan girls in this stupendous, small project.
The Skate Girls of Kabul exhibition opens at London’t Saatchi Gallery from April 15th-28th. Read a wonderful article by Andrea Alessi for Artslant ‘Afghanistan’s Skater Girls Roll Into the Saatchi Gallery’.
Close To Meeting Goal Of 600 Women Teachers In Burkina Faso, Toni Garrn Heads Soon For Zimbabwe With Plan International
Top model Toni Garrn gets down and detailed with Models.com about her work as an ambassador with Plan International and their efforts towards educating girls throughout the world and specifically Burkina Faso. AOC wrote last November about Toni’s personal connection to the ‘Because I Am A Girl’ project and the fundraiser campaign she launched with German brand Closed denim.
All images by Alique with styling by Maher Jridi, interview by Irene Ojo-Felix, and creative direction by Stephan Moskovic. / Hair by Rita Marmor; makeup by Sir John.
Garrn reports that sales from her Closed denim campaign have already come close to meeting the goal in Burkina Faso of educating now 600 women (the video says 450) for three years to become teachers. 588 somen between 20-25 years old are now being educated.
Following, perhaps, in the footsteps of Naomi Campbell in London, Garrn had a flea market during fashion week.
I’ve been collecting clothes and accessories since I was 14 a lot of it was trade that I got from fashion shows and I put away. I had several suitcases at some point. I just thought I can’t give this away, there has to be a way to make this bigger and get money to help from it. I emailed every model friend I had and I got so much stuff. Kasia Struss, Arlenis Sosa, Karlie, Constance, Rianne Tenhaken, Sigrid, Christy Turlington. Liya gave me some nice pieces of her Lem Lem collection. It’s nice to make room in our NY apartments for a good reason. Spring Studios gave me a space, which is amazing. I steamed and tagged everything for a week and Google-d how much everything was worth in today’s market. In one day, we raised $20,000. People who came said “I wish I had heard about this sooner. I wish I could have given you more” so next time I think I’ll do it for at least 2-3 days.
Toni Garrn In Burkina Faso With Plan International
Garrn is headed for Zimbabwe in August 2015 to start work there with Plan International. And while she believes awareness of problems is important, she is very direct in asking readers to get out the plastic and contribute to becauseiamagirl.ca, plan.de, or planusa.org.
Model, DJ/producer and South Sudanese refugee Mari Malek uses her NYC platform to broadcast information about her nonprofit Stand 4 Education on Models.com. In an in-depth, no fluff interview, Mari Malek reveals information about herself and — more importantly — the dire plight of her people living in South Sudan, a country that gained its independence from Sudan in 2011.
In this series of images by Cliff Watts, Mari Malek is joined by South Sudan sisters Mari Agory, Grace Bol, Rina Kara, Elizabeth Arjok, Nyamouch Girwath, and Nykhor Paul in a visual exploration of their South Sudanese roots, beauty and traditions.
Stand 4 Education’s manifesto is focused on providing education to the women and children of South Sudan and to drum up global awareness for her culture. Education needs to be ubiquitous. “Because education is not only academic, it’s for all aspects of life,” she says.
On the Stand 4 Education website, we learn that South Sudan has the lowest school access rates in the world with a staggering 90% illiteracy rate among women. Less than 2% of girls attend high school, making South Sudan the most illiterate place in the world for girls.
Vice Magazine interviewed Mari Malek in the spring of 2014 as part of an in-depth story Saving South Sudan by Robert Young Pelton. The issue also features portraits by Mike Mellia for a series called ‘Our Side of the Story: South Sudan’. Outside of the fact that everyone is a ‘supermodel’, a misnomer that is a pet peeve of mine, the photos are magnificent.
In her Vice Interview, Malek explains that she was born in Wau, South Sudan. Her father was a minister of finance in the government, and her mother was a nurse. ‘My family was also very large. I have about 20 sisters and brothers. Five of us belonged to my mom and dad, and the rest were my half sisters and brothers. My dad had four wives, and my mom was his third wife, the one who took care of all his children.’
As the violence became worse in South Sudan, Malek’s mother brought her and two sisters to a refugee camp in Egypt in hopes of getting them out of the country.VICE writes:
She eventually emigrated to Newark, New Jersey, living in a low-income housing complex filled with drugs, violence, prostitutes, and other problems that made the transition feel “even scarier than our home in Sudan.”
In an unusually candid comment in her VICE interview, Malek speaks not only of lack of education — and especially for girls with egos — as the major problem in South Sudan.
The other root of the problem is “men with egos.” Our country is the youngest country in the world. Our leaders are inexperienced and running it. I feel like they are running it with their testosterone and egos. The current crisis in South Sudan has been exposed to the media and to the blind as a “tribal war,” when really it is a power struggle between two men who want power for themselves. These men are supposed to be our leaders and our protectors.
Based on very-real, first-hand experience with male ego in this part of the world, I know that the culture of protecting male ego is an epic issue in many parts of Africa. I will say no more, so as not to be incriminating. Please read the articles at Models.com and also on VICE about South Sudan. They are excellent.
Anne of Carversville’s substantial efforts in Sudan have been focused more in Khartoum, trying to stop the brutal flogging of 40,000 women and girls each year. Sudanese law exempts Christians from South Sudan from being flogged, but the barbarians who roam the streets looking for women inappropriately dressed don’t distinguish between Muslim and the rarer Christian women in the country.
Please note that AOC’s sub-heading ‘From fashion to flogging, telling women’s stories’ is not a reference to ‘50 Shades of Grey’. It refers to this dispicable flogging of 40,000 females annually in Sudan, dressed in any way that offends men in charge of their propriety. ~ Anne
it’s interesting that a socially-progressive company like Ben & Jerry’s finds no fault in its marketing strategy that names its celebrity flavors after men. In a brilliantly simple, graphic arts feminist statement by Amanda McCall for Buzzfeed, we see all the strong women and public figures who never warranted inclusion on Ben & Jerry’s we learn the simple truth that of the over 20 celebrity flavors created by Ben & Jerry’s, only two have been women.
Only Tina Fey’s character on 30 Rock and Olympic snowboarder Hannah Teter were honored.
McCall uses the grace, charm and talent of a Good Humour Bar to remind the guys that women buy more ice cream than men do in total. So how about it fellas? Are we ladies just still out of sight, out of mind 50 years after ‘Mad Men’?
Or is feminism and equal rights for women just not a core platform on the male-dominated, liberal-left agenda. It’s not as if all the sexists are Republicans. Amanda has just come up with a brilliant new feminst statement and a situation that women consumers could fix with one quick lick Lysistrata style. If Ben & Jerry’s is a boys club, then let’s take our ice cream money down the rocky road. ~ Anne
I stumbled into this marvelous and original fashion editorial today, a 2013 collaboration between Miami-based photographer Natasha Kertes and Sudanese model Anai Ekalino. ‘The Story of Aquarius’ is an excellent example of AOC’s mission of ‘felling women’s stories, from fashion to flogging’.
The fetching of the water has long been mostly the work of women and children in the developing world. Surveys from 45 developing countries confirm that women and children get the water in 76% of households. Surveys from Africa confirm that women and girls get 90% of the wood and water, devoting up to 6 hrs. each day doing it.
Let me take a few moments to talk about water as a women’s empowerment issue.
Water.org shares these water facts:
Women also struggle most from the lack of adequate sanitation, the often unspoken part of the water and sanitation crisis. The sanitation crisis for women can be summed up in one word: ‘dignity.’ Around the world, fewer than one person in three has access to a toilet. In many countries, it is not acceptable for a woman to relieve herself during the day. They wait hours for nightfall, just to have privacy. This impacts health and puts their safety at risk. About half of all girls worldwide attend schools without toilets. The lack of privacy causes many girls to drop out when they reach puberty.
The dual aspects of the water crisis – lack of water and of sanitation – lock women in a cycle of poverty. They cannot attend school; they cannot earn an income.
Based on the success of women’s microlending, NGOs and philanthropic organizations are working to help women take out small loans for household water connections and toilets, as well as a central well in their community.
Angelina Jolie Has Second Surgery | Jolie's Impact On BRCA Screening Is Huge | Religious-Affiliated Catholic Women Support Contraception Mandate
Angelina Jolie Has Second Surgery
1. Angelina Jolie shared one more reason why she is among the world’s most admired women, writing an op ed in The New York Times about her latest preventive surgery. Two years ago the world star had a double mastectomy after learning that she carries the BRCA1 gene. Angelina Jolie Pitt, the name she used in today’s op ed, had an 87% risk of getting breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer and lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.
Jolie’s recent surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes was always part of her health management plan, but a recent blood test and follow-up medical treatment prompted her to act now.
At the time of her double mastectomy, Jolie wrote: ‘I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.’
In today’s piece, Jolie reached out to women, saying ‘I feel feminine and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer”.
High Impact on Women’s Health
2. In 2014 Dr. Harold Burstein from the Harvard Medical School shared news of Angelina’s impact on women getting checked for BRCA mutations. Calling her first op-ed ‘a model of medical writing’, Dr. Burstein referred to a study at the University of Toronto that examined both an increase in medical screenings and whether the subjects were medically appropriate candidates or just nervous nellies.
Focusing on their own populations in Toronto, the doctors concluded that the number of BRCA! and BRCA2 screenings doubled as a result of her op ed. The candidates for the screenings were ABSOLUTELY women who should be screened. A secondary effect was a strong increase in physician referrals by doctors influenced by the Jolie effect, health workers who probed more deeply into women’s medical histories.
Gender Pay Gap In Nursing
3. Only 7-10% of nurses are male, but a new study of 290.000 registered nurses found that a pay gap had not narrowed within traditional workplace nursing or specialty nursing from 1988 to 2013.
Researchers concluded that male nurses make $5,100 more on average than female colleagues in similar positions. male cardiology nurses on average were paid $6,000 more. Among nurse anesthetists, where men represent 40% of the population, they were paid $17,200 more on average than female nurse anesthetists.
Religious Women On Contraception Mandate
4. Conservative and religious men have led a relentless onslaught against the contraception mandate — covering access to birth control as part of women’s health coverage under Obamacare.
Women’s voices haven’t been heard in any significant way on the subject, particularly because the charge was led by the Catholic Church where women have little influence.
Elizabeth Patton, an OB/GYN and health-services researcher at the University of Michigan decided to talk to women who self-identify with a religious entity such as a hospital, university or even a secretary to the male leader screaming the loudest.
Catholic women — including nuns— support the contraception mandate. 63% of Catholic affiliated women, second only to 66% of Protestant affiliated women, reports the Public Religion Research Institute. What the cardinals and priests are saying doesn’t at all reflect the thinking of the women.
The women who were most likely to say they opposed the mandate were from conservative-leaning denominations, such as Baptists, non-denominational Christians, Pentecostals, and Mormons. Fewer than 50 percent of these women supported the mandate.
AA Under the Microscope
5. The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous by Gabrielle Glaser for The Atlantic
Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.