In todays show I was joined by 4 extraordinary young women. What can I say, I was blessed. They took me on a whirlwind tour of what it is like to grow up female and all the things that happen and matter to them. I probably spoke way too much but by the 2nd half of the show everyone was feeling much more comfortable with expressing how they felt and we could have gone on for another hour!
Before you do anything in life, be sure of yourself because when you are unsure of you, you will be unsure of what you are
going to do next.
Wise words from Sarah
Erin is the leader of the social justice team and shared with us the details of the International Womens Day event they had been celebrating that morning at school.
They had Mahboba Rawi, the founder of Mahboba’s Promise. As a young individual, Mahboba joined campaigns to fight for her rights to education, however, she was forced to flee Kabul because of the threat of imprisonment. She walked for several days to reach from one country to another to flee persecution. She later married and moved to Australia. It was the tragedy of losing her son in 1992 in Kiama at the Blowhole that triggered her desire to fight for the basic rights for children and women. Since then she has been successful in raising money and awareness for the girls of Afghanistan. With the help of her friend she was able to build the first school ever in Panjshir Valley, and also in the process of building another 12 schools around the region.
It is this school, Abdara Girls High that has become Erin and Ying Ying's sister school.
- Celebrating mothers
- Studying - what next
- What is admired and what is not when it comes to role models
- Society and family expectations
- How words can load with expectation
- Disparity of pay and respect in media
- Pressure from friends and impact of social media
- What's with that word 'Make-up'?!!
Family expectations to have a boyfriend or partner to be complete or happy were clearly prevalent and an irritant. One of the comments made about adults relationships is that they felt they wanted to show us that you could be successful and happy without needing a man.
YingYing brought a delicate depth to the conversation when we talked about the difference between what is on the inside and what is on the outside. Make up can work on the outside but if what you don't like about yourself is coming from the inside make up is not going to work with that. She was adamant all the way through that we are ALL beautiful on the inside but as we discussed, the temptation to go into comparison does not celebrate that. Her quotes, and there were many :-) are ones to be treasured.
- We can now vote
- We can now speak without getting permission
- We can work
- We can go into bars
- We can wear trousers
- We can choose to express ourselves through our clothes
When I listened back to this section and I type up the list, there are many things we don't touch on but I realised how, as much as we talk about appreciating how far we have come, how insane is it that there was any separation in the first place? Completely illogical which is probably why Erin felt so cross about it. We were all right with her on that.
We spoke about the disparities that are still out there
- Respect for the work we do - women are far more likely to be interviewed in the media about their family life, relationship, looks, personal aspects. Top business women will be asked how they do it all. Actresses will have to discuss who did their hair or whose clothes they are wearing. Julia Guillard's experience of Prime Minister is a perfect example of how the media dealt with reporting about a woman in politics. There are many articles showing the ludicrous nature of the questions she faced compared to any male prime minister.
- The lack of equality in pay which presumed a number of outdated societal presumptions about our future plans.
- The loaded words that we are tagged with from young that make presumptions about job choices and acceptable behaviours.
- The need to be beautiful to have worth.
- Different shapes at different times have had 'value' and we seem to be striving to morph to keep up with that value at times. (not that I felt this group fell into that trap any more - they seemed to have wised up to it).
There is always the stark realisation that what we take as normal others don't and vice versa. Equal is equal and the tenets of respect and choice is for all.
God / our mother and father made us a certain way,
accept you are beautiful
with their traits
Wise words from Ying Ying
- Showing that you are giving back and getting involved in the community.
- Resting not always doing.
- Demonstrating that you can be independent.
- Doing things for yourself and not feeling guilty about it.
Beauty comes from within
Wise words from Ying Ying
There is so much pressure to get this right... the right photo and knowing the rules. It you don't get 20 likes in 20 minutes, take it down - although this time limit was shrunk to 5 likes in 5 minutes during the discussion! There were even tactics soon how to get support from friends over the photos posted!
A real sense of empowerment came from them all about how to claim themselves with things like clothes and make up. In fact make up was quite a hot topic - what is with that name 'Make-up'. It can be used to make yourself more attractive and appealing but they all agreed that as they got older they fell for that illusion less and less and reclaimed its use for themselves. As Sarah said "Make-up is fun" they all talked about not needing it to make up for anything but to help them express themselves.
You is smart,
you is kind,
you is important
Wise words from June via The Help
It is important to trust the little things you do in life can have enormous effect on another. Giving their sisters in Afghanistan an education means
changing things in a big way for generations to come.
Wise words from Erin