Month: May 2015

POEM: Phenomenal Woman

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By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

28 Most Inspiring Women Who Changed The World

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You don’t need to be in a specific field to change the world. your background, family status, people’s perception and all that doesn’t matter, you can stand and be who you want to be and cross that boundary to make a change. here are some of the inspiring women, I call them legends who took a step and made a change;

 1. “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank (1929-1945)


During her stay in Netherlands while hiding from the German forces, Anne Frank, a young jewish girl, was gifted a diary by her father when she was 13. However, her diary was published after her death in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15. The diary served as a unique eye-witness account of life during Holocaust (mass murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II) and it became one of the world’s most read books.

2. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa (1910-1997)


 by williamcarter
Mother Teresa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner (1979), aimed at looking after those who had nobody to look after them through her own order “The Missionaries of Charity”. She worked tirelessly towards her goal until her ill-health – that included two heart attacks, pneumonia and malaria – forced her to step down in March 1997, following which she took her last breath in September 1997.

3. “In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.” – Aung Sang Suu Kyi (1945)


Burmese opposition politician Suu Kyi was under house arrest for 15 years for her pre-democracy campaigning. She only gained release in 2010 following an international campaign to let her free. She won a nobel prize in 1991 where it was said that “Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades.”.

4. “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match. It would ruin the women’s tour and affect all women’s self esteem.” – Billie Jean King (1943)


Billie Jean King, the US tennis legend and the winner of 20 wimbledon titles, famously beat Bobby Riggs in 1973 for a $100,000 prize in “The Battle of the sexes” after he said to her that men were superior athletes.

5. “Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.” – Diana (1961-1997), Princess of Wales


Princess Diana was a well-loved “people’s princess”. She devoted her life to charity work; she led a nobel Peace Prize-winning campaign to ban landmines.

6. “Democracy is the best revenge.” – Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007)


She was the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (1993-1996) and the first woman to head a Muslim state. During her leadership, she ended military dictatorship in her country and fought for women rights. She was assassinated in a suicide attack in 2007.

7. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey (1954)


Oprah, a generous Philanthropist, who is today worth billions as a famous US talk show host and a media proprietor, was born to a poor single mother in Mississippi.

8. “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” – Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)


The lady with the lamp”, Florence Nightingale, nursed wounded soldiers during the Crimean war. Her passion and dedication to the profession changed public’s perception about this profession. Her insistence on improving sanitary conditions for the patients is believed to have saved many lives.

9. “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” – Madonna (1958)

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Madonna has achieved an unprecedented level of power and control for a woman in the entertainment industry. She has sold more than 300 million records of her music and she has turned her hands to songwriting, acting, film-directing and producing, fashion designing and writing children’s books.

10. “Each coming together of man and wife, even if they have been mated for many years, should be a fresh adventure; each winning should necessitate a fresh wooing.” – Marie Stopes (1880-1958)


The british scientist Marie Stopes is best known for her achievements in the fields of birth control and sex education in the 20th century. She publicly addressed romantic and sexual happiness in a marriage, thereby, breaking many barriers in the society.

11. “Fashion is not frivolous. It is a part of being alive today.” – Mary Quant (1934)


Mary Quant was an influential fashion designer and she shaped the image of the swinging sixties. She was credited for creating the mini-skirt and hot pants.

12. “If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.” – Kathryn Bigelow (1951)


Kathryn Bigelow, a US director, is the first ever woman to win an academy award for a war film, she won an award for The Hurt locker.

13. “Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)


Amelia Earhart was the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932 and she became the first woman pilot in 1935 after flying solo from Hawaii to California. She embarked upon her lifelong dream of flying across the world in 1937, however, her flight went missing on that trip and she was never seen again.

14. “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” – Coco Chanel (1883-1971)


Chanel was a daughter to a laundrywoman and a market stall holder. Before becoming one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever seen, she was a club singer and a hat maker.

15. “Nobody in Europe will be abandoned. Nobody in Europe will be excluded. Europe only succeeds if we work together.” – Angela Merkel (1954)


Angela Merkel was appointed as the Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and she happens to be the first female chancellor presiding over the most powerful European economy.

16. “You gotta have style. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it you’re nobody. And I’m not talking about a lot of clothes.” – Diana Vreeland (1903-1989)


Diana Vreeland was a great influence in the world of fashion in the 20th century. She worked as a columnist and editor for Harper’s Bazaar from 1937 to 1962 and for Vogue from 1963 to 1971.

17. “Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit.” – Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965)


Helena Rubinstein emigrated to Australia in 1902 without any money or the ability to speak in english. Thereafter, she founded one of the world’s first cosmetic companies after mixing lanolin, the grease found in merino sheep wool with scented flowers. Following that she became the world’s richest woman in process at the time.

18. “You can bind my body, tie my hands, govern my actions: you are the strongest, and society adds to your power; but with my will, sir, you can do nothing.” – George Sand (1804-1876)


George Sand, a 19th century French novelist and essayist was a socialist. She ‘shocked’ the high society circles by wearing male clothing in public. As a socialist, she started her own newspaper that was published in workers’ co-operative.

19. “If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)


Margaret Thatcher was loved and hated equally for some of her controversial policies but she never gave up. She was known as the ‘Iron lady’ for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. From being a grocer’s daughter to graduating from Oxford University to becoming a bannister, she went on to becoming Britain’s first and to date, only female Prime Minister elected in 1979 and the country’s fifth longest serving leader.

20. “We are here not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers.” – Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928)


Emmeline, a passionate feminist, was an influential women’s activist who fought along with her husband for the rights of the women in late 19th century and early 20th century. After she lost her husband, she teamed up with her three daughters and formed ‘The Women’s Social and Political Union’ – best known as the suffragettes (women’s right to vote).

21. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K Rowling (1965)


Breaking through the trap of poverty until she finished writing her first book for the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has now sold 400 million copies worldwide. She went on from living on state benefits in the UK to becoming a multi-millionaire after her book’s success in a matter of five years.

22. “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)


Katherine Hepburn was known for playing strong-willed women in her film roles. She won four academy awards for Best actress, the most an actress has ever won. Her unconventional non-conformist, masculine style choices made wearing trousers acceptable to women, which was largely considered a taboo at that time.

23. “A large part of the present anxiety to improve the education of girls and women is also due to the conviction that the political disabilities of women will not be maintained.” – Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929)


Millicent Fawcett dedicated her life to peacefully fighting for women’s rights but she remained an underrated leader of the suffrage movement (campaign for women to have the vote). She encouraged her politician husband Henry Fawcett to carry on with his work after he was blinded in an accident.

24. “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” – Queen Elizabeth II (1926)


Queen Elizabeth has ruled over the United Kingdom for 60 years now and has presided over the country through some of the most turbulent times.
25. “I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.” – Rosa Parks (1913-2005)

Also know as “the first lady of civil rights”, the African-American Rosa Parks was a pioneer of civil rights in a racially segregated Alabama in 1950s. In 1955, she refused to give away her seat to a white passenger in a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, thereby, disobeying the bus driver’s orders. This act of hers sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott that crippled the state capital’s public transport system.

26. “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.” – Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)


Indira Gandhi served India as the Prime Minister for 15 years. She paved the way for democracy in India until her assassination in 1984.

27. “The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)

Apart from being among the world’s best known actresses, Audrey Hepburn put her fame into good use later in life and she became a UNICEF Ambassador. She travelled to various countries such as Ethiopia, Ecuador and Bangladesh to highlight various issues and set a great example for subsequent stars to follow.

28. “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie (1867-1934)


The famously known “Madame Curie”, a Polish-French physicist and chemist, was the first person to have received two Nobel Prizes. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris and the first lady to be enshrined in France’s national mausoleum, the Paris Panthéon, all based on her own merits.

                                                   well, it can be you because a woman can be.                                                            


The hidden aspects of women’s poverty

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by Claudia Vinay,

Policy Specialist on Economic Empowerment, Gender Team, UNDP

A Hmong woman and her child in VietNam. According to UN Women, women do two and a half times as much unpaid work as men, including caring for children, the elderly and the ill. Photo: Kibae Park/UN

“Let’s make the invisible visible.”

This statement, by Argentina Minister of Social Development Alicia Kirchner, captured a recurrent theme at the global conference on women and social inclusion, recently co-hosted by UNDP in Buenos Aires. Despite the gains that women have made over the past decades, there are still too many factors affecting women’s lives that are not recognized in public policies. Unless they are addressed, efforts to eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development will fall short.

Topping this list is the substantial amount of unpaid work that women do throughout the world, in countries both rich and poor. According to a recent UN Women report, women do almost two and a half times as much unpaid care work as men, from caring for children, the elderly and the ill to preparing meals and gathering water and fuel for cooking. But despite this daily reality that women know all too well, official measures of poverty don’t take into account either the time women spend on unpaid work or the money they might spend to “outsource” this work – such as to arrange childcare so they can go to work.

If these factors were recognized and included in poverty measurements, many more women would be classified as poor, pointed out Ajit Zacharias of the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College at the conference. He called these women the “hidden poor.” In fact, a five-country study conducted by the Levy Institute found that the gap in poverty estimates could be as high as 11 percentage points.  Recognizing the cost of these constraints on women’s ability to get out of poverty is the first step toward developing policies to reduce and redistribute them.

We also need a greater recognition of the disproportionate number of women working in the informal sector, often in vulnerable jobs without social protection. In Nigeria, for example, the many women working in the informal sector, mostly in agriculture and small-scale trading, are not accounted for, noted Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a Member of Parliament in Nigeria. “These women are not recognized and have no access to credit,” she said. “They are working for subsistence, when they could be doing it to grow their businesses. Let’s have a framework that will make it easier for these women to have access to credit. If we can make the informal become formal, it can be a major source of economic and national development.”

There is also a need to bring more attention in policy making to women’s experiences and contributions in conflict and crisis situations and in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.

We at UNDP welcome the inclusion of a specific goal on gender equality in the new Sustainable Development Goals expected to be adopted by the General Assembly in September, but call for more work to ensure that these “hidden” issues holding back women, and development progress overall, are addressed and supported with specific indicators for measuring progress in the development goals.

I am (wo)man

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Story by Faidade, Helen and Carolina to EmpowerWomen in I am (wo)man Campaign. 

“As a company led by three women, economic empowerment has mean different and important chapters in the life of each of us.In one hand, it means the culmination of a lifelong goal, which I (Faidide), always focused to achieve not only economic strength, but internal strengthening as a woman. For Helen, the difference is overcoming past stigmas and to lead by example that we can be young, hardworking and still have a life partner and be happy; that a female entrepreneur has all the tools to work with in various aspects of her professional and personal life without one excluding one or the other. For Carolina, it’s the start of something bigger for her life.

There are no limits for us as women, and economic empowerment is just one of the many things we can accomplish with hard work and unity.

In Costa Rica, there are two threats to economic empowerment for women. The first are the extend formalities for any company in order to function, limited by bureaucracy. Second, there is the mentality impregnated within our society, where often its women who put obstacles in front of herself from reaching her goals and achieve the economic empowerment.

Economic empowerment for women entrepreneurs today is increasingly a reality thanks to efforts of different organizations in Latin America, such as WEConnect, where valuable tools for companies led by women and empower you to provide in order to grow, and not just immediate but to expand globally.

Women, have much to bring to the world but we cannot limit ourselves; there will always be obstacles in front of us but we must make change happen. If so, we can achieve anything and in a few years, Costa Rica could be a leader in developing opportunities and tools for women entrepreneurs. We just have to believe.” 


How to Be a Strong Independent Woman

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Being a strong, independent woman doesn’t necessarily require that you be a die-hard feminist. Rather, it means learning to express who you are at your core, whether you are shy and soft-spoken or loud and assertive, without trying to fit a certain mold implied by your being a female.

  • Stand up for yourself. Whether you are a man or a woman, you will have to learn to fend for yourself in the real world if you want to avoid being taken advantage of. You must learn how to stand up for yourself at school, at work, and in your social life.
  • Stay educated. Being educated not only gives you the skills and knowledge you will need to pursue your career, it also makes you more well-respected by the people you encounter in your life. Your level of education (whether formal or informal) reflects your intelligence and shows others that you care about things other than your own personal life.
  •  Don’t compare yourself to other women. While there is nothing wrong with having a female role model to look up to, constantly feeling jealous of other women will leave you feeling horrible about yourself. Though jealousy is natural to some degree, western society tends to exacerbate female jealousy through advertisements and films that feature unrealistic standards of beauty. The result is a culture of women who feel insecure and unhappy with their own bodies.
  • Manage your finances. If you want to be truly independent, you must learn how to pay for your own life so that you don’t have to rely on other people. Spend your money wisely, and avoid wasteful or frivolous expenditures. Prioritize your spending. Your top priorities should be on your basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. Things like expensive clothes, concerts, and vacations are luxuries. Learn how to differentiate between necessities and luxuries.Check your bank statements regularly, and be sure to keep your own records as well so that you can catch errors.
  • Protect your sexuality. Every woman, at one point or another, encounters a man who wants to take advantage of her sexually. It is important to learn both how and when to say no to a man who is making unwelcome advances on you.
  • Don’t base your happiness on being in a relationship. Having a man (or woman) to love should enhance your life, not define it. No matter how bad you may think you need a relationship, you must first learn to love yourself before you can even begin to love somebody else.If you are already in a relationship, be sure you have other things going on in your life outside of the relationship, whether it is school, work, friends, a fitness routine, or your family.
  • Don’t feel obligated to follow fashion trends. Being an independent woman means dressing the way you want, regardless of what people around you are telling you to wear. Use fashion as a way to express your mood, your taste, and your creativity.
  • Give to others. One of the best ways you can exert your strength is to give back to those who are less fortunate than you. You don’t have to be rich or affluent to make a positive impact in your community, so start small.

5 Inspiring Quotes From Nobel-Winner Malala Yousafzai

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By Zoe Henry

This teen activist will motivate you to make a difference in the world. Malala Yousafzai nabbed the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Friday, making her the youngest recipient of the coveted award. The 17-year-old shared the prize with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Yousafzai has been advocating for Pakistani women and children since the age of 11, when she documented in a BBC blog life in the Swat Valley under Taliban rule during a time when girls in the region were prohibited from going to school. A Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai in the face in October 2012 for her views on female education. She narrowly survived the ordeal and received intensive care in England. Last year, she spoke at the UN headquarters–demanding worldwide access to education–and also published her first book: I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, in collaboration with British journalist Christina Lamb. In honor of Yousafzai’s commitment to international education for women and children, here are five quotes to inspire you to go out and make a change in the world today:

  1. “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.” –From a speech given to the UN Youth Assembly, just nine months after her attempted assassination.
  2. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” –From a speech at Harvard in September 2013.
  3. “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” –From a speech at Harvard in September 2013.
  4. “I believe it’s a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear and if a woman can go to the beach and wear nothing, then why can’t she also wear everything?” –From an exclusive interview with The Guardian’s Kamila Shamsie. Yousafzai opened up about her thoughts regarding the burqa conversation in the UK.
  5. “If he [the Talib] comes, what would you do Malala? …If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there will be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others…with cruelty…you must fight others but through peace, through dialogue and through education…then I’ll tell him [the Talib] how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well… that’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.” –In a Daily Show interview. Yousafzai’s comments left Jon Stewart speechless, and prompted him to ask if he could adopt her.

9 Style Rules Every Working Woman Should Follow

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By Kat Collings

Every office is different, but we think these hard-and-fast fashion rules are applicable to almost any workplace setting. Go ahead and check out our handy wardrobe guide to ensure you’re not the reason HR is sending out that dress code refresher.

Rule 1: Your neckline should never be lower than 4 inches below your collarbone.

9 Style Rules Every Working Woman Should Follow

Rule 2: Sleeveless tops should extend to the edges of your shoulders. No spaghetti straps allowed!

Rule 3: When in doubt, wear pumps.

Related: 5 Things You Can Do Now to Start Dressing Better at Work

Rule 4: Jeans necessitate more formal pairings, like a blazer and smart oxfords.

Rule 5: Make sure all items are pressed and as wrinkle-free as possible.

Rule 6: Don’t go overboard with print mixing. A subtle stripe and floral is on point.

Rule 7: If you wear a slightly sheer top, make sure to top it with a blazer. Wear a camisole underneath to be extra safe.

Related: What Your Interview Outfit REALLY Says About You

Rule 8: The safest hemline is at the knee. Never go shorter than a few inches above the knee.

Rule 9: If you want to wear a bold piece like printed pants, balance it with polished items, like a crisp white blouse.