Month: June 2015

How women contribute $3 trillion to global healthcare

Posted on Updated on

By Maria Goddard

Registered Nurse Rebecca Moak poses for a photo in trauma center of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013. Mississippi is one of at least 20 states that has decided not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, better known as "Obamacare". REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman  (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR3FLS4

The traditional focus on women’s health tends to emphasize only their healthcare needs. But women are important providers – as much as they are recipients – of healthcare in their homes and wider communities. This involvement is undervalued economically, politically and culturally.

Data analysed from 32 countries, constituting about 52% of the world’s population, and reported in the Lancet Commission on Women and Health, shows that women contribute around US$3 trillion in healthcare annually. The report is the culmination of three years work and represents an important milestone in the consideration of some of the key issues affecting women and their role in society.

Huge economic contribution

Women play a vital role in the global healthcare workforce as nurses, midwives, community health workers and doctors. In some countries 90% of nurses are women. Although they are still less likely than men to reach senior positions in healthcare professions, in some countries (such as the UK), women now predominate in terms of medical school intake. This does not, however, translate to equality in terms of those who go on to practice medicine once trained, nor equality in pay.

The report also documents the vital role that women play in healthcare that goes unpaid. This includes contributions made by women and children to giving care in the home. An ageing population, living longer but experiencing chronic diseases, means a larger demand for care, much of which is traditionally provided by women and children.

Such informal care responsibilities, while enhancing the care provided to individuals and making significant savings in the formal care sector, can impact caregivers in a number of ways. As well as affecting their own health, it can also hinder their ability to take up educational, employment and social opportunities.

Valuing the input of unpaid labour is certainly not straightforward but the commission undertook detailed research to “value the invaluable”. They estimate that women’s unpaid contributions equate to 2.35% of global GDP, with a large variation around this depending on assumptions made about wage rates and other factors.

This worldwide picture is reflected in the UK, where the informal care sector is dominated by women, with similar effects on their health and employment options. Just in terms of the ageing population, the demand for unpaid care is substantial.

In England, about 1.4m older people with disabilities living in their own homes currently receive unpaid care. Plus there are predictions that the demand for this care will rise sharply and a growing “care gap” will emerge in terms of the availability of unpaid carers.

As welfare cuts in both health and social care sectors in many European countries are implemented over the next few years, it is likely that these demands will only intensify.

Women’s health

The report also analyses the health status of women worldwide over the course of their life times. It focuses on the shifting burden of disease and illustrates that while there have been important advances in priority areas such as maternal and reproductive health, there is still some way to go.

Deaths from communicable diseases and maternal, perinatal and nutritional disorders decreased by about 20% between 2000 and 2013. But there are still big variations across the world and in the ten most fragile countries (mainly in sub-Saharan Africa) deaths from these largely preventable conditions account for two-thirds of the 3m neonatal deaths and 60% of all maternal deaths.

The commission also broadens the focus beyond traditional concerns that relate to reproductive health, to consider the entire life-course of women. It concludes that more attention to chronic disease and non-communicable disease is required as conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes and mental health disorders are now the leading causes of death and disability for women in almost all countries.

The position of women in society has a major impact on their access to healthcare and chances of avoiding or managing these health conditions.

Why women?

It is worth noting that choosing to focus specifically on gender to categorise health status is not universally accepted as the best analytical approach. Particularly by those who see the complex interplay between a range of determining factors (such as socioeconomic status, race, geography) as being far more important for an in-depth understanding of health and health inequalities.

The authors recognise this issue in part by referring to policies that have improved overall healthcare. But they contend that the shifting demographic, social, political and environmental arena presents specific and complex challenges to women which require targeted rather than general measures. For instance, by ensuring that the political and cultural barriers to accessing healthcare by women are recognised.

The commission also makes suggestions for acting on their findings. Their solutions look at the role of women more broadly in society. They also suggest specific policies to address education, access to healthcare, workforce and remuneration policies, as well as changes to the way in which statistics and research studies account for women.

It seems very appropriate that rather than focusing only on things that can be done for women, there is a need to empower them. In recognition of the huge amount women contribute towards care giving, it makes sense that women who themselves are healthy contribute to a “virtuous circle” of health.

The authors make the case that those who experience gender equality and are valued in their societies, are best placed to make a substantial contribution to their own health and well-being, as well as that of their communities. As Kofi Annan once said:

When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article


How to Style Mixed Texture Hair

Posted on Updated on


How to Style Mixed Texture Hair

Curly hair can be challenging to style, especially if you have waves and spirals of all kinds on one head. Can’t they just cooperate? We asked Ron Williams, national educator for Phyto, for tips to handle the situation. “The most important thing is to know you have options: Wearing it curly, blowing it straight, or wearing protective styles,” says Williams. Multi-textured mavens, help is on the way.

Try pre-treating: Williams says pre-treating is a great step before cleansing. “If you have more fine hair, you might opt to use a lighter cleanser and pre-treat the hair with an oil like Phyto PhytoSpecific Baobab Oil ($40) to lock in hydration without adding weight,” says Williams. “The hair will already be saturated, so the shampoo won’t weigh it down. Then, use a lightweight conditioner for fine hair and/or a heavier conditioner for coarser curls and waves.”

Hydration is vital: Curly and wavy hair is thirsty, so keep it hydrated. “Moisture is key, and you need constant hydration: Weekly treatments, hydrating conditioners and cleansers, and daily hydrating styling products to ensure your hair stays supple and healthy.” Jane Carter Quench ($10) is a great everyday option to nourish your strands.

Work with your dominant curl pattern: Although there is no secret weapon product (trial and error is part of life for curly girls,) you can get there faster. “When you have multiple textures, it’s important to discover the dominant texture and curl pattern on your head,” says Williams. “That way, instead of multiple products, you can use one hydrating styling product for all your hair, but just use more in thicker sections and less in finer areas.”

Learn to love the leave-in: “I like lightweight leave-in products for mixed texture hair, whether your hair is coarse or fine. A product that can detangle and hydrate without adding weight trumps using multiple products.” Bumble & bumble Quenching Complex ($35) works magic on all textured tresses.

Marry the curls: Williams says you can create the illusion that your curls are the same texture. “You can expand tighter curls by setting them on wider rods, and diffusing larger curls will help them keep their shape creating the look that all the curls are the same size.”

Fight the frizz: Humidity is on its way, so beat it before it starts. “The only way to fight frizz is to keep your hair hydrated at all times and to use a styling product with silicones that creates a seal on the hair to lock airborne moisture out,” says Williams.

Fighting for justice, for all

Posted on Updated on

WOA Uganda Florence EN As a youngster, she was often at her father’s side, discussing current affairs and the evening news. Her father would ask her to give him a recap of the evening news, and she wouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to show her knowledge, especially in a world that often ignored the visually impaired. Florence Ndagire became the first visually impaired lawyer in Uganda, a country that though modern in many ways, does not often create educational curricula and materials for the visually impaired. She broke through several barriers and serves as a role model for many, including those with disabilities. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Union of Women with Disabilities Uganda and also as the Chair of the Regional Civil Society Advisory Group for East Africa, which provides guidance to UN Women. In one of her nightly news sessions with her father, she listened to an interview with former Chief Justice, Francis Ayume, who spoke about human rights so passionately that it inspired her to become a lawyer. She decided to champion human rights for all people, especially those with disabilities. This decision shaped Ndagire’s life and brought challenges including being ridiculed for her sightlessness. Her mother was accused of being ‘cursed’ and bringing misfortune to the clan for bringing her into this world. Her parents’ unwavering support got Ndagire through those tough years. They raised her with the same encouragement they gave to their other children, all of whom were born with their sight. Ndagire received a government scholarship to study law. The only visually impaired law student out of 450 students, she became frustrated with the lack of materials the university gave her, and could not afford the expensive equipment she so desperately needed to begin her long journey to become the human rights advocate she knew she could be. Eventually, a missionary group bought her a laptop that could read out written materials, which helped bridge the learning gap between Ndagire and other students. Working throughout law school despite her education being sponsored by a local priest, she provided cleaning services for the local church and bided her time until she could graduate and start her path towards justice and equality for all in 2008. She is a role model for many, even outside of her legal work. Ndagire climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2010 to raise funds for children with disabilities through a local charity, and managed to climb up to 3,850 metres, 850 metres above the point where many stop due to mountain sickness, brought on by high altitude. Defying public perception of the visually impaired, Florence Ndagire continues to push boundaries, including how to improve the rights of people with disabilities. How do you think being visually impaired has impacted you? I went to an integrated school as a child – one with children with and without special needs. It was a boarding school, but I learned how to be independent there. Once I got to law school, I didn’t let anything stop me. I was the Minister for Disability at my law school, and graduated and competed with other students. I represented Uganda in the inaugural African Youth Forum in Entebbe, Uganda in 2010, and that compelled me to keep rushing towards my dreams. There are, unfortunately, many things I can’t do on my own, such as crossing the street or reading a newspaper. But my sense of hearing and smell compensate for this! But I have never allowed my blindness to make me feel inferior. Both my mother and father also never made me feel different from my siblings. Now I am a mother of two children under the age of five, and that has its own day-to-day struggles, but I am managing it with the supportive help of my husband. Did you work for law firms after you graduated from law school? Yes, I tried working for law firms after graduating, but it was not easy. My goal was to fight for human rights in whatever capacity I could. In 2009, I got a job as an advocacy officer with the Uganda Society for Disabled Children and in 2012, I moved to Light for Blind [an NGO] where I currently work. I was also granted a fellowship at the Open Society Foundation in the U.K. to study the legal system further. What do you consider the greatest barrier to success for people with disabilities? Attitude! Attitude! And this is not just for persons with disabilities, this is for all. I always tell people that they must do what they need to do if they are to succeed. The moment you start thinking that you cannot do something because of whatever reason, this is when you start encountering self-imposed barriers. My parents were very empowering and they did not treat me in a special way and this helped me to consider myself as able to do what my siblings could do. However, there is a need for policies to be put in place that take care of the interests of people with special needs. For instance, if I did not get the support I got from Mill Hill Missionaries, I might not have been able to do my law degree. What would your message be for women and girls today? Again, attitude! Attitude! You must believe that you can do something in order to do it. There is no room for self-imposed barriers here! Source:


The Beijing Platform for Action Turns 20

Hellen Dausen, Nuya’s Essence

Posted on

by Patricia Egessa SLA SLAyer in Chief

From Modeling to Skin Care Products

Hellen Dausen is restoring the glow to people’s skin through her natural bath and body care brand – Nuya’s Essence. The Tanzania-based startup creates handmade skin care products that are inspired by nature. It targets individuals that love to give their skin a treat without worrying about the chemical components of the products they use. The company, which sources its raw materials from different African countries, aims to provide its clients with authentic products that make them look and feel good. I caught up with the Tanzanian Motherland Mogul in the making to talk about her journey and her brand.

 Finding herself and inspiration

In 2010, Hellen obtained a B.Sc. degree in International Business Administration with a concentration on entrepreneurship from the United States International University in Nairobi. At the time, she had no idea what type of business she wanted to get into. As a student, she also pursued modeling – a dream that she had had since childhood. Upon graduation, she participated in the 2010 Miss Universe Tanzania beauty pageant and won. As part of her prize package, she received a scholarship to study performing arts at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. While there, she trained for film acting and on stage performance.

 The entertainment industry is cutthroat and difficult to break into, especially in LA. Booking quality acting and modeling roles is particularly daunting for minorities. Hellen had a hard time getting jobs in the ultra competitive industry. As much as she wanted to pursue her dreams she found it increasingly hard to concentrate on them. She felt like she had reached a dead end. “I was stuck and discouraged by the fact that I couldn’t do modeling and acting anymore,” Hellen said. She took a 4-month hiatus to think about her future. “Those four months were really about finding myself,” she added. Although she didn’t come up with a clear action plan, she moved back to Tanzania. “I was OK leaving America knowing that I did my best,” said Hellen. Without a viable plan on the table, she decided to apply for regular 9 to 5 jobs. She went for interviews half-heartedly as she knew deep down that she didn’t want to work for anyone. “The people who interviewed me could tell I was just not interested,” she said.

 Hellen’s predicament is one that is familiar to many of us. At different stages of our lives, we each find ourselves seeking our life’s passion and purpose. Hellen’s light-bulb moment came one night as she was applying baobab oil on herself. She thought that it was absurd to be using natural oil after showering with soap that contained chemical elements. It was then that she came up with the idea of making an all natural soap to go with the oil. “I went online and researched ‘how to make soaps,’” she said. “I saw amazing soaps that people were making out there that weren’t available in Tanzania.” From her preliminary research, she concluded that making soaps was something she would enjoy doing.

 Building the brand

Coming up with an idea is one thing. Turning it into a business is another. It’s an overwhelming process that can be navigated by taking practical steps. For Hellen, this entailed the acquisition of soap making skills. While doing her research, she came across a Malaysian lady who not only had a company that specialized in natural handmade bath and body products, but also trained people in the art. Hellen contacted the fourteen-year skin care product-making veteran and arranged to fly to Malaysia to be taught by her. She learnt how to make soap, hair shampoo and conditioner. In addition, the lady gave her pointers on running a business.

Hellen, who is now a certified organic skin care formulator, constantly works to expand her skills through research and taking online classes. By so doing, she has been able to teach herself how to make other bath and body care products. She knows that she has to stay on top of her game to not only meet her clients demands but also be able to grow her brand. When the company initially launched in June 2014, it primarily made soaps. “Clients made me want to create another line,” said Hellen who fell in love with making soaps. Her brand has now branched out to include lotions, body butters, scrubs, shampoos and conditioners.


Upon her return from Malaysia, Hellen’s father gave her a small structure in the backyard of their house for her to use for production purposes. She invested her savings in transforming the space into a suitable soap making plant. After this was done, she was informed that she had to get approval for the structure from the authorities. Based on her research, small-batch natural product companies in other countries didn’t require approval. “I thought it was the same in Tanzania,” she said. Hellen immediately contacted the authorities who inspected the facility and refused to approve it. “They said it was not up to standard,” she said. The authorities didn’t understand that it was not an industrial manufacturing facility but instead a space for handmaking soap in small batches. In the end, she had to demolish it and in the process lost all the money that she had invested in it. “It broke my heart then,” she said. “It really broke me – I didn’t know if I could get up from that.”

The business building process unfortunately comes with such happenings. As Mark Cuban said, “Failure is part of the success equation.” Hellen was able to bounce back from that initial setback. Thanks to her parents support and generosity, she secured a godown that she then transformed into a desirable working space. This time the authorities approved it. Before leaving Malaysia, Hellen had ordered inventory for her company to be shipped to Tanzania through an agent. She had also bought raw materials to use in her initial soap production from Kariakoo – one of Tanzania’s biggest markets. She used these to start her business off and fill the customers’ orders she already had as she waited for her shipment to arrive. Then the agent messed up and she lost her entire inventory order. His failure to deliver on his business commitment set Nuya’s Essence back several months. “It took a toll on the business and our clients,” said Hellen.

 Hellen’s can-do attitude and persistence, coupled with the constant positive feedback from her clients prevented her from giving up. “I am meant to do this,” she said. “I had to go on no matter what.” It is after the incident with the agent that she decided to relocate her product-making facility to Zanzibar. She has found it to be a more conducive business environment. This is especially in terms of its efficient port as well as ease of access to some of the herbs and oils that she uses in her products.

 Inspired by Africa, Inspired by Nature

Nuya’s Essence is committed to ensuring that its clients enjoy the full benefits of its products which are a hundred percent natural. “No preservatives, no fillers,” said Hellen who takes time to educate clients on the health and environmental importance of using natural products.

 Creating Nuya’s Essence skin care products is a multistep process. Hellen first decides what she wants to achieve with each product, and finds the oils and herbs that will her help do that. The raw materials that go into making a product for dry skin are not exactly the same as those that go into making a product for oily skin, for example. She then comes up with 4 different formulations to figure out which one will work the best. These are always tested by Hellen, and her family and friends, before being sold to clients. An attestation to her commitment to providing customers with quality products.

 The production process at Nuya’s Essence is primarily carried out by Hellen and her production assistant whom she trained. The two make everything by hand on a daily basis. The company also has 8 part-time employees – two of whom are family – that work both on site and remotely. They include 3 assistants who help Hellen when she showcases products at farmers’ markets and other events; a graphic designer; an operations assistant; and a lawyer. Hellen’s sister is the startup’s accountant. Her mother, who encouraged the siblings to use natural oils from an early age, helps with the making of Nuya’s Essence coconut oil and manages the company’s Dar es Salaam distribution. Being a startup makes it difficult to hire full-time employees due to limited funds. “You want to save and reinvest all the money in the business,” said Hellen. “So you hire people when you need them.”

 Although Hellen would love to get all her raw materials locally, she has to import some of them. This is because there are a few distillers in Tanzania and not all of them do a stellar job. “You can find lemongrass oil that smells like rose oil,” she said. “Which is ridiculous.”In addition, the herbs and oils she uses in the production process are also not all available in the country. As such, the raw materials that are used in the production of Nuya’s Essence products are sourced from all over Africa. This is aptly captured by the brand’s slogan “Inspired by Africa, Inspired by Nature.”

 Transforming the skin care industry
The skin care industry is saturated with manufactured products that contain chemicals. Nuya’s Essence is breaking through this with its handmade products. “I am in the right moment,” said Hellen. “People are looking to move to natural products.” This desire for a healthy lifestyle not only fuels the demand for Nuya’s Essence but also motivates Hellen to keep growing and creating.

Hellen sells the brand’s products at Dar es Salaam’s Oysterbay Shopping Center Farmers’ Market and Garden Market, where she also gets the opportunity to network with potential vendors. Partnerships with vendors are important for companies like Nuya’s Essence particularly for expanding market reach and distribution purposes. This fact is not lost on Hellen who currently collaborates with several vendors who stock her products. These are Kijani Organics, Slipway,L’appetitie Gallery and Not to be constrained by borders, Hellen has also partnered with Kung’ara Kenya a Nairobi-based boutique that sells her products. Additionally, she continues to seek new vendor partnerships.

 She is constantly working on developing new product lines and jots down her ideas everyday. “When the money comes, I will be ready to go,” said Hellen. She understands that staying ready and planning are both very important for the success of her venture. As an entrepreneur in the early stages of business, it is crucial to know both how you are going to raise funds and how you will allocate them. Through raised funds, she also plans to strengthen Nuya’s Essence marketing.

 The company, which get’s its name from Hellen’s childhood nickname – Nuya, is geared to change the skin care industry in Africa. In the long term, Hellen hopes to have a Nuya’s Essence product in every house in the continent. “I want it to be a household brand for skin care,” she said. “When you think skin care, think Nuya’s Essence.”

Scoring a goal for equality

Posted on Updated on

WOA Isha Johansen EN

A household name in Sierra Leone, Isha Johansen is the first female President of Sierra Leone’s Football Association and currently, the only female Football Association President in the world. 

She is a household name, no matter who you ask in the war-ravaged West African nation of Sierra Leone.  Some people refer to her as a “brand,” some as “the iron lady.” Isha Johansen is the first female President of Sierra Leone’s Football Association and currently, the only female Football Association President in the world.  She is currently the only woman also to own a national football club. From her passion of the game, another of her leading projects, entitled FC Johansen, was born at the end of the country’s decade long civil war in 2002. This project aims to keep young boys in school through instilling in them a passion for football.

Starting with  her neighbourhood, and gradually extending her efforts and  influence, Isha nurtures orphaned and underprivileged boys to become not only local and international youth icons by playing for her football club, FC Johansen, but to spread the reputation of their country  Sierra Leone around the world. Some of these boys have been called up for trials in some of the world’s most famous and powerful football teams such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. FC Johansen players have travelled the world over, playing tournaments and rubbing shoulders with football icons like Zidane, or more commonly known as “Zizou”, and David Beckham.

Of her pride in FC Johansen and the boys that make up the club, she says, “There is nothing more fulfilling than to nurture and watch something or someone grow to fruition. The club FC Johansen and the players grew from total obscurity to oblivion. It was truly a football ‘field of dreams.’

She is inspired by her father, who was a co-founder of a renowned football stakeholder with the legendary Sierra Leonean East End Lions, one of the oldest football clubs in her country’s history. She underlines that for women in unchartered territories, “Integrity is all a woman has. You cannot do it without integrity, sincerity, and commitment.”

Though things are moving swiftly now, she sometimes questioned herself in the beginning and whether she was in the right field. “It sure did feel lonely being a woman in a male dominated arena trying to steer the leadership in the direction of a new era for football in Sierra Leone. Most of the crew were bent on navigating towards another direction. But you know what? If you can dream it, you can do it and yes, dreams do come true.”

Today with a well-established reputation and firmly ensconced in prestigious global football events she says, “I have truly come a long way, and I have arrived. I am now not just a national champion, but an international player, and I intend to take Mama Salone [referring to her country] all the way to the top.”



FISTULA: Learn One Woman’s Story

Posted on Updated on

Sujata fistula foundation

INF Reeta



How Fistula Works

An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both. For women with obstructed labor, labor that goes unattended, the labor can last up to six or seven days. The labor produces contractions that push the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvic bone. The soft tissues between the baby’s head and the pelvic bone are compressed and do not receive adequate blood flow. The lack of blood flow causes this delicate tissue to die, and where it dies holes are created between the laboring mother’s bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient.

Who It Happens To

Obstetric fistula most commonly occurs among women who live in undeveloped countries, who give birth without any access to medical help. If a woman’s labor becomes obstructed, she could remain in excruciating pain for days before her baby is finally dislodged. Her baby likely dies and she is often left with an obstetric fistula, a small hole created by constant pressure from the fetus, which renders her incontinent.

Rejection and Isolation

A woman with fistula is too often rejected by her husband and pushed out of her village due to her foul smell. Women Ostracized From Their Town

Fistula Foundation

The Most Successful Women Know That They Have Some Untold Advantages

Posted on Updated on

The Most Successful Women Know That They Have Some Untold Advantages

Human Beings Development and Leadership

Feminism does not appear to be about strong women anymore, indeed the feminist battles have completely shifted. The quest for fairness and respect seems to have been reduced to a vile corporate war between the sexes or a strong campaign to ban the word Bossy or the Barbie doll, in order to empower girls. Why Women can’t have it all? Why Should they? Women are constantly harassed to become more manly, to close the gap, lean in, stand-up, shut-up, and not quit. Women are pushed to dress less womanly, despise motherhood, and forget about the work-life balance, freeze their eggs, or overpower men in society. I always believed that Feminism was about fairness, respect, and understanding All human beings. I thought that it was about celebration and respect of men and women’s differences. Yes, there are differences, let’s face it women and men are very different, everybody knows this undeniable biological truth.Many recent articles seeking to motivate women toward that quest of Equality are in fact depicting a very desperate and weak image of women. By communicating such messages many “influential” women are in reality creating a dangerous need for young women to inevitably feel oppressed and abused by just Being women. We should not dismiss women’s issues and I strongly agree that many serious improvements still need to happen worldwide regarding the division of labor, the way the media portrays women, the breaking of the glass ceiling, social inequalities, violence against women, freedom of speech, right for education… However, current feminists are mostly speaking out about gender equality and career equality without ever referring to all careers. If we are seeking equality, we should seek it for all careers, and not only the ones convenient to women or providing comfortable salaries. Is gender equality today just about money and comfort? What kind of equality is this? Women and men are continually questioning the legitimacy of this so-called “feminism of choice”. This form of feminism selects just some advantageous aspects of the issue. I thought feminism was about fighting for rights and legitimate situations, not the convenient ones. Equality might be difficult to achieve but uniqueness is not. Instead of focusing on hunting for an unfounded and superficial corporate equality, let’s try to concentrate on our uniqueness as men and women deeply equal in our differences. Equality is without a doubt not only about gender, it is more importantly about diversity. The demographic makeup of societies like the United States is rapidly changing and people need to be aware of these deep cultural changes much more than gender disparities. Inequalities in the workplace regarding race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion and physical abilities are fundamental and need to be exposed as much as gender inequalities are. Unfortunately, the current so-called feminism movement avoids to acknowledge the impact diversity sadly has on equality because it is so convenient to just ignore it. The same way it is so convenient to always recognize that women are such disadvantaged, and unprivileged human beings. Women naturally have valuable privileges just by being who they are. They do not necessarily need to play catch up with men or bash the opposite sex to feel more valuable. To tell the truth, women appear to have some untold privileges, with that in mind I thought I would share The Female Privilege Checklist (created by Mary Dee Wenniger “Women in Higher Education”, and inspired by Peggy McIntosh and Barry Deutsch). This checklist reminds women of their untold privileges that are slightly different than the powerful corporate guidelines they might use daily but these privileges are not less fundamental. Although, the points made on this list might seem obvious, they are in fact privileges most women enjoy exclusively, and there are so many more. The Female Privilege Checklist 1. I am physically able to give birth to another human being, and then do my best to mold her or him into the kind of person I choose. 2. I am not automatically expected to be the family breadwinner. 3. I feel free to wear a wide variety of clothes, from jeans to skimpy shorts to dresses as appropriate, without fear of ridicule. 4. I can choose to remain seated to meet most people. 5. I am not ashamed to ask for others’ perspectives on an issue. 6. I feel free to exhibit a wide range of emotions, from tears to genuine belly laughter, without being told to shut up. 7. My stereotypical excesses in shopping, clothes, jewelry, personal care and consumption of chocolate usually are expected, even the source of jokes. 8. Public policies generally offer me an opportunity to bond with my offspring. 9. I am among the first to get off a sinking ship. 10. I can usually find someone with superior strength to help me overcome physically challenging obstacles, such as changing a tire or cutting a huge Christmas tree. 11. Changing my mind is seen as a birthright or prerogative. 12. I feel free to explore alternate career paths instead of being bound to a single career ladder. 13. I am used to asking for help, around the kitchen table or the proverbial water cooler or the conference room. 14. People I’ve never met are inclined to hold doors open and give up their seats for me. 15. I can be proud of the skill I have worked to develop at stretching limited financial resources. 16. I am not ashamed of using alternatives to positional power to reach my goals. 17. I know how to put a new roll of toilet paper in use and am not above doing it for the next person. 18. I am not ashamed to admit that the decisions I make reflect my personal values. 19. I am not afraid to create and maintain honest relationships with others. 20. I do not fear being accused of having an ethic of care in my professional life. 21. When I enter an office, I am likely to encounter those who can help me “in low places.” 22. I am more likely to get hugs than handshakes, depending on the situation. 23. I am less likely to be seen as a threat, which allows me more subtle alternatives. 24. I can use men’s “sheer fear of tears” to my advantage. 25. I can complain that these female privileges are relatively minor compared with the vast assortment of dominant male privileges, but I wouldn’t change places for the world.