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GIRLS & WOMEN Women undergo horrifying "leg lengthening" treatment for better marriage prospects

By Meghan Werft |

 May 17, 2016

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE



Women and men alike are undergoing dangerous and unregulated “leg lengthening” treatments and for reasons you might not guess -- marriages and careers.

One study in Australia claims men 6 feet or taller make about $1,000 AUD more annually than men under 6 feet.  According to a study from Rice University and North Texas University, 48.9 percent of women prefer men who are taller.  Generally speaking, taller humans are perceived to be more intelligent and powerful.

Many people learn to deal with and dismiss these hurtful social pressures, but in some countries, the pressures become too great and drastic measures are taken.  

In India, for instance, leg lengthening procedures involving broken legs and invasive surgery are becoming more common. 24-year-old Komal recently spoke to the Guardian about her experience.

Her family sold part of their ancestral lands in order to pay for her to gain 8 cm or 3 inches in height.

“I have so much confidence now,” she said. “I was just 4’ 6” [137cm]. People used to make fun of me and I couldn’t get a job. Now my younger sister is doing it, too.”

Komal and her family believe that added height will increase her chances of better marriage and career prospects, so much so that they encouraged her younger sister to try the surgery too.

Leg lengthening is not a new phenomenon. It was started in the 1950s, by a Polish doctor in Siberia for the purpose of correcting bone and leg defects from birth or accidents. However, it’s gaining traction for Indian youth and globally (part of the medical tourism industry, which is worth an estimated $3 billion USD), according to Dr. Sarin who has has treated 300 patients already.

“It is a growing trend in India,” he told the Guardian. “I get around 20 calls a day, with people telling me ‘I want to be tall, I have to be taller.’”

This type of non-essential medical procedure helps to feed harmful stereotypes about a person's appearance and can even endanger a person's life. Dr. Sarin recommends and urges counseling before surgery.

What can really make a difference is creating a world where all gender, heights, and races of people are treated and paid equally amongst one another. 

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen. 

TAKE ACTIONSend petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved

Written by Meghan Werft 


Meghan is an Editorial Coordinator at Global Citizen. After studying International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound she hopped coasts to New York. She is a firm believer that education and awareness on global issues has the power to create a more sustainable, equal world where poverty does not exist.


Via Global Citizen

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GIRLS & WOMEN Yes, Malala Yousafzai Was Nervous at Her College Interview, Too

By Colleen Curry|

 Jan. 18, 2017

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE


When it comes to college applications, having a Nobel Peace Prize to throw on your resume might not help quell the nerves all that much.  

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel winner who survived a getting shot in the head by terrorists  and has gone on to become a global spokeswoman for girls’ rights, is apparently pretty flustered when it comes to thinking about her future.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Yousafzai talks about how hard it is to fit into high school when you are giving speeches to the United Nations and how she still gets nervous thinking back to to an interview at her top-choice university. Here’s what we learned about our favorite young feminist.

Read More: Malala Wants to Be Prime Minister of Pakistan Because of Course

“The hardest interview of my life. I just get scared when I think of the interview.”

Yousafzai interviewed at Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall in December for a position in next year’s incoming class, where she hopes to study philosophy, politics, and economics. The 19-year-old said she can barely stand to think back to the interview, it made her so nervous.

The school is renowned for being the first Oxford college to educate women, but just in case she doesn’t get into her first choice, Yousafzai also applied to the London School of Economics and Durham and Warwick universities, and visited Stanford University in California with her dad. While there, Mr. Yousafzai asked if there was a place on campus where he could live while his daughter was enrolled there. The answer? Nope. Yousafzai will have to head off to freshman year on her own.

Read More: The 10 Times Malala’s Words of Wisdom Have Left Us Speechless

“I try not to be too serious with my friends. You want to be normal.”

She’s the bestselling author of a renowned memoir and is working on a children’s book about changing the world, but around her friends, Yousafzai tries to fit in as a “normal” teenage girl. She told Newsweek it took her months at her new school before she was able to make friends because she is shy and many of her peers were intimidated by her global renown. Now that she has friends, they go out shopping and hang out like any group of 19-year-olds, and Yousafzai says it can be a bit awkward when people stop her for pictures.

“Sometimes you don’t want to remind yourself of fame and everything else outside,” she said.

She Runs a Billion Dollar Charity Fund

The Malala Fund has already given away $8.4 million in grants since it was founded in 2013, including to help girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, to open a school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and to create educational programs in Jordan’s refugee camps. The fun is overseen by a board of directors who plan to give out $10 million a year for the next 10 years. While Yousafzai doesn’t manage the day-to-day operations so that she can focus on school, she can opt to run the fund when she graduates if she’d like.

Read More: Malala Calls Out Donald Trump for His Anti-Muslim Ideology

“Once I wanted to become a lawyer, a doctor, a mechanic fixing cars, an artist.”

Like just about every other college freshman, Yousafzai hasn’t always been sure of what she wants to do when she graduates. She’s frequently mentioned her aspiration to become the prime minister of Pakistan, though she told Newsweek she only “sometimes” wants to be a politician and run for Pakistan’s highest office. And like most freshman entering university who aren’t quite sure, Yousafzai’s got time to figure it out.

She Misses Being a Kid

Yousafzai became a global leader as a teen. On her 16th birthday, she spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. It’s a tall order for a young woman, and she told Newsweek that sometimes she wonders where her childhood went.

“Now, when I am 19 years old, I look back and I wonder, like, Where was my youth, where was my childhood?” she says. “At [my age], many children would not have seen their schools being banned, many children would not have seen terrorists in their life, many children would not have experienced campaigning for serious issues and meeting world leaders.”

She’s Still a Feminist Icon

Whatever Yousafzai ends up after her graduation — and wherever she ends up studying —  one fact seems certain: she will stand up for the rights of girls and women.

“There was a time when women activists asked men to stand up for their rights,” she told the U.N. General Assembly on Malala Day. “But this time, we will do it by ourselves.”

TAKE ACTIONSend petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved

Written by Colleen Curry


Colleen Curry is a senior editor at Global Citizen. She has covered domestic and international news for outlets including ABC News, VICE News, and The New York Times, with a particular focus on women's issues, criminal justice, and LGBT rights. She is also pursuing her Master's in Creative Writing, and has had nonfiction published by Sports Illustrated and Marie Claire.


Via Global Citizen

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“It’s hard not to be like everyone else,” says Anya. “All of the girls my age are dating, or even getting married. But for some reason, I feel optimistic that things will be fine.”

Anya was operated on for a brain tumor when she was just four. At 15, she lost most of her movement, and had to be taught how to write and speak again. She also has cardiomyopathy and has at least two seizures a day that lead to loss of consciousness. “It’s not easy to speak, so I write poetry,” says Anya, and she shows books filled with verse. She also loves music I used to love dancing -- sometimes I think I would be a good DJ." Valentina has crippling rheumatoid arthritis, and Anya requires 24 hour care. Vyacheslav has had to leave his job to care for them both, adding to the family's financial strain and sense of isolation. Chernobyl Children International provides home nurse visits, anti-seizure medication, massage therapy, and special dressings for the abscesses on her arms that result from being bedridden much of the time. Anya has a wheelchair provided by CCI that allows her father to take her outside. Their building has no stairs, so he carries the chair down five flights, then carries Anya down to place her in the chair. The buses have no lifts, so using public transportation is an ordeal as well. Vyacheslav laughs and says, “Wouldn’t you know -- now I have a hernia from all the lifting. But never mind, we will be out as soon as I can lift her again!” In the meantime, Anya fills her books with poems: “For a long time, I haven’t seen my friends -- Do I even have any? Here I am sitting only with my mother. The two of us are like girlfriends talking about everything. In the hard moments It’s just the two of us. Sometimes we cry, sometimes we laugh and everything is fine. Other times it’s very hard. And no one knows. I’ll live through it all. And I’ll become stronger. And I will leave something for you to remember me by.”

Anya is 23 years old. Her parents moved from a town so contaminated by Chernobyl, it had to be bulldozed to the ground. Now she lives in Gomel, Belarus with her mother Valentina, and father Vyacheslav. They are part of our Community Care programme.





Via Chernobyl Children international

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GIRLS AND WOMEN The power of the individual: How volunteers, counsellors, and doctors helped Jane triumph over obstetric fistula


December 19 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Alexandra Cairns, Kupona Foundation

When we talk about global health challenges, we often talk in big numbers. As of August this year, there were 7.4 billion people in the world. Up to 5 billion people lack access to basic surgical services like safe anesthesia, surgery for correctable impairments, or C-sections. Further estimates suggest that 2 million women and girls worldwide are living with an untreated obstetric fistula, which causes chronic incontinence as a result of prolonged obstructed labor. These are big numbers that trigger a very common reaction in many of us: how on earth could I do anything about that?

It’s easy to get lost in the big picture, and to feel suffocated by staggering statistics. For me, traveling to Tanzania to visit Kupona Foundation’s sister organization, CCBRT, is the greatest remedy. These trips restore my perspective and root the big statistics into something tangible. These trips remind me of the power of the individual.


Patients in the fistula ward at CCBRT Disability Hospital. (Photo credit: Sala Lewis, 2016)

On my most recent trip, I met Jane*, a 15-year-old girl who developed obstetric fistula when she was 14. Jane was sexually assaulted by a man in her village, and was then forced to leave school and marry him. Not long after, she became pregnant. When the time came to deliver, her husband refused to take her to the hospital. Jane was in labor for days until her aunt intervened and sought medical attention. Jane’s baby boy did not survive, and she was left with an obstetric fistula: leaking urine uncontrollably due to the damage caused by the prolonged labor. When he realized Jane was leaking, her husband ended the marriage and sent her back to her parents.

Before the age of 16, Jane has lost a child and has been forced to get married. She has scars on her arms from her husband’s violent outbursts. She has missed out on years of education. She has been abandoned by friends due to the stigma of obstetric fistula. Jane is so young, and yet has experienced more trauma than anyone should have to face in a lifetime.

There are clearly many complex issues at play here. Jane was happy in school and wanted to continue her studies before she was forced to leave. Now, years later, her family cannot afford to send her back. The first steps to protect young girls like Jane from marriage in Tanzania have been taken, with a Constitutional Court ruling in July this year banning marriage to anyone under the age of 18.Attitudes and cultural practices that have been entrenched in communities for generations will take much longer to change. However, the fact that Jane is with us, receiving treatment, counseling and eventually sexual and reproductive health education gives me hope that the course of her future is changing.

For me, Jane’s story is a victory for the power of the individual. Jane’s aunt found the strength to protect Jane and get her the help she needed. A volunteer ambassador referred Jane to CCBRT for fistula treatment, and went out of her way to give Jane something to eat on the journey. A fellow fistula patient helped Jane find her way around the hospital when she arrived, and made her feel safe. A surgeon has repaired her fistula, a counselor is supporting her through her recovery, and a donor made all of this possible. Each individual made a big difference in Jane’s life.

Having access to health care can have a tremendous impact on a woman’s life that extends beyond just health care. Learn more about how the Kupona Foundation does that here: kuponafoundation.org

*Name has been changed.

Take a stand for girls and women like Jane: Join ONE in the fight against poverty and preventable disease. A communications and development specialist, Alexandra Cairns has spent the last five years working with organizations in the UK, USA and Tanzania to shine a spotlight on the health challenges facing our global community, and to enable innovative, context-driven solutions that can change the status quo. Alexandra is currently working with Kupona Foundation leadership to mobilize support for the sustainable growth of life-changing disability and maternal and newborn healthcare programs in Tanzania.



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Via Global Citizen

CITIZENSHIP Fake News in South Sudan Could Lead to Genocide

By Joe McCarthy|

 Jan. 18, 2017
ap16292494614244.jpg__1500x670_q85_crop_AP Photo/Justin Lynch

While fake news played a large role in the US presidential election — smearing candidates, spinning conspiracies, sowing doubt, bolstering echo chambers — what is happening in South Sudan right now is on a whole different level.

Fake news might have tilted the US election, but in South Sudan, it’s essentially fueling a civil war that seems on the verge of genocide, according to a story published by BuzzFeed.

In both cases, social media is the conduit.

Read More: 7 Factors to Consider Now That We Live in a Post-Truth World

The war in South Sudan broke out along ethnic lines at the end of 2013, with the government-backed Dinka tribe fighting the anti-government Nuer tribe. Other groups are involved in the fighting as well, but these are the two main factions.

Just like in the US, the fake news circulating in South Sudan exploits the common tendency of confirmation bias — when people only seek out and believe in information that conforms to preexisting beliefs and prejudices.

It follows a simple and ferocious logic.

For example, an influential person aligned with the Dinka will write a message on social media saying that the rebels are slaughtering women and children, without any corroborating evidence, and that revenge must be sought. For his followers, it’s a compelling and infuriating narrative that makes sense, or just confirms a person’s worst fears. Rather than investigate to see if the information is true, fighters will run with the story and begin a counter-attack.

Or, in a more diabolical example, someone will find an image showing people killed in a different war, or from a long time ago, and say that it shows people recently murdered by the enemy. A logo from a legitimate news source is applied to the image to lend it credibility and then it spreads across social media.

Read More: 4 Refugee Crises You Aren't Hearing About

In South Sudan, versions of the above examples are circulating constantly, creating an atmosphere where false information bears the same weight as truth and truth that discredits false information is branded as suspicious and fake.  

And as it spreads, divisions deepen, reprisals become more common, and the likelihood of ceasefires and reconciliations slip away.  

The most severe effect of all this, of course, is the slaughter that takes place, the towns that are torn apart, and the lives that are ruined.     

“[it] has the potential to create a Rwanda situation massively accelerated through the use of social media,” Stephen Kovats, a Berlin-based researcher tracking online hate speech in South Sudan, told Buzzfeed. “Linkages between social media, and word of mouth, and ending up with a gun in the hand or a machete, those are fairly clear.”

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war, more than a million refugees have been created, and famine looms over parts of the country, according to the report.

“Conflict is a leading cause of hunger – each famine in the modern era has been characterized by conflict,” the director of the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, José Graziano da Silva, and World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said today in a joint news release.

“[it] undermines food security in multiple ways: destroying crops, livestock and agricultural infrastructure, disrupting markets, causing displacement, creating fear and uncertainty over fulfilling future needs, damaging human capital and contributing to the spread of disease among others,” the statement said.

There seems to be no easy way to address this situation, as any party that tries to point out and correct false information can be labeled a purveyor of false information.

Read More: 2.2 Yemeni Million Children Hungry in 'Catastrophic' Situation, Says UNICEF

The UN, for example, has recently been branded untrustworthy and peacekeeping forces have come under a series of attacks.

In one particularly sinister bit of false news, a UN peacekeeping envoy was attacked and the battered and burned trucks were left on the side of the road. An image of the trucks then circulated, saying the UN had attacked those very trucks to kill South Sudanese troops.

In the US, fake news was often characterized as a nuisance, a blight on Facebook to be amended with stronger algorithms. But when truth becomes a vulnerable concept, capable of being claimed by anyone with an agenda, the spread of false news can quickly spiral out of control and cause terrible harm.

TAKE ACTION Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved

Written by Joe McCarthy


Joe McCarthy is a Content Creator at Global Citizen. He believes apathy is the biggest threat to creating a more just world and tries his hardest to stay open-minded and curious. Living in New York keeps him aware of how interconnected our world is, how every action has ripples.

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GIRLS AND WOMEN 6 things you should know about gender-based violence


December 5 2016  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

This is a guest post by Mallary Taylor, ONE Policy Intern.

While many in the United States recognized November 25 as Black Friday, the day was also defined by another color: orange.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the UN’s official designation of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is celebrated annually on November 25. In recent years, the UN Secretary-General’s campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women, has celebrated the 25th of each month as Orange Day—a recurring opportunity to raise awareness and galvanize action to end violence against women and girls. As a “bright and optimistic” color, the UNiTE campaign selected orange as a way to symbolize a future without gender-based violence.


The date also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which starts on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and culminates with Human Rights Day on December 10, illustratively linking the two. In honor of the 16 Days of Activism, here are six reasons to commit to eliminating violence against women:

1. About 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of sexual or physical violence.

Around the world, approximately 35% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence during their lifetime. Violence against women and girls can take many forms, such as human trafficking. There are an estimated 11.4 million women and girls trafficked worldwide, which comprises more than half of the 20.9 million people who are trapped in forced labor.

As an issue that affects a third of women around the world, the UN considers gender-based violence a global pandemic.

2. Violence among vulnerable groups occurs at even higher rates.

Data from the UN Statistics Division indicates that women face both higher levels of violence and additional forms of violence as a result of conflict situations and humanitarian crises. These additional forms include violence perpetrated by militia and police, which is often targeted at refugees.

Beyond the environmental context, research suggests that a woman’s sexual orientation, disability status, or ethnicity may put her at a heightened risk for experiencing violence. For example, in a study from the European Union, 23% of women who identified their sexual orientation as lesbian, bisexual, or other had experienced sexual violence by both male and female non-partners, compared to 5% of women who identified as heterosexual.


T-shirts printed by the 16 Days of Activism Organizing Committee. (Photo: UN Women/Marni Gilbert)

3. Ending violence against women and girls is a way to promote equality and advance human rights.

Perhaps most importantly, violence against women and girls is a human rights violation. Ending violence against women and girls is a critical step to extending human rights around the world, and for the creation of a just and equal society.

4. Eradicating gender-based violence is a way to improve global health.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, women who have been physically or sexually abused are 1.5 times more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection relative to women who haven’t experienced partner violence. Addressing gender-based violence is an important step in tackling other global health challenges like HIV.

In addition to physical health consequences, gender-based violence exacts a heavy psychological toll on victims. The experience of violence can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and other poor mental health outcomes.


A library in Fiji displays UN Women knowledge products during the 16 Days of Activism. (Photo credit: UN Women)

 5. Violence against women hurts the economy.

Violence against women and girls doesn’t just affect individual health– it also carries a significant economic burden. Violence against women and girls results in lost productivity and costs related to health care, law enforcement, and social protection services. In a study of nine countries, The World Bank estimated the cost of violence against women to be about 1-2% of GDP: or, for comparison, roughly the amount these governments spend on primary education.

6. Addressing violence against women is a way to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the global development agenda adopted for the next 15 years, the Sustainable Development Goals represent a worldwide commitment to ending poverty, protecting the environment, and promoting peace and prosperity. Progress on many of the goals—including good health and well-beinggender equality, and reduced inequalities—could be achieved by ending gender-based violence. When women and girls are able to live healthy, safe lives free from violence, they are better able to participate in and contribute to their communities.


Girls in Zambia participating in the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Programme, an initiative that’s supporting 10,000 adolescent girls by using “safe spaces” in which girls meet weekly with a mentor – usually a young woman from the community – to build their self-esteem, confidence, and communication skills. (Photo credit: UK DFID)


Ready to take action to end violence against women? Here’s what you can do to help: Advocate for laws and institutional reforms that help women and girls affected by gender-based violence, and prevent it from happening in the first place. Violence against women will persist until we address the structural and institutional norms that perpetuate gender-based discrimination and stereotypes. While it is essential to address the needs of survivors, prevention is the only way to achieve the elimination of violence against women and girls.

Learn more about UNiTE to End Violence Against Women.

Sign up now to join us for a day of activism on March 8, 2017: International Women’s Day.



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When a child cries a tear falls across the face of its world’

This moving video shows the continuing devastating effects the Chernobyl nuclear disaster has on generations living in the Chernobyl-affected regions of Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia. It also highlights the important, life-changing programmes delivered by CCI, including medical, community care and deinstitutionalisation and the relentless work of our volunteers and contributors over the years.


Via Chernobyl Children International

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Jubilant LGBTQ Protestors Throw Dance Party Outside Mike Pence’s House

By James Hitchings-Hales| Jan. 19, 2017

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


 Infantry Snowflake @CrappyMovies

Queer dance party outside Mike Pence's house

1:55 AM - 19 Jan 2017

  246 246 Retweets   532 532 likes

Last night, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence had a legendary house party of Obama-esque proportions. 

Not that he knew too much about it. But if he was unaware about the bash before, he certainly will have heard about it by now.

Read More: Michelle Obama Is the ‘Face of Feminism’ According to 47% of Americans

WERK for Peace, a queer-based grassroots organization founded after the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, threw the party outside Pence’s house in Maryland in protest of his previous anti-LGBTQ positions. The result was glorious.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter


 Alejandro Alvarez @aletweetsnews

More from tonight. Party outside Mike Pence's house. @werkforpeace #WeWillDance

2:35 AM - 19 Jan 2017 · Chevy Chase Village, MD

  1,239 1,239 Retweets   2,901 2,901 likes

Hundreds of protesters turned up in a vast variety of colourful costumes, rainbow flags, and glow sticks. Previous Global Citizen Festival headliners Beyonce and Rihanna were blasted from car stereos, as a peaceful, powerful fiesta burst onto the quiet suburbs.



 Ellison Barber ✔ @ellisonbarber

Hundreds are dancing to @rihanna outside of VP Elect Mike Pence's DC house to protest what they view as his anti-gay policies.

1:44 AM - 19 Jan 2017

  9,037 9,037 Retweets   15,177 15,177 likes

A statement posted on the Facebook event implored attendees to bring their “flyest rainbow gear and booty/body shaking skills.”

Read More: Why Aziz Ansari Is the Best Possible Host for This Weekend’s SNL

“Mike Pence has graciously invited us to shake our booties and bodies in front of/around his house in Chevy Chase. We plan on leaving behind [biodegradable] glitter and rainbow paraphinalia (sic) that he can NEVER forget.”


Protesters shouted “Daddy Pence, come dance!” as the night of revelry drew on. But Pence was celebrating elsewhere: at his own Inaugural Dinner with President-Elect Donald Trump.


 Betsy Klein ✔ @betsy_klein

Protesters informed there are Trump supporters ahead. They were implored not to engage:"We do not need to feed their energy," organizer said pic.twitter.com/9J5kkWLVST


 Betsy Klein ✔ @betsy_klein

Dance protest has arrived - now dancing a half a block from Mike Pence's rental house. Were chanting "Daddy Pence, come dance" pic.twitter.com/kaUEbUXxAC

1:56 AM - 19 Jan 2017


  1,323 1,323 Retweets   2,722 2,722 likes

“We are here today to take the streets as our dance floor," said organizer Firas Nasr. And he led by flamboyant example. In the words of Mic reporter Jack Smith: “if this video… doesn’t make you want to become a political organizer, nothing will.” 


Read More: 9 Ways Global Citizen Is Taking Action in 2017

Police barred the way to Pence’s house, but did not make any attempt to stop the party. Since Pence moved into the area, rainbow flags could be seen proudly hanging from windows up and down the street, as Pence’s neighbors added their voices to widespread criticism of his previous positions on equality.



 Victoria St. Martin ✔ @VStMartin

"This is our dance party!" @werkforpeace @DisruptJ20 @postlocal #wewilldance

2:17 AM - 19 Jan 2017

  102 102 Retweets   146 146 likes

In 2015, Pence signed a bill allowing businesses in Indiana to refuse LGBT customers on the basis of religion. He’s repeatedly opposed same-sex marriage legislation, while controversy has engulfed his alleged support for conversion therapy — a practice that believes homosexuality is a sin that can be “cured” by intensive treatment. 

Read More: Global Citizen’s Guide to the Women’s March on January 21

Meanwhile, his infamous opposition to planned parenthood led to a huge surge of donations in his name. Even the cast of Hamilton waded into the debate, expressing concern that the Trump/Pence administration “will not protect” a “diverse America”.


This weekend, over a million people are due to march in solidarity with women all over the world in protest at the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. Dialogue will descend into dancing once more, as peaceful demonstrators find their feet to express ideas on the issues most important to them.

The pen may be mightier than the sword. But Pence will at least have a real fight on his hands cleaning up all the glitter and glow sticks.


Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heard

Get Involved

TOPICSTrump Inauguration, Mike Pence, Gay Conversion Therapy, Donald Trump, Werk For Peace, LGBTQ, Protest

James Hitchings-Hales

Written by James Hitchings-Hales

James is a Digital/Communications Assistant at Global Citizen. A devout Welshman based in East London, he adores new music, adventures abroad, and Liverpool Football Club. When he's not studiously tinkering with his Fantasy Football team, he's busy either quoting Kanye West or planning his next ambitious trip away. His favourite things in the world are his labradoodle (called Pandora), Huw Stephens, and everything David Bowie did in the 70's.


Via Global Citizen

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Dating can be a scary experience for everyone, including someone with a learning disability.

If you, or someone you know, has a learning disability and are currently dating, or want to start dating, we want to hear from you!

How do you handle those awkward silences and embarrassing moments? Who should make the first move? What are the challenges of dating when you have a learning disability?

To share your do's and don'ts of dating, please email reallifestories@mencap.org.uk





Via Mencap

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Via Global Citizen

GIRLS & WOMEN Michelle Obama Is the ‘Face of Feminism’ According to 47% of Americans

By Meghan Werft |

 Jan. 18, 2017

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE

michelle_obama_ap_.jpg__1500x670_q85_cro(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Michelle Obama is the new face of feminism. 

The first lady was perceived as the person most closely associated with feminism today, according to a report published Tuesday by PerryUndem, a nonpartisan research organization. 

The report, from a survey of 1,302 adults in the US, polled men and women from Republican and Democratic parties on their perceptions of gender equality and sexism in a post-election America. 

As part of the survey, those polled were presented with a list of 14 influential women including Emma Watson, CHIME FOR CHANGE co-founder Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, Oprah, and of course, Michelle Obama. Of those polled, 47% said, “yes,” Michelle Obama represents feminism today. 

More than half of Black women (53%) and Latina women (57%) identified FLOTUS as the leading image of feminism. 

Read More: Michelle Obama’s Final Speech: 'I hope I've Made You Proud'

While 93% of respondents believe in equality for women, only 19% refer to themselves as feminists. This was just one of many disparities between perception and understanding of sexism and gender equality. 

Republican men also held some perplexing views on gender equality. Specifically, Republican men were the only demographic who believed that women have it better than men in the US today and that there is little connection between gender issues and policy in the US. 

Fewer than half of Republican men said sexism (48%), violence against women (47%), and unequal caregiving responsibilities (36%), affect women’s rights and equality. 

An overwhelming majority (94%) of people think sexism is a problem in society today. Yet, of those who think sexism is a small or nonexistent problem, 47% are male Trump supporters. 

Though some of the respondents denied the correlation between sexism and gender equality, others said they were using the election — including the rhetoric that arose from it and Trump’s success —  as an opportunity to teach their children about assault and sexual violence. 

Read More: Trump Election Prompts US Mothers To Warn Children About Assault

Fifty percent of women, and 43% of parents overall, said they will teach their kids about consent and assault as a result of Trump winning the election. 

The election also encouraged more people to take political action, the poll found. 

Two-third of pollers say they are taking action (paying more attention to political leaders, donating to organizations, and planning to “do things differently”) as a result of the election outcome.  

Best of all, more people want action: eight of 10 people said they want the new administration to make forward moves on women’s rights and equality.  

TAKE ACTION Send petitions, emails, or tweets to world leaders. Call governments or join rallies. We offer a variety of ways to make your voice heardGet Involved

Written by Meghan Werft 


Meghan is an Editorial Coordinator at Global Citizen. After studying International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound she hopped coasts to New York. She is a firm believer that education and awareness on global issues has the power to create a more sustainable, equal world where poverty does not exist.

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AID AND DEVELOPMENT If your kid doesn’t want that ripped pair of pyjama bottoms, why would mine?


6 October 2016 12:39PM UTC  | By: GUEST BLOGGER
JOIN Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

By Virginia Fresne, Director of Programs at Flying Kites

Yesterday morning, our office received a box of letters, sent by a bright and earnest group of fourth graders from a Boston school. The parents had asked if the class could be Pen Pals with our students in Kenya.

I opened the first letter.

“Dear Flying Kites orphan, I’m sorry you are poor,” the opening line read.

I felt my heart clench. I knew the intention was good, but I also knew I could never pass this letter on. I spent the better part of an hour opening up each crayon-scrawled card and removing the ones that would be confusing, offensive or hurtful to our students in Kenya. It reminded me of a time a parent asked if our students would write about their experiences with hunger in order to teach his son about food disparity.


(Photo credit: Flying Kites)

I don’t mean to sound jaded. As someone who works for an international education non-profit, I am amazed, every day, at how generous, selfless and compassionate people are. People who have never met our students donate abundantly and care profusely.

But yesterday’s care package got me thinking: How can I better communicate our needs to the people who are so eager to help? How can we—nonprofits—convey to donors the most effective ways to be supportive? Because at the end of the day, we both want the same thing: good outcomes for the vulnerable students we serve.

If you are thinking about engaging with an organisation serving vulnerable students, here are a few examples of popular trends that might not be as helpful as they seem, and some suggestions for how to redirect these efforts to truly benefit communities and organisations.

Pen pal letters:
The program is not mutually educational, and often feels exploitive. Letter exchanging with “disadvantaged” children to learn more about global poverty in an effort to remind our own children to appreciate privilege doesn’t work for our students in Kenya.

I have people bring me stacks and stacks of letters all the time for our school. Expectations for communications often go unmet, which only ends up disheartening and frustrating the very people who are committing their time and energy to our organisation.

How do we encourage kids to begin thinking critically about education and development, in a way that doesn’t involve “writing to the poor” to ignite the conversation?

It’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, and friends to be honest with our children (and ourselves) about nonprofits’ priorities, especially when they may not align with our priorities or desires. We can redirect these good intentions into opportunities that build sustainable results.

Consider having your children or students spend some time learning about the challenges of global poverty, writing to their state representatives about issues that are affecting the world’s poor, sponsoring a student, doing a bake sale, or reading about global poverty and spreading awareness at their school.

Donating old stuff:
My hallway is full of bags of donations given by supporters wanting their old stuff to go to a good place. But, if your kid doesn’t want that ripped pair of pyjama bottoms, why would mine? By giving someone less-than quality items, it sends a message that they are less-than-quality.

Instead, talk to someone at the nonprofit directly and find out specifically what they could really use, and in what capacity. Or, if it’s feasible, consider a monetary donation instead—no matter where the organisation is based, this supports their local economy while minimising the costs of shipping, and providing for the charity’s most immediate and pressing needs.

Our nonprofit recently closed its volunteer program. To preface that, our organisation was also built by volunteers. I was a volunteer; I don’t take for granted the importance and impact that volunteering can have on the volunteer. However, to create a sustainable and dynamic organisation, bringing on unskilled, short-term volunteers is not effective and can be potentially harmful.

Instead, seek out already existing programs that are community-initiated and supported. Immerse yourself and participate in opportunities that ignite your consciousness, but be sure to do it in a way that doesn’t take away from those you are trying to help. Learning about and witnessing global poverty can create transformative conversations that can lead to movements that have the potential to change the world. There are also resources (like Giving Way and Mama Hope) that connect volunteers with already existing NGO initiatives with sustainable goals.


(Photo credit: Flying Kites)

I love working in the nonprofit industry for its continuous evolvement and adaptation. And with that, the ways we support philanthropy need to evolve.

As I finished up reading through the letters, the last one said, “Dear Lucy, you like dogs? I like dogs!! I think we’d be best friends.” I couldn’t help but smile and feel hopeful. Hopeful and energised for this generation, which is more globalised than ever and eager to take action. Classrooms, families, and young people are interested in poverty alleviation and its role in global development.

They’re brave, much braver than I was at their age, and ready to make sure their actions count. They will be a force in this world, but it won’t be because they sent letters to “poor children.”

Learn more about Flying Kites and their efforts to ignite the potential of vulnerable children in Kenya—and if you haven’t yet, join ONE today.



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CITIZENSHIP 17 Top Moments From Trump’s Cabinet Confirmation Hearings

By Colleen Curry,  Phineas Rueckert  and  James O'Hare|

 Jan. 19, 2017
ap_17018600482770.jpg__1500x670_q85_crop(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It’s a week of dramatic change in Washington, D.C.

In the days leading up to Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald J. Trump, senators have been hard at work grilling Trump’s nominees to cabinet positions, including the future leaders of the nation’s energy, education, and health departments.

We checked in on all of the hearings to see what this administration might have in store for the future of foreign relations, the environment, the healthcare system, and the nation’s students. Here’s what we heard:

Nikki Haley: Ambassador to the United Nations

— Haley, the governor of South Carolina, focused on the recent political firestorm over the UN’s resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank (for an explainer on the controversy, check here). She supports moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

— Haley was also tough on Russia, whom she will face in UN Security Council meetings, saying “Russia is trying to show their muscle” and the “USA must be cautious.” She believes Russia committed war crimes in Syria, disagrees with the annexation of Crimea, but says we need Russian help fighting ISIS.

— Haley told the panel that the US would not create a Muslim registry, saying there was “no justification for registering American citizens.”

— The governor also suggested the US contributes too much of the UN’s budget, which some senators are threatening to cut as retaliation for the US stance on the Israeli settlements.

Tom Price: Health and Human Services Secretary

ap_17018593431361.jpg__4170x2729_q85_cro(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

— Congressman Price (R-Ga.) entered his Senate confirmation hearing under a cloud of suspicion over reports that he made money trading stocks in pharmaceutical companies he was charged with regulating in Congress. Under tough questioning and a call for an ethics investigation by Democrats, Price said, “Everything that we have done has been above board, ethical, transparent, and legal.”

— The other major topic Price was questioned on was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, saying all Americans should be able to “gain access” to insurance, which Sen. Bernie sanders (D-VT) pointed out meant that only those who could afford to buy it would be able to. “‘Has access to’ does not mean that they are guaranteed health care. I have access to buying a $10 million home. I don’t have the money to do that,” Sanders said.

— Price also said an ACA replacement might require “able-bodied” people to work for benefits and said there could be cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Scott Pruitt: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

ap_17018545124522.jpg__600x413_q85_crop_(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

— Pruitt has sued the Environmental Protection Agency multiple times in his current role as attorney general of Oklahoma, but is Trump’s pick to lead the agency going forward. He has also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from oil and gas companies.While he did say that climate change is not a hoax, he does question how much human activity has really caused climate change. “The ability to measure with precision the extent of [human] impact and what to do about it are subject to continued debate and dialogue,” Pruitt said.

— Pruitt said the EPA has become overzealous under President Obama, particularly in regard to federal pollution regulations. “Farmers, ranchers, landowners and small-business owners have recently felt hopeless, subject to a never-ending torrent of new regulations that only a lawyer can understand,” he said.

— Pruitt said the EPA has a legal obligation to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and ensure clean water, but would not, for example, say what level of lead in water was safe in drinking water as it related to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Betsy DeVos: Secretary of Education

— DeVos acknowledged that she has never attended a public school in the US and has never taken out a student loan, two central issues she’ll oversee as Education Secretary. She is a supporter of charter schools and offering parents vouchers to send their children to private schools.

— On the bright side for equal rights, the billionaire Republican philanthropist Devos disavowed any prior association with anti-LGBT stances or a belief in conversion therapy, saying she believed in equal rights for students.

— On the downside for some other issues, DeVos suggested she may cut public school funding, said guns should be allowed in schools in case grizzly bears attack, did not seem familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (which requires public schools to provide services for students with disabilities), and generally did not seem to know many terms standard in education. For example, she did not understand the difference between measuring a student’s proficiency at a subject with measuring a student’s growth in one subject area.

— DeVos said not all schools receiving federal funding should be held to the same accountability standards, suggesting public schools and charter schools could be treated differently by the government.

Ryan Zinke: Secretary of the Interior

— The biggest question looming over Montana Congressman Zinke’s nomination was whether he would sell off federal lands to private owners, a question he quickly answered “no” to during his hearing.

— Zinke did say, however, that much of the land owned by the federal government could be drilled for oil and gas just as easily as it could be hunted or hiked upon, and so he would be open to leasing the land to private energy companies.

— Zinke said that he does not believe climate change is a “hoax,” but said there are still gaps in the science of understanding what’s causing climate change. “Climate is changing. Man is an influence. I think where there is debate on it is what that influence is and what we can do about it,’ he said.


Written by Colleen Curry


Colleen Curry is a senior editor at Global Citizen. She has covered domestic and international news for outlets including ABC News, VICE News, and The New York Times, with a particular focus on women's issues, criminal justice, and LGBT rights. She is also pursuing her Master's in Creative Writing, and has had nonfiction published by Sports Illustrated and Marie Claire.


Written by Phineas Rueckert


Phineas Rueckert is a writer at Global Citizen. He graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Political Science and International Studies, and spent the past year teaching English in Toulouse, France. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York.


Written by James O'Hare


James O'Hare is an intern at Global Citizen.


Via Global Citizen

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Music Generation Wicklow launches a new Jazz Ensemble in partnership with Mermaid Arts Centre


Music Generation Wicklow is delighted to partner with Mermaid Arts Centre in the creation of a new Jazz Ensemble for young musicians. The ensemble will initially meet for 10 weeks to play Jazz and other genres of music, under the guidance of musicians Michael Nielsen and Paula McCarthy.

As part of the partnership with Mermaid Arts Centre, participants in the ensemble will also have the opportunity to avail of workshops from visiting musicians from time to time.

If you are a young musician age 12 to 18 with an interested in playing and learning Jazz and improvisation, Music Generation Wicklow would love to hear from you! An ability to read music and/or play a chromatic instrument would be an advantage. A drum kit and digital piano will be provided on site.

Music Generation Wicklow Jazz Ensemble

Venue: Mermaid Arts Centre
Date: Saturday 21 January, 2017 (for 10 weeks)
Time: 11.30am – 1pm
Fee: €80

Booking: Mermaid Arts Centre Box Office
t: +353 1 272 4030

Contact Music Generation Wicklow for further information about how to get involved:

Ann Catherine Nolan, Manager Music Generation Wicklow
t: +353 404 60505
m: +353 86 790 9887
e: AnnCatherineNolan@kwetb.ie


Via Music Generation

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Via Global Citizen

CITIZENSHIP Why Global Citizen Matters Today More Than Ever Before

By Hugh Evans|

 Nov. 9, 2016

The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States has been touted as the biggest political change since the war, and as such will be hard for many around the world to process.

But we don't have the luxury of time to ponder. The challenges ahead of us are too numerous and too great. Right now we need to dust ourselves off and keep championing the causes that transcend any one election or political figure.

Be a Global Citizen Today

The result, I'm afraid, confirmed that too many people have become accustomed to the false comforts of the echo chamber, hearing only those voices that chime with ours. The political class were not only dismissive of Trump as a person, but failed to grasp the despondency and frustration felt by many Americans who feel left behind by rapid technological, economic, and social changes. We failed to adequately comprehend the extent to which so many people feel dismissed and disrespected by political and economic elites who have been the winners from 30 years of globalization.

We cannot respond by turning our back on the big global challenges that define our mission. It's much too important. Globalization has also helped lift millions out of extreme poverty.

We need to win the battle of ideas with those who seek a more insular world, and we need to respect their aspirations and fears in the process. Whoever is president, our task is the same as it always was: to organise, agitate, activate and inspire. More than ever.

As Global Citizens, we must redouble our efforts to convince friends, family, and neighbours that retreating to national and ethnic enclaves is the wrong way to build the world we want for ourselves and future generations. We can't turn our backs on each other. We can’t turn our backs on the millions of people in the developing world whose progress in life is stymied by poverty, preventable disease, corruption, sexism, and sectarian hatred. They need our activism more than ever.

We cannot change the outcome of an election. But we can double down on our commitment to each other as fellow Global Citizens, both in the US and around the world in support of our mission and in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must not disengage from the political process, but instead organise more and more effectively. We need to win the battle of ideas with those who seek a more insular world, and we need to respect their aspirations and fears in the process. Whoever is president, our task is the same as it always was: to organise, agitate, activate and inspire. More than ever.

Millennials have a reputation for not fighting for much. We’re supposed to have been handed the world on a silver platter. Now we know that’s not the case. This is our time to step up. This is our time to start fighting for the world we believe in.

This is the time we stand tall and build the movement for all those Global Citizens who today are desperately looking for a home, and a mission worth fighting for.

We stand with and for our Global Citizens. We have a responsibility to get back to work for them. I’m sure there are more of them today than there were yesterday. They just didn’t know that’s who they were yesterday. Together we can create a culture — one of humility, kindness, empathy — and one tethered to the mission of Global Citizen; to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Become a Global Citizen now.


Written by Hugh Evans


At 14, Australian-born Hugh Evans spent the night in a Manila slum. The realities of his hosts’ lives motivated him to challenge the status quo of extreme poverty. After a trip to S. Africa in 2002, Evans built Make Poverty History, staging the Make Poverty History Concert. In 2012, Evans launched the Global Citizen Festival — a free, ticketed event requiring fans to perform anti-poverty actions in exchange for entry. Now nearly 3 million actions have been taken against extreme poverty.

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