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The Action Thread Part Two

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Made-In-Kenya: How this pair of running shoes are going to change lives in Kenya

8 June 2016 10:51AM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO


Join the fight against extreme poverty


Kenya is known around the world for producing some of the planet’s greatest running champions. Its reputation for running has sparked an interest in runners from around the world, who flock to the high altitude training regions in Kenya just to breathe the same air as their sporting heroes. 

It was the global attention Kenya attracted that led Navalayo (Nava) Osembo-Ombati, and Nairobi based ONE member Weldon Kennedy, to design a running shoe that will not only be made in Kenya, but create a sustainable income for the local community. As Weldon puts it; There is no other place in the world that you can make a Kenyan-made running shoe.

Weldon Kennedy and Nava Osembo-Ombati - Enda Co-Founders.

Weldon Kennedy and Nava Osembo-Ombati – Enda Co-Founders.

We love that Nava and Weldon want to use their company, Enda (which means “Go” in Swahili), to initiate social change in Kenya.

Enda’s aim is to create change in the local economy through empowerment and ownership, and they (along with development experts and the government of Kenya) strongly believe the Kenyan economy will benefit from behaviours guided by the “buy something from Kenya rather than give something to Kenya” principle. Although the company is still in the Kickstarter phase, Nava and Weldon have some serious plans for the future…

Kickstartershoot (65 of 74)

Runner Joan Cherop overlooking Kenya’s valleys.

Nava, who was born and raised in Kenya, is familiar with the conditions of poverty and sexism that affect local communities and can hamper individuals from achieving their full potential. “I’m a product of education. Luck has come, but education has given me lots of opportunities,” Nava told us. She graduated from the London School of Economics and is qualified as a lawyer AND an accountant! It is these academic and career achievements that have made Nava stand out as a leader and role model to young Kenyan girls – some of whom approach her regularly for advice on how they too can succeed in Kenya’s patriarchal society.

It is essential to Nava that Enda embodies a strong sense of social responsibility and empowers vulnerable individuals by providing them with equal opportunities to earn sustainable livelihoods and achieve security. The shoe company plans to employ men and women to do the same jobs, and also plans to operate a childcare facility on site so that single parents can earn an income while knowing their babies are in safe hands.Kickstartershoot (3 of 74)

Enda is also focused on ways they can share their success with the Kenyan community outside of employment. Nava and Weldon will be bookmarking a percentage of their profits for distribution to local community projects that are excelling at what they do. It can be difficult to secure funding for small development projects, so the co-founders of Enda want to make sure that projects seeing good results in local communities can continue to deliver.

Runners Joan Cherop (right) and Justin Lagat (left) in Kenya.

Runners Joan Cherop (right) and Justin Lagat (left) in Kenya.

In addition to empowering individuals and providing stable, sustainable livelihoods, Enda is also on a mission to change the world’s perception of Kenya. “We are more than politics or terrorism”, Nava emphasised; “Kenya is a country of innovation, creativity, and of people making change”.

Nava and Welden believe Kenya’s narrative can be rewritten – that there is room to be known as a source of great quality runners AND great quality products.

To stay updated on Enda’s journey follow them on Twitter or Facebook and check out their Kickstarter Campaign!



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What water can do for economic growth in Cabo Verde

June 28 2017 | By: GUEST BLOGGER


Join the fight against extreme poverty


This post by Naomi Cassirer, MCC Gender and Social Inclusion Director, and Lona Stoll, MCC Deputy Vice President for Sector Operations, originally appeared on MCC.gov.

Women, the poor and other vulnerable groups are particularly impacted by the shortcomings of the water and sanitation sector in developing countries like Cabo Verde. Yet, women and the poor are seldom represented in national policy conversations and decision-making. At the local level, utilities rarely design services that address the challenges that these groups face in accessing and paying for water and sanitation. But in Cabo Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, this is changing.

In partnership with the Government of Cabo Verde, MCC is supporting reforms to the country’s major water and sanitation institutions and the development of a financially sound basis for the delivery of water and sanitation services — from clean tap water to safe wastewater removal. By considering women, the poor and other disadvantaged populations in making these reforms, along with improving accountability, the Government of Cabo Verde is expanding access to and affordability of these vital services to help people lift themselves out of poverty.

Worldwide challenges

Globally, 748 million people live without access to piped water or other drinking water sources that protect against contamination, and 2.5 billion people lack access to a flushing toilet or similar sanitation facilities.

When access is lacking, women and girls are most likely to shoulder the burden, as they are most often responsible for the daily tasks and costs of managing household water resources. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, women and girls around the world spend 200 million hours daily collecting water to provide for their families, sometimes traveling long distances. And every day, women and girls face risks of sexual harassment and violence because they don’t have a private, safe sanitation facility or water close by.


Girls in Tanzania on the long route to fetch fresh water for their school and families. (Photo credit: ONE)

This time lost means women and girls are more likely than men and boys to disrupt their education and less likely to pursue paid employment and other activities that help increase family incomes and foster economic growth in their communities. Global gross domestic product would increase by as much as $28 trillion if women had the opportunity to participate in the global economy at equal rates to men.

The United States is a leader in promoting women’s rights around the world. By supporting our partner countries in undertaking difficult reforms, as in Cabo Verde, MCC’s investments address barriers to women’s participation in the workforce and empower them to contribute to their countries’ economic growth.

Wide-ranging investments in Cabo Verde’s water and sanitation sector

Despite significant improvements in the water and sanitation sector over the last two decades, Cabo Verde still faces major challenges. As an island nation, Cabo Verde relies on the energy-intensive process of desalinization for clean water, which is made even more costly by the high price of imported fuel to power the national grid. Only 59 percent of people have access to piped water in their home or on their property, just 20 percent of the population is connected to a sewer, and 27 percent of the population is forced to resort to open defecation.


Thanks to an MCC-funded project in Cabo Verde that provided low-cost household connections to water and sanitation networks, Celestina has clean water coming directly to her home. She now spends less time collecting water and has a private, indoor toilet. (Photo credit: MCA-Cabo Verde II)

In 2012, under the MCC-Cabo Verde Compact, the Government of Cabo Verde embarked on ambitious reforms to its water and sanitation sector. Addressing challenges faced by women and other vulnerable groups in accessing water and sanitation shaped each MCC-supported project:

  • An innovative grant facility was established to fund infrastructure and capital investments to utilities on a competitive and transparent basis.
  • A dedicated Social Access Fund was created to improve access to water and sanitation for poor and women-led households — and the fund has already provided more than 3,000 new connections to the water network and more than 2,000 new sanitation facilities, including septic tanks, household plumbing and connections to the public sanitation network.
  • And perhaps most critically, MCC helped the Government of Cabo Verde create new institutions and strengthen existing ones to improve governance, function, and inclusivity in the delivery of water and sanitation services.

Nearly 600,000 people are expected to benefit from MCC’s investments in the sector over the next 20 years.

Creating more inclusive policies and institutions

The creation of entirely new institutions in Cabo Verde offered a unique opportunity to integrate the needs and voices of women and low-income populations at both national and local utility levels.

At the national level, the government launched a National Agency for Water and Sanitation (ANAS) with an Office of Environment and Gender and Social Integration. The Office works with departments to support data-driven social and gender analyses that inform master planning, investments, policy discussions, and monitoring and reporting — all to improve access and affordability. It also engages stakeholders, including civil society, and undertakes national information, education and communication campaigns on water, sanitation, and hygiene.


Members of a new special office within Aguas de Santiago (AdS), a utility on the island of Santiago, work on making the utility more responsive to the needs of women, low-income families, and other vulnerable populations. To deliver more affordable water and sanitation services to the people of Cabo Verde, independently operating municipal and utility water services were consolidated to form AdS as part of the MCC-Cabo Verde Compact. (Photo credit: MCA/Cabo Verde II)

Historically absent from national water and sanitation policy and strategy discussions, women and civil society organizations in Cabo Verde today now have permanent seats on the National Council on Water and Sanitation, a consultative body. MCC’s compact also inspired the creation of a national network on social inclusion and gender in the water and sanitation sector that brings together national ministries, municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, academia and donors to better coordinate resources and ensure the concerns of women and the poor are included in policies and programs.

Cabo Verde’s policies today also now include key provisions that advance physical and economic access to water and sanitation. The country’s national strategic plan for water and sanitation sets minimum consumption goals for water and aims to make water available within a reasonable distance from homes at a cost compatible with incomes. A new tariff policy is already benefitting vulnerable residents by reducing the price of water at community stand-posts to the same price that households connected to the public water network pay. And for customers on the public network, the new tariff policy includes provisions to reduce water bills for low-income households.

A woman pauses before continuing her journey for water in the arid plains of southern Chad.

A woman pauses before continuing her journey for water in the arid plains of southern Chad. Here, as in Cabo Verde, access to water is vital for growth. (Photo credit: Joe Mason/ONE)

At the local level, independently operating municipal and utility water services were consolidated on the island of Santiago into a single corporatized utility called Aguas de Santiago (AdS). The island is home to approximately half of the country’s population. Within this new utility, the Office of Information, Education and Communication, and Social, Gender and Integrated Management helps other units throughout AdS understand the value of improving utility efficiency and revenue by expanding and improving services to women, low-income, and other vulnerable populations. By examining the diversity of users’ needs with regard to access, payment schedules, billing, connections and technologies, this unit is helping AdS adopt practices that meet those needs. And by better serving vulnerable groups, the utility is expanding its customer base to ensure not only its own but also the sector’s long-term sustainability.

Inclusivity is key to economic growth

These groundbreaking institutional reforms undertaken by the Government of Cabo Verde, with MCC’s support, can have a transformative impact for its people. As women and other vulnerable groups gain a greater voice in decision-making and their access to water and sanitation services expands, they will be better positioned to pursue education and employment opportunities that help them lift themselves out of poverty and contribute to the growth of Cabo Verde’s economy for years to come.



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JULY 19, 2017

George Clooney Is Shedding Light on the Crisis No One Is Talking About

A child dies every 10 minutes in these countries.

Tess Sohngen

By Tess Sohngen



Countries in Africa are currently experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen since WWII. Yet, few Americans have even heard about it.

Cue actor George Clooney.

In a recent video for the Global Emergency Response Coalition, Clooney urged Americans to donate to the campaign to support the estimated 20 million people facing starvation.

Take Action: Is the U.S government helping to fight famine?


An alliance of eight of the world’s largest US-based aid organizations formed the Global Emergency Response Coalition in April of 2017. Together they are working to deliver life-saving aid to the millions of children and families in need.

“Americans are the most generous people on the planet. Helping others in ingrained in our spirit. It’s who we are,” Clooney said in the video.

The Global Emergency Response Coalition campaign asks Americans to donate money so the coalition can provide relief to people in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and other neighboring countries where hunger is growing.

The PepsiCo Foundation and BlackRock have pledged to match funds up to $1 million a piece.

Read More: These African Countries May Fall Into Famine by 2018

The campaign comes as a crucial time.

In June, the UN requested $6.1 billion in food aid to address famine, but only 36% has been pledged, including $639 million pledged by the Trump Administration at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month.

"We're in a dire situation right now," Rob Jenkins, acting head of the USAID’s bureau of democracy, told Reuters of the incipient hunger crisis in neighboring Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has not yet reached the famine experienced in the four major countries in the Horn of Africa, but the Famine Early Warning Systems Network predicts conditions will only worsen there and in other neighboring countries.

“In 2011, during a similar multi-country food shortage crisis, the international community failed to act in time and 258,000 people died in Somalia alone. More than half were children. We cannot let this happen again,” the Coalition wrote in their call for donations.  

The Coalition warns that 1.4 million children face “imminent death” from the famine in Africa and Yemen, where currently one child dies every 10 minutes.

child in africa cryingImage: Global Emergency Response Coalition/YouTube.

Clooney, recently the father of twins, is well known for his humanitarian work through his program Not On Our Watch, which draws attention to the genocide in Sudan. He and his wife Amal Clooney, a famous human rights lawyer, cofounded the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) last year, which focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis.

In a longer version of the video for the Coalition, Clooney called on Americans to support the campaign by donating.

Read More: Why 8 Charities Have Partnered With Facebook, Google, Others to Fight Famine

Donations to the Coalition will be divided equally among the eight humanitarian organizations: CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision.

The Coalition also pledged to keep donors informed on the crisis through funding updates and alert them of similar humanitarian programs.

“By giving we can inspire hope where hope is lost and make the world a better place,” Clooney said.

Tess is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. Taking chances on unique opportunities has led her to write for a start-up in London, report for grass root organization in Cincinnati, and volunteer in Zanzibar. Helping create a world in which everyone can achieve wellness, food security, and happiness is her mission.


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JULY 19, 2017

Those Afghan Girls Who Built a Robot? They Just Won Silver Medals

“I still can’t believe this happened.”

By Colleen Curry

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE

afghanistan-robotics-team.jpgJacquelyn Martin/AP

The girls came to America with a dream.

Six burgeoning teen robotics engineers from rural Afghanistan felt certain that the robot they designed and built — an inspiring metal contraption that could speedily collect blue and orange balls in separate compartments — could compete against the best other robot creations from around the world in a global robot-off in Washington, D.C. this week.

And they were right.

On Tuesday, the they were awarded a silver medal for “courageous achievement” at the FIRST Global Challenge in Washington, D.C., according to Al Jazeera.

And while the girls were always confident in their engineering skills, they weren’t so sure they’d get the chance to follow their dreams.

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Earlier this year all six of them were twice denied visas by the US State Department to travel to Washington for the competition, even while teams from Syria, Iran, and Sudan, countries that are included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban, were granted visas to compete.

"We wanted to show our talents to the world so they would know that we do have skills,” Rodaba Noori, one of the teens on the team, told Al Jazeera.

The first visa denial sparked headlines around the world and outcry from advocates who pointed to the US’s longstanding efforts to help educate girls in Afghanistan. Now that they were pursuing educational achievement on the global stage, the US was getting in their way.

Undeterred, the girls traveled 500 miles from their home to Kabul, Afghanistan, to reapply for visas, but were denied again. One-hundred and fifty other teenagers from around the world already had the green light to come and compete.

“When we heard that we were rejected we lost hope," Sumaya Farooqi, 14, told the Associated Press.

With just one week to go before the competition, they were granted a “parole” exception to the visa denial on the basis of “significant public benefit.” President Donald Trump reportedly intervened on the girls’ behalf after hearing about the controversy at the G20 summit in Germany.

"It's my dream to develop robots," Fatima Qadiryan told the Associated Press. "I want to say thank you to the US officials and to the US president who helped us."

"We were not a terrorist group to go to America and scare people," Fatema Ghaderyan, 14, told AFP. "We just wanted to show the power and skills of Afghan girls to Americans."

On Tuesday the judges recognized the Afghan team’s commitment to pursuing their robotic dreams regardless of the challenge and awarded them the medal, praising their “can-do attitude,” according to Al Jazeera.

“I am so excited, and very, very happy,” Ghaderyan told The New York Times. “I still can’t believe this happened.”

The girls wore traditional dress and headscarves to collect their medals alongside teams from South Sudan, which won the gold in the courage category, as well as Europe and Armenia, which took the top spots in the ball-collecting competition, according to The New York Times.

The girls were among 209 female participants in this year’s FIRST competition, about one-quarter of the 830 total participants, according to the report. There were also all-girl teams from the US, Ghana, Jordan, Palestinian territories, and Vanautu.

And there were teams from other war-torn countries like Afghanistan, too. The Syrian team named their robot “Robogee,” a combination of “robot” and “refugee” since all three members had fled the Syrian civil war to Lebanon three years ago, according to the report.

The Afghan team’s robot was named “Better Idea of Afghan Girls,” which, following the team’s determination and success, surely lived up to its name as an ambassador on the global robot stage.

The president of FIRST, former Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, praised the State Department’s eventual decision to allow the girls into the US to compete.

“I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences,” Sestak said.

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.


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JULY 21, 2017

15 Compelling Photos From Around the World This Week

From quinceaneras in Texas to violists in Venezuela, here's what happened this week.

Avery Friedman

By Olivia Kestin  and  Avery Friedman


syria-refugee.jpgSyrian displaced family who fled from Raqqa city the battle between U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Islamic State militants, sit outside their tent at a refugee camp, in Ain Issa town, northeast Syria, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The U.S. military is supporting local Syrian forces in a campaign to drive IS from Raqqa.
Hussein Malla/AP

Protests blazed on against Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura’s. Lanterns lit up the sky in Japan for the country’s annual “Marine Day” holiday, while across the ocean to the west, North Korean girls were photographed selling flowers at a kiosk.

In the Middle East, Refugees from Mosul and Syria continued their daily lives in various displacement camps in hopes of finding a permanent home.

Do you want to see for yourself what happened around the world this week? Global Citizen brings you all of these images and more from around the world this week: 

1) Syrian Refugees: (Above) A displaced Syrian family, who fled from Raqqa city during the battle between U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Islamic State militants, sits outside their tent at a refugee camp, in Ain Issa town, northeast Syria on July 19, 2017.  The U.S. military is supporting local Syrian forces in a campaign to drive IS from Raqqa.

2) Japan Lantern Festival: People stand amongst candles lit inside paper lanterns while looking out at Rainbow Bridge (in background) in Copaiba Marine Park in Tokyo on July 17, 2017, as part of a lantern festival. The festival is held every July as a summer tradition on the Japanese holiday 'Marine Day'.

3) Venezuela Protests: A truck set ablaze by opposition activists block an avenue during a protest burns in Caracas, on July 18, 2017. The Venezuelan opposition called for a 24-hour national civic strike next Thursday to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to withdraw the call to a National Constituent Assembly, after achieving a massive vote of rejection in a symbolic plebiscite.

4) Vietnam Daily Life:  In this photograph taken on July 19, 2017, a bride and groom get their photo taken by a portrait photographer in the streets of downtown Hanoi.

5) Royals in Germany: Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge visit the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin on July 19, 2017. The British royal couple is on a three-day visit in Germany.

Arctic-Sea-Ice.jpgImage: David Goldman/AP

6) Arctic: Ice is broken up by the passing of the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it sails through the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Alaska while traversing the Arctic's Northwest Passage, July 16, 2017. The region has become a magnet for nations wanting to exploit the Arctic’s rich oil reserves and other natural resources and for scientists seeking to understand global warming and its impacts on the sea and wildlife.

Memorial-China-Liu-Xiaobo.jpgImage: Vincent Yu/AP

7) Memorial for Liu Xiaobo: A man pays tribute to late Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo at a downtown park against Victoria Habour in Hong Kong, July 19, 2017. On the seventh day after Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu's death, a day of significance in Chinese mourning rituals, his wife's whereabouts were unknown and her apartment complex remained under a security lockdown, while supporters congregated around the world to mark his passing in their own ways.

8) Iraq Conflict:  A Displaced Iraqi man, who had fled the violence around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as a result of a planned operation to retake the Iraqi city from jihadists, walks at the Jadaah camp on the outskirts of Al-Qayyarah, south of Mosul, on July 19, 2017. On July 10, the authorities announced they had defeated the Islamic State group in Mosul after a nine-month campaign that unleashed destruction of almost unimaginable dimensions on the ancient city.

North-Korea-Daily-Life.jpgImage: Wong Maye-E/AP

9) North Korea Daily Life: North Korean schoolgirls stop at a kiosk selling flowers on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Immigration_Protest_Texas.jpgImage: Eric Gay/AP

10) Protestors in Texas: Young women dressed as Quinceaneras walk through the Texas Capitol to visit lawmakers as they protest SB4, an anti-"sanctuary cities" bill, in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, July 19, 2017Texas' special session continues and conservatives in the legislature plan to work on anti-abortion measures, school vouchers and defying local ordinances in Texas' big and liberal cities.

11) Syria:  Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, drive on the western front in Raqa on July 19, 2017, during an offensive by the SDF to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters.

Western-Wildfires-United-States.jpgImage: Noah Berger/AP

12) Western Wildfires: An air tanker drops retardant while battling a wildfire near Mariposa, Calif., Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The fire has forced thousands of people from homes in and around a half-dozen small communities, officials said.

Venezuela-Political-Protests.jpgImage: Ariana Cubillos/AP

13) Venezuela Protests: Musicians play their instruments as they sit in the middle of a road littered with metro tickets at a roadblock set up by anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his opponents face a crucial showdown Thursday as the country's opposition calls a 24-hour national strike. The country's largest business group, Fedecamaras, has cautiously avoided full endorsement of the strike, but its members have told employees that they won't be punished for coming to work.

Greece-Refugee-Protest.jpgImage: Petros Giannakouris/AP

14) Refugee Protest: Stranded migrants and refugees hold placards as they protest outside the German Embassy in Athens, on Wednesday, July 19, 2917. About a hundred people, most of them from Syria, marched to protest Germany's decision to limit number of family reunification from Greece.

15) South Africa: Residents look from a terrace at municipal workers clearing the belongings of evicted residents of the Fattis Mansion in Johannesburg, on July 21, 2017. Residents of the allegedly illegally occupied building were forcibly removed by dozens of red clad security men and their belongings lay on the pavement outside the building. Several buildings in the central district of Johannesburg are illegally occupied by a large number of residents, often migrants, who live in substandard conditions.

Olivia Kestin is a Photo Editor for Global Citizen. She studied Political Science and Journalism at George Washington University, with an emphasis on Photojournalism. Previously she covered domestic and international news as a Photo Editor with MSNBC.

Avery is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. She attends the University of Michigan and writes for the music beat of the Michigan Daily. She lives to connect with people from all walks of life and believes in the power of narrative to change minds and expand perspective. Avery aims to live her life with empathy and intention.


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Jane Austen Is Having a Moment — But Is She a Feminist Icon?

The answer may lie in the life she led, not the words she wrote.

Tess Sohngen

By Tess Sohngen



Jane Austen may have died 200 years ago, but the famous novelist is having a big week.

The Bank of England announced yesterday that Austen’s portrait will appear on the new £10 note beginning Sept. 14, the bicentennial of the author’s death. A limited supply of£2 coins featuring Austen’s silhouette, designed by Royal Mint, are already in circulation.

"The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen's work,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney told BBC News. “Austen's novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.”

On Tuesday, the first-ever statue of Austen was unveiled in Basingstoke, near the “Pride and Prejudice” author’s birthplace of Steventon in southern England.

Take Action: Remind Leaders To Keep Their Promise To Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment

While it may be universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s novels still impact women’s, and men’s, lives today, the question of whether Austen is a feminist icon is something readers and critics have debated for as long as her novels have lived.


Feminism: "The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men."


Some have argued Austen and the characters in her novel may not fit the feminist idea men and women have today.

Austen was well aware of the expectations and norms of the women of her time. Women were expected to marry, and their living situation depended largely on their male relatives.

But the author herself lived a conventional life. (Her brother even wrote after her death that her life was “not by any means a life of event.”)

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

Although Austen created spirited and strong female leads, some well-read Austenites and critics argue that none challenged social norms or believed that men and women should be treated as equal in every scenario. The evidence is in her stories.


“We live at home, quiet, confined…


Austen’s characters accepted the “universal truth” that they must marry and that their lives were very limited to the boundaries of their home. Characters that pushed the boundaries of what a woman was allowed to do were punished.



But feminism is a dynamic theory, one that has existed for several centuries and has changed with the times.

In the 1900s, feminism was embodied in the belief that women should be allowed to vote. After WWII, feminism was the belief that women should be able to work outside the home whether they had children or not.

In Austen’s time, writing and being published represented a radical, and ultimately feminist, act.


“It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”

"Sense and Sensibility"

In the late 1700s and early 1800s women were not supposed to write novels, and certainly not supposed to be published. Female novelists of the time were still considered “lude and indiscreet,” many taking male pen names so their work was not shunned in bookstores.

Read More: 10 Books Global Citizens Should Read This Summer

Not only did Austen go against this norm by writing and publishing novels, but her stories centered on women with resolve. Her characters did the best they could in the circumstances they found themselves in. They fought for their own happiness and their right to choose.


“I am only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness”

Elizabeth Bennet, "Pride and Prejudice."

While none of Austen’s characters exhibited an overt feminist desire to challenge and go against a societal norm, Austen herself did.

By choosing not to marry and writing novels instead, Austen challenged the notion that unmarried women could not support themselves. Her novels served as vehicles into a realm women had not crossed alone before: the public.

Her first published novel, "Sense and Sensibility," was authored not under her own name, but simply under the pen name "A Lady." 

Read More: Being the youngest chapter book author in US was on this little girl’s to-do list

Although Austen was not the first woman published in England — Mary Wollstonecraft’s  “Vindication of the Rights of Women” was published 20 years before Austen’s first novel — she opened the gates for more women to write and be published.

Up until Wollstonecraft’s novel, female characters and their stories were written by men. Their desires, point of view and experiences were told through men’s perception of the woman’s experience.



"Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story."

Anne Elliot, "Persuasion

When considering the definition of feminism, equality is the focal point. Even in today’s definition of feminism, equality of the sexes — be it equal representation or equal pay — is the root of feminist theory.

Women during Austen’s time were unable to seek equality in the public or private sphere because their voices were not heard (or read) as women’s voices. Whether Austen’s intentions were feminist or not, having their voices and their stories publicly acknowledged was a step toward equality, even if it came in the form of fiction.


“He is a gentleman, and I am a gentleman's daughter. So far we are equal.”


"Pride and Prejuidice"

A man during Austen’s time could not have written her novels. Perhaps that is why Austen’s characters and stories have thrived for 200 years. They are stories of women’s lives told from the experience of a woman.

Tess is an Editorial Intern at Global Citizen. Taking chances on unique opportunities has led her to write for a start-up in London, report for grass root organization in Cincinnati, and volunteer in Zanzibar. Helping create a world in which everyone can achieve wellness, food security, and happiness is her mission.


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Join #GirlsCount and enter to win great prizes!

7 July 2017 10:42AM UTC | By: MICAELA IVESON


Every girl counts.

130 million girls don’t have access to an education. So we’re asking the world to count them, one by one.


There are more than 130 million girls globally who are denied an education. We know that this unfortunate reality can have a significant impact on their lives, and the lives of their future children. To curb this trend, world leaders must take urgent action to get these girls in school and keep them there. That’s why we launched #GirlsCount — a movement of activists around the world who are joining together to sound the alarm on the girls’ education crisis, by counting each and every one of them — all the way from 1 to 130 million.

And the response has been awe-inspiring.


Thousands of mothers, daughters, sons & fathers — and everyone from Malala Yousafzai to the Count himself — have joined this movement. We’re so inspired by this global rallying cry that we decided to launch a competition to find the most creative #GirlsCount videos from all over. So now is the time to grab your friends and family — and even your pets, if you want! — and come up with your best and brightest ideas to show world leaders that every girl counts.

From now until August 2, each week we’ll pick one video to win our special prize package — including a ONE t-shirt, ONE beaded bracelet, ONE band, and exclusive Moleskine notebook. Winning videos will also be featured on ONE’s Facebook page to help spread the word!

How to Enter:

  1. Go to one.org/girlscount
  2. Choose an available number and record your video in support of out-of-school girls globally.
  3. Share your video on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtags #GirlsCount and #ONEGiveaway. Tell your friends and family why girls’ education is important to you, and invite them to join the count!
  4. Make sure your post is public — winners will be contacted through their social media channel.

Join the count now!

Legal disclaimer:

Limit one prize package per entry. Eligible participants must live in the United States or United Kingdom, must be at least 13 years of age or older, and must include both hashtags (#GirlsCount and #ONEGiveaway) in the post. The first contest window officially begins at midnight on July 5, 2017, ending at 11:59pm the following Wednesday; each subsequent week will follow the same schedule, with the final contest window ending at 11:59pm on August 2, 2017. By entering this contest, you are giving ONE permission to share your post on social media. Winners will be chosen at the sole and absolute discretion of ONE.

Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash and are not transferable. No purchase or sale necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored by or associated with third parties such as Facebook, Inc. or Twitter, Inc.

Sponsor information: The ONE Campaign, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20004



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6 things young people can do to change the world

27 May 2016 4:08PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER


Join the fight against extreme poverty


This is a guest blog post from our ONE Youth Ambassador, Dannee McGuire.

Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow – they’re making huge changes to the world around them, right now. Whether it’s through social media or ‘hashtag’ activism, writing online or in their paper about a cause, or taking part in a protest, there are many ways that young people can ‘be the change’ and make a difference to the world.

1. Volunteer


I-Volunteer (1)

Many young people volunteer in some way these days. It’s not just for adding experience to your CV – whether it’s a teaching or sports project, to animals and conservation work, to a hospice or a community centre, you can make a real difference!

Usually, the more local you can volunteer, or the more focused the action point, the better! Volunteering abroad can often be a great experience, and definitely life changing, but ‘voluntourism‘ projects aimed for young people aren’t always the best way to help communities. To start with, focus on how you can help your local area or a cause within your country.

2. Write to your political representative


A great way to start writing to your political representative is researching what some of your favourite charities are doing. Many charities, such as anti-poverty or environmental ones, will be running advocacy campaigns with petitions or with options to write to your representative regarding the issue. Through these, you can learn the best ways you can ask your representative to take action.

MPs want to hear from their constituents and what they’re interested in – that’s their job! However, they can’t tackle poverty or climate change singlehandedly – what they really want is to know what they can personally do about it. Write to them, or even ask for a meeting with them, and show them what you think they should be focusing on.

3. Use online platforms to reach others


There’s never been a greater time in history for reaching out to millions of people around the world. You’ve probably seen how a single Twitter hashtag can create massive social awareness, such as #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. What hashtags can you contribute to, or even create?

If longer writing is more your thing, writing for an online portal like Huffington Postis a great place to start. You can write blogs and original content for HuffPo to reach new audiences, and if it’s featured then you could see your article reaching thousands of people.

4. Giving other young people a role


One of the best ways you can make a difference is to inspire others to join you. Not only are you teaching other young people about important issues, but you’re encouraging them to teach others too. That’s one reason why many charities and organisations have resources for young people who want to get involved as an ambassador for their cause. But you can do the same thing! Maybe you want to launch a campaign on raising awareness of a social issue, for example, but you need help to do everything. If you can create a team to join you, by giving everyone a role as an ambassador and a change agent, you’re helping them to put their own ideas into reality and make a much wider difference.

5. Think out of the box


Why do videos, campaigns, or pictures go viral? Normally a big reason behind this is because it’s something not many people will have seen before, which makes it ‘shareable’. By finding a way to make a difference in a completely unique way, you can find ways to reach entirely new audiences.

6. Join ONE

ONE is an international advocacy and campaigning organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness through campaigns such as Poverty is Sexist, and Stand with Eva.

Want to see how young people are changing the world right NOW? Follow #ONEYouth2016 to see what our Youth Ambassadors and ONE Champions are up to at the 2016 Annual ONE Summit!



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