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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Here are the 12 African game changers you need to know

20 April 2017 4:50PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

 
   

Who is changing the game in Africa? That’s the question NewAfricanWoman magazine put to the public as they prepared to host the New African Woman Awards 2017 – an annual ceremony that honors and celebrates Africa’s most influential and impactful women. After weeks of nominations a special panel of judges took on the tough task of narrowing the candidates down to just twelve winners. Here are this year’s winners:

New African Woman of the Year: Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajan, Gambia
Vice-President of the Gambia, Minister of Women Affairs and a fierce human rights activist she’s rightfully claimed this award for her key contributions to the ouster of Gambia’s former long-term leader, Yahya Jammeh.

New African Woman in Civil Society: Chief Theresa Kachindamoto, Malawi
With over 300 child marriage annulments under her belt, you can bet Chief Kachindamoto is a force to be reckoned with. A strong advocate against the practice, she played a major role in influencing the Malawian government to outlaw child marriage altogether earlier this year.

AF-Women-Award-Individual-Graphic1.jpgNew African Women in Health, Science and Technology: Dr. Helena Ndume, Namibia
We can’t think of a doctor more deserving of a win. Dr. Helena Ndume is a game changing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon who’s provided vision restoring surgery to over 35,000 Namibians for free.

New African Woman on the Rise (The Next Generation): Vivian Onano, Kenya
This avid youth activist (and ONE Member!) has called for improved girls rights and strongly encourages men to get involved in the fight for equal rights. As a UN Women Youth Advisor, it’s clear that she’s on the path to achieve her goals.

New African Woman in Politics and Public Office: Amina J. Mohammed, Nigeria
Years of experience have earned Amina a key position with the United Nations as its Deputy Secretary-General. The former Nigerian Minister of Environment played a big role in assessing how the Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals would impact African women across the continent.

AF-Women-Award-Individual-Graphic2.jpgNew African Woman in Arts and Culture: Joan Okorodudu, Nigeria
Joan Okorodudu is the brains and force behind one of Africa’s fastest growing modeling agencies and is credited with raising the profile of Nigerian fashion to a global level.

New African Woman Award in Education: Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe
We know educating young girls and boys is one of the best ways to equip them for success in life. As the founder of the Higherlife Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides vulnerable and orphaned children with scholarships which has already benefitted over 250,000 children, it’s clear Tsitsi Masiyiwa knows this too!

AF-Women-Award-Individual-Graphic4.jpgNew African Woman in Finance: Binta Touré Ndoye, Mali
Competition for this award was high, but Binta’s game changing work with Oragroup – a Malian banking enterprise – earned her the top spot.

New African Woman in Media: Amira Yahyaoui, Tunisia
This blogger and political activist is a brazen advocate for human rights, transparency and public accountability. Amira’s goal is to empower citizens to participate in civil society and to encourage governments to establish good governance and political ethics.

New African Woman in Agriculture: Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Uganda
The former African Union Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development played a key role in promoting the importance of food security across the continent. Throughout her career she has championed women’s empowerment and poverty eradication.AF-Women-Award-Individual-Graphic3.jpgNew African woman Award in Business: Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch, Morocco
She’s one of Africa’s most successful businesswomen. Heading up the Akwa Group franchise group Askal landed her 68th place on Forbes Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen.

New African Woman in Sport: Fatma Samoura, Senegal
Fatma’s not only the first female Secretary General of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), she is also the first non-European to hold the role!

Congratulations to all of the well-deserving winners and nominees!

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This all-woman team is helping other female entrepreneurs in Uganda adopt new tech
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TECHNOLOGY

This all-woman team is helping other female entrepreneurs in Uganda adopt new tech

20 January 2017 12:47PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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By Rebecca Rwakabukoza

At a recent Women in Business summit in Kampala, Uganda, most of the professionals agreed: For female entrepreneurs in Uganda, one of the most significant gaps is in information.

In fact, that’s what pushed Zimba Women, a flagship project of tech company Zimba Group, to host the summit in the first place. With the intention of providing information and valuable networking opportunities, Zimba Women invited professionals from different technology and business fields, both in the private and public sector.

IMG_40111-1024x768.jpg

Peace, Stella, and Sherry at work.

The Zimba Group is led by a core of four women: Sherry Tumusiime, Stella Nassali, Peace Kuteesa, and Elizabeth Kasujja. With an all-female founding team, it was natural that they were more attuned to the needs of women in the technology space they were occupying.

The group started with 20 women-owned businesses, but now works with around 250.

“But we found that we had to do more than tech tools for businesses,” Sherry says. She gives an example of a soap making business’ transition to take advantage of the digital space. “You can’t just put online that now you have handmade soap. You need to think of sizes and packaging. That’s not technology; it’s business development.”

Stella, a brand manager with a background in business computing and project management, adds that they ended up offering basic packages. “We started with simple packages in Microsoft Office and use of a smartphone.”

IMG_40281-1024x768.jpg

Vanessa updates her business’ Facebook page.

The transition to technology is not always an easy one. Sherry says delivery can be a logistical nightmare, but is quick to add that while technology forces you to rethink your entire strategy, it makes the process flows in business quicker and more efficient.

Stella adds that online operations give an edge to businesses in a time when, due to higher rent and taxation, many are folding and closing shop.

And for some of the women they have worked with, business has been good: For example, Vanessa Ntezi learned to use Facebook and Instagram to boost sales for her apparel store, Neza Fashion Hub. When clients appear indecisive on an item, Vanessa is quick to whip out her phone and show them different images of models wearing the clothes. “But I don’t think I have fully utilised the opportunity,” she says. “In 2017 though, I am projecting about 10 percent of my sales coming from online.”

IMG_40191-1024x768.jpg

Vanessa takes a call in her shop.

Zimba Women is anxious to get more women to maximise tech tools in business. “Men are already using technology, while some women fear whatever seems to be too technical,” Stella says of the gender gap.

“There is a lot of opportunity out there, but there is a lack of awareness,” says Sherry.

“Do you know how many men were contacting us to attend our summit? They even offered to pay to attend; yet it was a free event.”

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20 January 2017 12:47PM UTC

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People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

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JULY 31, 2017

This Big Bank Will Run Entirely on Renewable Energy by 2020

The firm owns approximately 75 million square feet across more than 60 countries.

Jackie Marchildon
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New York-based banking firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced on Friday that the company plans to run exclusively on renewable energy by 2020.

In order to do so, the firm will install renewable energy generators and sign power purchase agreements with renewable energy projects. They have committed to reducing overall energy consumption as well. They are also committing $200 billion to clean financing through 2025.

Read More: Wind Energy Powered All of Scotland’s Households for Six Months

On-site solar power generation and small-capacity fuel cells will be installed at retail locations. Solar power generation and large-capacity fuel-cell technology will be installed at commercial sites. The pilot program for solar panel installation will be implemented at Chase branches in California and New Jersey.

JPMorgan Chase said it will install LED lights at approximately 4,500 Chase locations, in partner with GE’s Current, and will link building systems to further reduce energy consumption. Thermal energy blankets will be placed above ceiling tiles in more than 1,700 retail branches.

Read More: Jimmy Carter Now Powers Half of His Hometown With Solar Panels

Competitor companies like Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have already made similar efforts by agreeing to purchase power from renewable-energy suppliers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

JPMorgan Chase's decision has been well received by environmentalists, organizations and clean energy companies.

 

 

“Business must play a leadership role in creating solutions that protect the environment and grow the economy,” Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement. “This global investment leverages the firm's resources and our people's expertise to make our operations more energy efficient and provide clients with the resources they need to develop more sustainable products and services.”

 

 

 

The company owns approximately 75 million square feet with 5,500 properties across more than 60 countries.

Jackie Marchildon is a Bilingual Editor at Global Citizen in Toronto.

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JULY 31, 2017

15 Quotes That Prove J.K. Rowling Is a Magical Global Citizen

Happy Birthday to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter!

Tess Sohngen

By Tess Sohngen

 

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jk-rowling-birthday-quotes.jpgJoel Ryan/Invision/AP
 

Some stories will stick with us no matter how old we grow.

JK Rowling’s beloved “Harry Potter” is one of those stories. With over 400 million copies sold worldwide, “Harry Potter” beats out stories like “Lord of the Rings” and “The Diary of Anne Frank,” in terms of its global reach.

Take Action: Give Children Access to the Quality Education They Deserve

The fantastical story not only tells a happy tale, but also imparts with the reader bits of wisdom and advice to inspire people to do good. Of course, those bits of wisdom stem from its author (and an inspiring global citizen), J.K. Rowling.

Today, on J.K. Rowling’s 52nd birthday (and what would be Harry Potter’s 37th), Global Citizen is sharing some of our favorite quotes from the witty author and her novels that show why she is one of the most inspiring (and magical) global citizens in the world:

 

via GIPHY

1. “Are you the sort of person who gloats when they see a woman fall, or the kind that celebrates a magnificent recovery?” — J.K. Rowling, on Twitter

Here, Rowling came to Madonna’s defense and silenced haters on Twitter who were making fun of the Queen of Pop after she took a tumble at the Brit Awards in 2015.

2. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” — “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Not known for being one to respect authority, this bit of wisdom came from Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, while trying to break up an argument between Ron and Hermione about house elves.

 

via GIPHY

Read More: J.K. Rowling’s 14-Tweet Thread on Misogyny Is Even Better Than ‘Harry Potter’

3. “Years ago someone wrote [about me]: ‘She characterizes Molly Weasley as a mother who is only at home looking after the children.’ I was deeply offended, because I until a year before that had also been such a mother who was at home all the time taking care of her child […] What has lesser status and is more difficult than raising a child? And what is more important?” — J.K. Rowling

During an interview in 2007  Rowling talked about the importance of motherhood and other parts of her life.

4. “But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This iconic line was delivered by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the third book in the series.

 

via GIPHY

5. “I believe in free will. Of those that, like us, are in a privileged situation at least. For you, for me: people who are living in western society, people who are not repressed, who are free. We can choose. The things go largely like you want them to go. You control your own life. Your own will is extremely powerful.” — J.K. Rowling

This is just one of many quotes the author has made over the years about facing adversity, fate and destiny.

6. “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” — “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is another famous quote by Albus Dumbledore that he imparts on the students at Hogwarts.

7. “I cannot criticize my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticized only by fools.” — J.K. Rowling

Rowling, in her 2008 Harvard Commencement Address, titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”

 

via GIPHY

Read More: 16 Badass Feminist Quotes from 'Beauty & the Beast' Star Emma Watson

8. “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” — “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

Sirius Black gave this advice during a time when Harry struggled with his desire to do the right thing and get revenge for his parents’ murder.

9. “The truth is that you don’t think a girl would have been clever enough!”  — “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Hermione Granger delivered this zinger while arguing with Ron and Harry about the identity of the half-blood Prince.

 

via GIPHY

10. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.” — J.K. Rowling

Rowling, in her 2008 Harvard Commencement Address, titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”

11. "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." — “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Albus Dumbledore gave this advice/warning to the students of Hogwarts in the fifth book in the series.

12. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default." — J.K. Rowling

Rowling in her 2008 Harvard Commencement Address, titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”

 

via GIPHY

13. “Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more, believing in yourself.” — “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter said this to the group of students secretly training to fight Voldemort.

14. "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” — “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Albus Dumbledore gives this advice to Harry in the very first book of the series.

15. “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” — J.K. Rowling

Rowling, in her 2008 Harvard Commencement Address, titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”

 

via GIPHY

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 31, 2017

This Massive UK Supermarket Just Cut ‘Tampon Tax’ for 100 Period Products

Way to go Tesco! ?

Meghan Werft

By Meghan Werft

Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE

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Tesco just became the first supermarket in the United Kingdom to cover the cost of the controversial “tampon tax” for customers. 

Now, 100 sanitary products will cost 5% less at Tesco — accounting for the tax that the government adds to menstrual products — because the supermarket announced it will pay the VAT, or luxury tax, itself, instead of waiting for the government.  

The tax will be repealed in full in 2018, after former Prime Minister David Cameron persuaded the UK government to repeal from tampons, pads, and other sanitary products last year last year

Cameron was spurred by the more than 300,000 UK residents who signed a Change.org petition and after years of campaigning by advocates, according to the Guardian.

“Tesco’s new period scheme is a bold and brave one. Reducing their period products by 5% to cover tampon tax not only helps our protest against the sexist tax, but it also helps to fight period poverty across the UK, too,” Laura Coryton, who started the “Stop Taxing Periods” Change.org petition in the UK told the Huffington Post.

“This is an important breakthrough, it means Britain will be able to have a zero-rate VAT for sanitary products, meaning the end of the tampon tax,” Cameron said during a speech to the House of Commons in March 2016. 

Read More: Australian Senate Votes to Keep Tax on Tampons

For Tesco, 2018 was too far into the future, and waiting that long would unfairly affect too many women. 

“For many of our customers, tampons, panty-liners and sanitary towels are essential products,” Michelle McEttrick, Tesco group brand director, said in a statement. “However, the cost of buying them every month can add up, and for many women and girls it can be a real struggle on top of other essential items. That’s why we are reducing the cost of these products by 5%.”

This isn’t the first time Tesco has made a business decision that doubled as an act of gender equality, either.

In January, Tesco, reduced the price of women’s razors so they would cost the same as men’s shaving products. 

As the UK begins ending what is widely considered to be an unfair tax against women, other countries are following their lead. 

Read More: ‘Tax on Blood’: Campaign to Stop Tampon Tax in India Goes Viral

In India, where 300 million girls miss out on school during their period, over 200,000 have signed a petition to end taxes on sanitary products. 

Australia held a vote to strike down the tampon tax, but it failed. And the United Stateshas made some progress on the country’s “pink tax.” In the past year, Illinois and New York joined 10 other states to end taxes on sanitary products. 

A developing country, meanwhile, may be doing the most to help women access the health products they need. 

In June, the Kenyan government announced a new law to provide school girls free sanitary products. 

In the years ahead, that may be the standard that countries aspire to. 

In the UK, Tesco’s decision has been met largely with praise and hope that other retailers will consider absorbing the tax too. 

“I hope to see more retailers following their groundbreaking footsteps. Period!” the campaigner, Coryton, said

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

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About Our Partner

CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. The campaign uses innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Co-founded by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault, CHIME FOR CHANGE works with a coalition of partner organizations, including the Kering Foundation, Facebook, and Hearst Magazines.

 

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786
GIRLS AND WOMEN

How this amazing school quickly improved girls’ attendance

23 May 2017 2:36PM UTC | By: MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO

GIRLS COUNT

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.

 
  

When Jennifer Thuo talks about her students, it’s with enthusiasm and a wide smile.

“One thing I can say with pride is that I have helped improve the lives of girls,” she says. “I believe they are the future game changers and should be supported in every way.”

Jennifer, the Swahili and history teacher at City Shine Secondary School in Kayole, Nairobi.

Jennifer, the Swahili and history teacher at City Shine Secondary School in Kayole, Nairobi.

Jennifer is the Swahili and history teacher at City Shine Secondary School in Kayole, an informal settlement on the Eastern side of Nairobi. Before she started working in this less affluent part of the city, Jennifer had not given much consideration to the difficulties girls encounter when they start their period.

“In my previous school, the children were from relatively privileged backgrounds and could easily buy disposable pads,” she says. “But when I moved here I realised that most girls cannot afford them, and it’s hard for them to attend school because of that.”

In a 2015 study of over 3000 women in rural Western Kenya, 75% of females reported using commercial pads and 25% used traditional materials such as cloth or items like paper or tissue, which can be unhygienic and could lead to infection. In the same study, one in ten 15-year-old girls reported engaging in sex for money to buy sanitary pads.

Students at work at City Shine Secondary School.

Students at work at City Shine Secondary School.

Lydia Gikandi of City Shine Foundation first realised that menstruation was impeding girls’ education when she noticed girls dropping out of school as they entered puberty.

“Most of them could not afford pads and wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to school,” says Lydia.

This was one of the issues that forced Fridah, an 18-year-old student at City Shine, to miss three or four days of school every month.

“It was really tricky,” she says. “My mum was not able to buy me pads, and I was afraid of coming to school when I was on my period.”

Fridah and her friend Rosemary at school.

Fridah and her friend Rosemary at school.

Seeing so many bright and promising young girls drop out of school inspired City Shine Foundation to partner with AFRIpads, a social business that locally manufactures reusable sanitary pads. Now, every girl receives a packet of pads at the beginning of the school year.

Since then, according to Jennifer, there has been a noticeable decrease in girls dropping out or missing school because of their menstruation. Fridah, too, says that she and her friends who use Afripads rarely miss school because of their period.

AfriPads provides supplies to the students of City Shine Secondary School.

AfriPads provides supplies to the students of City Shine Secondary School.

But both staff and students agree that simply having access to sanitary products is not the ultimate solution. For the girls, the biggest and most positive change has been the shift in attitude towards their bodies and knowing that they should not feel ashamed of them.

“We use the distribution of sanitary pads as an entry point to talk about other issues affecting the girls,” says Lydia. ͞”We talk to them about menstrual hygiene, sexual health, and about their place in the world as women.”

Menstrual health education is now included in the school’s curriculum, and boys also take part in the lessons. Now, Fridah can’t help but laugh at the idea that she should be embarrassed about her period.

Female students in class at City Shine Secondary School.

Female students in class at City Shine Secondary School.

Adrian Dongus, AFRIpads’ Regional Business Development Manager, believes that there is a definite link between access to cost effective, quality menstrual products and girls’ school attendance. Yet, he knows that this is not the silver bullet it is sometimes depicted as. Rather, dignified menstrual health is a precondition to a girl’s education.

“It’s crucial for girls to feel comfortable, secure, and safe,” says Adrian, “adding that it’s less to do with the product itself than it is with the dignity that comes with it.”

Jennifer teaching at the front of a City Shine classroom.

Jennifer at the front of a City Shine classroom.

Breaking the taboo around menstruation is a crucial step in ensuring that girls receive the quality education they deserve, and ultimately lead a healthy and dignified life. Strong role models like Lydia, Jennifer, and other school staff — both male and female – are an important part of achieving this goal.

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.

JOIN THE COUNT

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MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO
23 May 2017 2:36PM UTC

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JULY 31, 2017

Sheryl Sandberg Just Pinpointed Why We Don’t Have Enough Female Leaders

“We start telling little girls not to lead.”

Phineas Rueckert
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sheryl-sandberg-facebook-flickr.jpgFlickr/Fortune Live Media
 

Who run the world?! Apparently it should be Sheryl Sandberg. 

Facebook Chief Operating Officer, nonprofit founder, mother, and Beyoncé fan, Sandberg does it all. Yesterday, she appeared on BBC 4’s “Desert Island Discs” and opened up about the gender pay gap, her husband’s death, and her favorite songs. 

“Desert Island Discs” is a long-running BBC radio show in which artists, writers, and public figures name eight music tracks they would bring on a desert island. It has featured artist Ed Sheeran, activist Gloria Steinem, and entrepreneur Bill Gates. 

Take Action: Help Women Around the World Through the Products You Buy

Throughout the 40-plus minute radio segment, Sandberg spoke eloquently about the need for women in leadership roles. 

“We start telling little girls not to lead at very young ages and we start telling little boys to lead at very young ages and that’s a mistake,” she said. “No matter what the cultural differences for women all over the world, all over the world we expect men to lead and women to do for others.” 

Her first desert island pick, Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls),” reflected this message. 

“Beyonce’s message that women can run the world, that women should run the world, her message that she’s the boss, I think, is super important for not just women but girls and boys to hear.” 

Read More: Pharrell Williams to NYU Grads: ‘We Need to Lift Women Up’

Sandberg also spoke in-depth about the “imposter syndrome,” in which even the most competent, qualified women feel less qualified than men to perform the same job or task. 

“We know that women more than men suffer from the imposter syndrome and systematically underestimate their own performance,” Sandberg said. “I definitely struggled with self-doubt.”

She noted that this confidence gap begins at an early age, as young boys are encouraged to take on leadership positions, while young girls are not. 

“We need leaders of all types,” she said. “I believe everyone has inside them the ability to lead and we should let people choose that not based on gender, but on who they are and who they want to be.” 

Read More: Girl, 7, Wrote a Letter to Google, and Got a Response She Never Expected

Sandberg’s interview came at a good time. Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Refinery29 reports, which means that black women would have to work all of 2016 and through today to make the same as white men made in 2016 alone. 

 

via GIPHY

The pay gap for Latinas, Refinery29 adds, is even more substantive. 

For women in many professions, women are underrepresented in leadership roles. In film, the top 10 female actors made half as much as the top paid male actors in 2016. A recent study showed that female doctors made $51,000 less than male doctors at public medical schools. 

The same is true in the tech world, where Sandberg is a leading figure. Women hold just 11% of leadership roles at Silicon Valley companies and found a mere 5% of startups. 

“We need to start paying women well and we need public policy and corporate policy to get there, but certainly women applying for jobs at the same rate as men, women running for office at the same rate as men, that’s gotta be part of the answer,” Sandberg said.  

Sandberg, through her non-profit Lean In, is on the front lines of this battle.  

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.

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The amazing reason why a Zimbabwe soap business is cleaning up
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AID AND DEVELOPMENT

The amazing reason why a Zimbabwe soap business is cleaning up

June 5 2017 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

STOP THESE CUTS

Stop Pres. Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign aid

 
  

Story and photos by Ray Mwareya

Rudo Mazhande, 32, stands smiling in a warehouse among several hundred huge bars of green soap. A crisp, clean scent wafts through the air. This is Rudo’s factory, where she now employs seven people. And once you hear her story, it’s easy to see why she might be happy.

Despite being a trained chemical engineer, Rudo struggled for years to use her skills. “I have never got a job in my field,” she says. “Because of limited choices, I ended up becoming a high school teacher. I quit in less than a year. I felt my skills were lost there.”

Rudo is part of Zimbabwe’s so-called “wasted golden generation” — highly educated young women and men who find it difficult to get jobs in an economy where the unemployment rate is 90 percent, according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Budget_Soap_Blog5.jpg

In 2016, Rudo became so desperate that she decided to convert her spare room to begin making detergents, polish, and soap. For a young woman living in Highfields, one of the poorest townships in Harare, it was a brave move.

“That a jobless woman could manufacture soap in a township bedroom… it was a trial and error belief,” she laughs. “My first product was a horrible failure. The soap came out appearing like a messy porridge. But I persevered.”

In March 2016, a chance encounter with USAID changed everything.

Budget_Soap_Blog4.jpg

“While strolling I discovered a poster stuck on a tree,” she says. “It invited young entrepreneurs to attend free finance management skills training.”

USAID Zimbabwe was funding the course through its partnership with Junior Achievement Zimbabwe, a forum for youth business growth aggregators.

“It was the spark I needed,” says Rudo. The training gave Rudo the confidence to invest $300 savings into her new business. “Loans, borrowings, even pocket money. Everything was thrown into the adventure.”

Budget_Soap_Blog6.jpg

But the initial reaction of her community to her soap was dismal, she says. “Shop owners didn’t trust us. They preferred to stock soap from Dubai, South Africa or India. We shun locally manufactured products as Zimbabweans. You have to explain to people why you are making soap from your family home and why your product has a poor township address. It is sad.”

“That is when the USAID training made a difference,” she says. “From our course, I obeyed the advice to invest in proper marketing. I sent foot soldiers, our marketing team that showed samples of our soap to hotels, restaurants, and schools.”

The response has been overwhelming, and in June 2016, Rudo was able to move her business to a proper industrial workshop. She also stopped making detergents and concentrated soap due to the amount of competition. Instead, her main product is a 750-gram laundry soap bar that sells for 50 cents, as well as a smaller bar for 40 cents.

Budget_Soap_Blog2.jpg

“This is geared towards the hygiene needs of poor communities,” she says. “Our prices are more competitive than foreign soaps lumped into Zimbabwe’s economy.”

“Yesterday,” she says before pausing, “Yesterday, I sold two tons of soap.” She whistles with joy: “It was massive — two tons gone in a day! The demand and market for soap is mightier than what we can produce.”

With her new factory, her finances have improved, too.

Budget_Soap_Blog3.jpg

“My income has shot up,” she says. “I now have seven employees, all hailing from Highfields township. It is my way of giving back.”

She’s also taken steps to modernize her operations, like renting a bowl mixer to help her team produce soap faster. She’d love to buy the mixers outright, but since they sell at $3,000 each in Zimbabwe, renting is the only option for the moment.

But her scientific background is apparent in her zeal when discussing her soaps’ formula: “No one has given me technical advice in making soap,” she says. “I experiment this or that ratio with oil or emulsifiers until everything settles. Great businesses are born of chaotic experiments.”

Stop Pres. Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign aid

Dear Congress, Please oppose President Trump’s proposed cuts - nearly ⅓ - to life-saving programs in the International Affairs Budget.

STOP THESE CUTS

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7 things you didn’t know about Nelson Mandela
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7 things you didn’t know about Nelson Mandela

19 July 2016 1:55PM UTC | By: SAMANTHA URBAN

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Mandela Day is celebrated around the world each year to mark the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18. We’ve talked about the many, many, MANY ways he’s inspired us here at ONE, so we thought we’d take this year to learn more about the man himself! Here are a few things you may not have known about Nelson Mandela:

1. His birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela. His primary school teacher gave him the name Nelson.

2. He liked boxing! Unsurprisingly it was not the violence of the sport that appealed to him, but the fact that “Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, colour and wealth are irrelevant…”

3. A self-admitted poor student, he left both the University of the Witwatersrand AND the University of London without completing a degree. (Mandela eventually got an law degree from the University of South Africa in 1989, during the last months of his imprisonment. He also had honorary degrees from more than 50 universities around the world!)
MandelaGraphic_Impossible_1200x1200

4. He passed secret messages in prison. By leaving notes in empty matchboxes and under stacks of dirty dishes, Mandela managed to organise a hunger strike in order to improve the living conditions on Robben Island.

5. He forgot his reading glasses in prison! Upon the release from his last and longest prison sentence, Mandela was taken to give a public address. When he took out his speech, he realised he had left his reading glasses behind and had to borrow a pair.

6. One of his sons passed away due to AIDS. Mandela’s public announcement of his son’s condition helped break the stigma of the disease in South Africa: “Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like tuberculosis, like cancer, is always to come out and to say somebody has died because of HIV/AIDS. And people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary.” After his presidency, Mandela started the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which focused on fighting HIV/AIDS.
MandelaGraphic_Poverty_1200x1200-600x600
7. As we said earlier, the United Nations proclaimed Mandela’s birthday (July 18) to be Mandela Day. On that day, people are supposed to spend 67 minutes doing something good for others, which represents the 67 years he spent working toward change.

(Research by Jessica Matthew and Samantha Urban. Facts from NelsonMandela.org, TheBody.com, BBC, YourDictionary, and DoSomething.)

It may not take 67 minutes, but here’s something good you can do for others: Join Patricia and Consolata in their fight against gender inequality and HIV.

Join the fight against extreme poverty

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SAMANTHA URBAN
19 July 2016 1:55PM UTC

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