Political Powerhouses: Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia in 1982. She came from a big family, the youngest of seven children. She was raised by her father and grandfather after her mother died when she was still young. In 1991, civil war broke out in Somalia, and she and her family were forced to flee to Kenya. Ilhan and her family spent four years in a refugee camp there before they immigrated to Minnesota. Ilhan graduated with a degree in political science and international studies from North Dakota State University. Afterwards, she worked as a Community Nutrition Educator with the University of Minnesota. She...

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Famous Female Outlaws: Domino Harvey

Domino Harvey (1969-2005) was a British bounty hunter in America. She came from a privileged background with parents in the entertainment business. Her father, Laurence Harvey, was an actor and mother Paulene Stone was a fashion model. Tragedy struck early when Laurence died when Domino was only 4 years old. She was brought up by her mother in upmarket London. Domino was a rebellious child who fought with other children, and got expelled from several of the boarding schools she attended. As a young adult she had a varied career: she studied sound engineering and worked as a DJ in clubs...

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No Time For Fear – Politicking Girls: Venezuelan policies impact women and girls

Venezuela has been in the midst of a deep and crippling recession since 2014. This recession and the subsequent political and economic policies enacted in the Latin American country have had a devastating impact on women and girls. Stories that come out of the country are heartbreaking. In February, a nine-year-old girl died from diphtheria, a treatable infection for which there is a vaccine. The girl went to four different hospitals where there was a shortage of medicine and later died Daniela, a 14-year-old girl with cancer, could have gotten diagnosed earlier. Instead, doctors decided to...

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HeForShe Global Head speaks in Seneca Falls

The keynote speaker for Seneca Falls’ Convention Days was Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the Global Head of the HeForShe initiative. Nyamayaro is also the senior advisor to the Under Secretary-General and the Executive Director for UN Women. In addition to her speech on July 15, I got to ask her about her work with the HeForShe initiative and the state of gender equality worldwide. Nyamayaro was born in a small village in Zimbabwe. When she was a child, drought affected her community and she survived with the help of UN aid workers. Clad in a blue uniform, which she vividly remembers, the aid worker’s...

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Mythological Girls: Pattini / Kannaki

Pattini is the guardian deity of Sri Lanka in the Sinhala Buddhist religion, while also being worshipped as Kannaki by the Tamil Hindus. In Sri Lanka she is also the patron goddess of fertility and health, particularly in protection against smallpox. Kannaki is the central character in the Silapadhikaram by Ilango Adigal, written in 5th or 6th century CE India. The text was introduced in Sri Lanka shortly after, and quickly became adopted into the mythology of the island. The story itself is said to take place in the 1st or 2nd centuries CE and tells of a human, Kannaki, and the relationship...

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Political Powerhouses: Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters began her political career in 1976 in the California Assembly. Today, she is one of 12 black women in Congress, having represented the State of California since 1991. She’s recently been in the news due to her criticism of the 45th president. She received even more coverage when TV host Bill O’Reilly mocked and dismissed her, saying, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.” Though he later offered a (non)apology, Ms Waters replied on Twitter, “I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I’m not...

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Attending Convention Days 2017 in Seneca Falls

This past weekend, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York put on Convention Days. Convention Days is held annually in honor of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls. This year has special significance because 2017 marks 100 years since women in New York State achieved the right to vote. Participating organizations in the three-day event included UN Women, HeForShe and the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation. The event schedule and other partners can be found here. I went to Convention Days on Saturday and got to experience two of the things that drew...

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Musical Gals: Barbara Strozzi

Music Period: Baroque era (1600 – 1750) Location: Venice, Italy Claim to Fame: Barbara published eight collections of her works and her music used the words with the music to portray meaning. There lies an air of mystery when looking at Barbara Strozzi (1619 – 1677). What we do know, however, brings to light an intriguing musical figure who is one of the most outstanding female composers in history. From a young age, she studied under respected musicians, and went on to publish eight collections of her music within her lifetime. This was an incredible achievement in the male-dominated world...

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Girls in Podcasts: How to Be A Girl

Looking for something to listen to on your morning commute? Want to learn about girls over your lunch? There are loads of amazing podcasts out there about and by girls. Join us as we share some of our favorites in this series. The podcast How To Be A Girl is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. If you’re scared of welling up in public, I wouldn’t recommend listening during the commute. Marlo Mack, a pseudonym, is the mother of a transgender daughter, who also blogs her story at Gender Mom. Marlo tells the story of how she’s raising her daughter, through a series of themes, scattered...

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Political Powerhouses: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was born in 1947 near Manila in the Philippines. When she was just 14 years old her father was elected President of the Philippines. As a result of coming from such a well-known family, she received the best education. She spent two years in Washington D.C. studying economics at Georgetown University, where she was a classmate of Bill Clinton. She returned to the Philippines, where she earned a Masters degree, then Doctorate, in economics. She then went on to become a university professor in economics. In 1986 she was appointed as the undersecretary of trade and...

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Famous Female Outlaws: Pearl Hart

Pearl Hart (born as Pearl Taylor) was born in Ontario, Canada in 1871 and earned notoriety by being one of the only women to rob a stagecoach. She had a fairly ordinary upbringing, coming from a middle class family and receiving a good education. Things changed at 17 when she eloped with Frederick Hart, a bartender, gambler, and heavy drinker. The couple travelled to the Columbian Exposition and Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where Fred had found work as a midway barker. Pearl was inspired by some of the female speakers she heard, including Annie Oakley. Soon after, she left Fred and...

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No Time For Fear – Politicking Girls: El Salvador teen sentenced to 30 years in prison after stillbirth

Last week, a teen girl in El Salvador was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she gave birth to a stillborn baby last year. The Guardian reported that the then-18-year-old girl had been repeatedly raped by a gang member. Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was convicted on the grounds that she failed to seek medical treatment after the birth. She was charged with aggravated homicide. Amnesty International says that Hernandez didn’t report the rapes out of fear. The teen said she didn’t know she was pregnant, and staff at the hospital reported the girl to the authorities. Abortion has been...

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Mythological Girls: Phosop

Phosop is the rice deity of the ancient Thai religion, and is one of many rice goddesses in eastern cultures. While honouring her is still practiced today, she is predominantly an ancient deity rather than a part of the structured mainstream religion. As such, her worship is now mainly relegated to rice growing villages. Phosop is also known as ‘Mae Khwan Khao’ which translates to ‘Mother of Rice Prosperity’. Ritual offerings are traditionally made to placate a rice deity during each stage of rice production. Phosop in particular was believed to be responsible for ensuring each person had...

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Political Powerhouses: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was born in 1953 to a political family: her father was the former premier of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in comparative government, followed by a degree in international law and diplomacy. Afterwards, she returned to Pakistan where a military coup had just taken place, as a result she was placed under house arrest. In 1978 her father was hanged after being found guilty of sanctioning the murder of a political opponent. While living in exile in Britain she became the joint leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). She...

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Make Your Voice Heard at Girl Museum

Museums are places for – and by – people. People made the objects. Others acquired the objects for the museum. Other people put together the exhibitions that bring objects together into themes. And still others come to view, discuss, and find meaning in those objects. Most importantly, people created the stories behind every object and image you see. Girl Museum is a museum for, and by, the people. The stories you see here are those of girls around the world, in the past and present. Our goal has always been to let girls tell their own stories. It’s why Girl Museum exists: we are a space...

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Musical Gals: Francesca Caccini 

Music Period: Baroque era (1600 – 1750) Location: Florence, Italy Claim to Fame: the first woman known to have written an opera. She pushed boundaries with her book specifically written for women performers. Francesca Caccini was born on 18th September 1587 to two musicians. Her mother, Lucia di Filippo Gagnolanti, was a singer and her father, Giulio Caccini, was a renowned composer. At the time, her father was the second most highly paid composer and musician for the Medici family. Giulio was also the celebrated author of the most influential singing manual of the 1600s. Due to her...

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30 June 2016: Let them be heard

There is one thing that unites girls all over the world. Girls of different skin colours, languages, social, educational, or religious backgrounds cannot mask one fact—they are not heard. They speak, but few listen. In some countries, a girl’s voice is rendered less powerful, or even silent, by law. And in other countries, these voices are simply ignored. The intentions behind silencing girls do not matter—the outcome is the same. A police officer not trained to detect forced marriage and rape allows torment to continue, torment willingly inflicted by someone knowingly sending the girl...

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Letter from the Editor XIV

Dear Reader, Awareness is key. Whether people raise awareness for rare forms of cancer, body image disorders, or because of stick-thin high street mannequins – without being aware, we cannot act or react. This issue aims at raising awareness for the everyday problems that surround us, as well as the extraordinary ones. Sometimes being in the know can save the day of the kid next door, or it might save a stranger’s life. We never know. But we want to know. With strength and hope, Ashley Remer & Kristina Kraemer Editors Girl News...

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Girls of TED Talks: Angela Zhang’s nanoparticle is changing cancer treatment

Do you love TED Talks? So do I. Today’s post is a continuation of our Girls of TED Talks series, which focuses on young girls who have presented at TED events around the world with their inspiring ideas. Angela Zhang was taught one key thing: break a big question down into smaller, more manageable pieces in order to answer it. Taking this wisdom from her father, 17-year-old Angela set out to revolutionize cancer treatment. Working with her chemistry teacher, Angela undertook an advanced research project to mix cancer medicine with polymers. The result was a nanoparticle that can attach...

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Political Powerhouses: Yulia Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko has had a varied career. She started off working as an economist and academic before becoming involved in the gas industry. This led to her becoming one of the wealthiest people in the Ukraine. She went on to become involved in politics and was one of the co-leaders of the Orange Revolution, a series of rallies and protests in the Ukraine in late 2004. These protests were in response to the general elections of 2004 which were marred in controversy. They ultimately led to another election in 2005 which saw her become the first female Prime Minister of the Ukraine. That year...

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Famous Female Outlaws: Grainne Ni Mhaille

Grainne Ni Mhaille, also known by the anglicised version of her name, Grace O’Malley, was an Irish pirate during the 1500s. She was from the Western coast of Ireland and came from a wealthy seafaring family and her father, Eoghan Dubhdara O Maille, was the leader of the O’Malley clan. Growing up, Grace preferred the life she saw her father lead – one of travel and adventure – over her mother’s domestic duties, and she sought to join her father on his ship. She proved to be very capable aboard her father’s ship; she could lead the men and she was good at spotting storms before...

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No Time For Fear – Politicking Girls:U.S. health care reform to impact millions of girls and women

The United States is one of the few developed nations in the world without universal health care. This has a devastating ripple effect and affects millions of girls and women in the country. Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate unveiled their new Senate health care bill, called the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.” The bill aims to cut $800 billion from Medicaid with more cuts to follow. Medicaid is a government health care program and provides coverage to millions of Americans, including low-income children and adults, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities....

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Mythological Girls: Malina

Malina is the sun deity of the Inuit people of Greenland, Alaska and other Arctic regions. The most common story in the circumpolar mythologies is that of her relationship with her brother, the moon deity Aningak (also known as Annigan in some locations). The story begins by saying that Malina and Aningak lived happily together while they were children. However, as they grew older they split into designated housing for men and women. After this separation Aningak noticed that Malina was the most beautiful of all women, and set to work on a plan to have her. While the two were playing the...

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Political Powerhouses: Aja Brown

In 2013 Aja Brown made history when she became the youngest woman elected as Mayor of Compton, California. Just last week she was re-elected for a second term. Aja was born in Altadena, California but she has strong roots to Compton. Her mother was born there and, tragically, in the 1970s her grandmother was raped and murdered in her Compton home. To this day no one has been arrested for this crime. Aja received a full scholarship to the University of Southern California. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Policy, Planning and Development in 2004 and she went on to earn a master’s...

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Musical Gals: Hildegard von Bingen

Music Period: Early Music (500 – 1400) Location: Bermersheim, Germany Claim to Fame: using repeated motifs within her music and giving religious music a freer, almost improvisatory, feel. As Maria von Trapp sings in The Sound of Music, “let’s start at the very beginning”, and discover the story of a female composer from the 1100s. We are talking of Hildegard von Bingen and today we think of her as one of the first identifiable female composers of Western music. Yet, before 1979, there was no mention of her name. You would not find her in any reference book if searching the university library...

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