FIRST THOUGHT: Learning a Little From Women Across the Globe
When you travel, you notice the smallest differences in other cultures. When I went to Peru, I discovered a shocking lack of toilet seats, and when I went to England, I discovered lukewarm beverages devoid of ice. Getting out of our comfort zones helps us grow into more empathetic individuals.
When we’re more empathetic, we’re more likely to be all-around better women. Today, pick a country, any country—from China to Haiti—and put Google to good use. Find out what daily routines are like for women there, or learn about what they do for fun. You’ll discover that you don’t need a plane ticket to delve into a new place and learn something extraordinary.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 12,000
Here in the States, we hear a lot about refugees, but don’t often take much time to learn about their day-to-day lives. Refugee camps are temporary settlements for those who have been forced to leave their countries to escape war or persecution.
There’s bound to be conflict in these environments. But there’s one refugee camp in the Central African Republic that has created something remarkable out of their pain. It’s a refugee camp housing 12,000 women, and they’ve elected a 64-year-old woman named Ardo Djibo Fadimatou to act as their president.
Sadly, she lost eight of her 15 children during the conflict in the Central African Republic, but a true leader, she now urges these women to pursue education for themselves and their children and to find empowerment, despite the challenges.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Taraneh Alidoosti, Iranian Actress and Feminist
Talented actress Taraneh Alidoosti has been dubbed the Natalie Portman of Iran and was voted by film critics as the best Iranian actress of the decade. In 2000, she visited an acting school owned by a beloved Iranian actor, and by the time she was 17 years old, was starring in her first feature film.
This beloved actress won the Bronze Leopard award for Best Actress at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2002, as well as the Crystal Simorgh for Best Actress from the 20th Fajr Film Festival, becoming the youngest ever to do so. Then, she broke a record after getting nominated three times in a row for the Best Actress award at that same Iranian film fest.
Taraneh’s most recent film, The Salesman, has received rave reviews and two awards from the Cannes Film Festival.
Taraneh is more than an incredible actress; she’s also a feminist, a moniker that is shattering stereotypes. While she was at a recent news conference, a camera captured a tattoo on her forearm showing the classic woman-power symbol of a raised fist. Needless to say, people took to social media with an opinion. Many criticized her every way they could. Taraneh shut down the noise by tweeting a simple yet forward, response. She said, “Keep calm and yes, I’m a feminist.”
You may wonder why it’s such a big deal. A debate has been stirring for some time surrounding Iran’s gender-equality issues. For instance, it is illegal in Iran for women to be in public spaces with their heads uncovered. Many women have resisted, even cutting their hair to look more masculine and therefore, enjoy some of the freedom men have in Iran.
It’s a bold move by Taraneh to stand up as a feminist. And we applaud her. Her delicate yet dramatic acting chops and frank opinions about women’s rights are empowering women throughout the world.
QUITE THE QUOTE
As feminist icon Gloria Steinem said:
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.