Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Akshay Kumar, Arunachalam Muruganantham, and Pravin Nikam — what do they all have in common?
They are passionate for gender equality, for the rights of girls and women. Four of them are men.
Maybe you’ve never heard of Akshay Kumar, Arunachalam Muruganantham, and Pravin Nikam?
Aksay is one of the biggest names in Bollywood, set to star in a movie about the sanitary product invention of Arunachalam.
Pravin is known as the “Period Man of Pune.” He likes to wander the countryside raising awareness and as he says, “Talk about periods everyday.”
With the Mother gifting us Her Clarity, Purity, Grace, Wonder and Awe, we are witnessing Nova Earth coming into being before our eyes. . .
With Love and care for self and others in our communities, and the simplicity and beauty of inner and outer action steps, we are Nova Being creating our Nova Earth.
Michelle Obama Just Gave Young People
This Key Piece of Advice in the Fight for Equality
By Jackie Marchildon, Global Citizen, Nov. 28, 2017
Former US first lady Michelle Obama spoke about education and equality for girls and women at a fireside chat hosted by the Economic Club of Canada and Plan International Canada on Tuesday.
Obama’s talk, “The Economics of Equality: Advancing Women and Girls to Change the World” had 1,500 tickets reserved for girls and women who could apply for them on Plan International Canada’s website, according to blogTO.
“The one thing I really didn’t want to happen was to have a bunch of Bay Street corporate leaders only bringing their children,” Traill told CBC earlier this month. “I don’t think that that’s inclusive and I don’t think that that’s fully the conversation that we need to have.”
Obama took the stage at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre in front of an excited crowd.
Obama reflected on her time in politics and offered insight on how to create change.
“One person can’t make the change. It happens from the bottom up, not the top down. That’s a good thing,” she said, “It means no one person can’t break all this either.”
She urged the crowd to use social media less, to think about words carefully and to have more conversations.
Obama believes that education has not kept up with changing times and that this particularly affects girls.
“If you don’t understand something in class it means they need to teach better,” she said. “You have to be your own education advocate.”
“When someone attacks me I think, ‘What is going on in their lives that they fear me?’ They may not understand the fight for equality is a fight for them too,” Obama said.
Echoing Justin Trudeau’s words from the weekend, Obama said that men and boys need to do better and be better.
“The question for men is, ‘What have you done lately? How have you made space in your position of power, where are you in this?’” she said.
The advocate finished by reminding today’s youth that they are important — and essential in fighting for equality.
“Never lose hope. The world needs you desperately. Never give up,” she said.
Global Citizen campaigns on issues related to gender equality. You can take action here.
Meghan Markel: UN Women’s Advocate
for Political Participation and Leadership
“I am tremendously honoured to be UN Women’s Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership. I am proud to be a women and a feminist.
“When I was just 11 years old. . . I became a female advocate. . .
“A little over 20 years ago in my home town of Los Angeles, a pivotal moment reshaped my notion of what is possible.
“I had been in elementary school watching a TV show and a commercial came on with a tagline for a dishwashing liquid, and the tagline said, “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.“
“Two boys from my class said, ‘Yeah, that’s where women belong. In the kitchen.'”
Meghan went home and told her Dad what happened, and he encouraged her to write letters, so she did to the most powerful people she could think of. . .
She wrote a letters to Hillary Clinton and several others, including the soap manufacturer, and to her surprise, everyone wrote back.
About a month later, Procter and Gamble changed the commercial for their Ivory Clear Dishwashing Liquid to, ‘People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.‘
“The magnitude of my action at the age of 11. . . I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality.
“Now equality means that President Kagame of Rwanda whose country I recently visited is equal to the little girl at the Gihembe Refugee Camp who is dreaming about being President one day.
“Equality means that UN Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, is equal to the young intern at the UN who is dreaming about shaking his hand.
“It means that a wife is equal to her husband, a sister to her brother — not better, not worse — they are equal.
“UN Women has defined the year 2030 as the expiration date for gender inequality.
“Here’s what staggering, the studies show that at the current rate, the elimination of gender inequality won’t be possible until 2095.
“That’s another 80 years from now.
“When it comes to women’s political participation and leadership, the percentage of female parliamentarians globally has only increased by 11% since 1995.
“11% in 20 years? This has to change!
“Women make up more than half of the world’s population and potential so it is neither just or practical for their voices — for our voices — to go unheard at the highest levels of decision making.
“The way that we change that in my opinion is to mobilize girls and women to see their value as leaders and to support them in these efforts.
“To have leaders such as President Kagame of Rwanda continue to be a role model of a country which has a parliamentary system comprised of 64% female leaders.
“It is the highest of any government in the world and it’s unbelievable! We need more men like that just as we need more men like my father who championed my 11 year old self to stand up for what is right.
“In doing this, we remind girls that their small voices are in fact not small at all and that they can effect change.
“In doing this we remind women that their involvement matters, that they need to become active in their communities, their local governments, as well as the highest parliamentary positions.
“It is just imperative.
“Women need a seat at the table. They need an invitation to be seated there and in some cases where this isn’t available — well you know what? — then they need to create their own table.
“We need a global understanding that we cannot implement change effectively without women’s political participation.
“It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision.
“May we empower each other to carry out such vision because it isn’t enough to simply talk about equality.
“One must believe in it, and it isn’t enough to simply believe in it, one must work at it.
“Let us work at it together starting now.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry:
Their Work in Gender Equality
One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars Will be in a Film
About ‘India’s Menstrual Man,’
Who Invented a Pad-making Machine
By Leanna Garfield, Dec. 6, 2017
Akshay Kumar — one of the biggest names in Bollywood — will play the lead role in “Padman,” a movie inspired by the true story of a man who invented a low-cost device to make sanitary pads for women and girls in his village.
- The film aims to remove the stigma around periods.
- Kumar told Business Insider that he believes entertainment can normalize taboo subjects in a way that other mediums can’t.
- Around the world, millions of low-income women and girls do not have access to sanitary pads or tampons. As a result, many miss or drop out of school, stunting economic opportunities down the line and reinforcing taboos around menstruation.
The issue is especially prevalent in rural India. In a 2016 Nielsen survey, 93% of girls in Bihar and Jharkhand, India — rural states in the country — said they miss one to two school days every month during menstruation on average.
An upcoming Bollywood film called “Padman” aims to help remove the stigma around periods. One of the most famous actors in Bollywood, Akshay Kumar, plays social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham — the lead role in the film, which is inspired by a true story.
The machine — which he is working to expand to 106 countries — can make pads for less than a third of the price of ones by commercial brands.
In an interview with Business Insider, Kumar said he believes that movies (and entertainment in general) can be a powerful way to turn the tide on taboos.
“I didn’t want to make a documentary,” he said. “I wanted to make a commercial film so people can see it. It’s a film you can take your children to, even though it talks about sanitary pads. It’s a universal subject. Nobody has ever tried to touch this subject.”
Twinkle Khanna, who is married to Kumar and serves as one of the film’s producers, said that “Padman” is a story about an innovation that improved the lives of women.
“I was immediately gripped by the story of this man on two levels. One, because it was about menstruation; and two, because it was a story about somebody who persevered against everything, who lost his wife, who was ostracized from his village. He did not give up.”
She adds that “Padman” seeks to alleviate the burden of shame that comes from having a period in India. It’s uncertain whether the film will achieve the ambitious goal of normalizing menstruation, but a huge name like Kumar could make that more likely.
“Padman” is set to release worldwide on January 26, 2018.
TedTalk: Arunachalam Muruganantham,
— India’s “Menstrual Man” —
How I Started a Sanitary Pad Revolution!
Arunachalam Muruganantham created a system of simple machines to make modern sanitary napkins — giving millions of women in his home country and around the world access to hygiene.
Global Citizen: Why Period Taboos Affect Everyone
Meet the “Period Man” of Pune, India
Pravin is an engineering student dropout who made the decision to drop his studies because of the grim scenario for girls in India.
He had the strong urge to create a better life for girls by educating Indian society about menstruation and periods.
Pravin Nikam, social activist, gender equality advocate and motivational speaker, has designed educational tools using story telling and activity-based learning for young girls about periods where the subject is a major taboo.
He is a National Youth Award recipient for providing education to children and improving health conditions of teenage girls & women, and is serving as Asia Regional Youth Representative at Commonwealth Youth Council.
Also a Global Youth Ambassador and named a Peace Scholar for his work in the field of conflict prevention, Pravin tell us, “It’s a state of emergency. . . 113 million adolescent girls at risk of dropping out of school.”
He helps us all to eliminate the taboos by encouraging us to say:
“P for period! M for menstruation!”
I invoke the Divine Mother
with Her Clarity, Purity, Grace, Wonder and Awe
for gender equality everywhere on Gaia.
The Mother’s Blue Diamond Energy