The last time I breastfed my first child, I bawled. Unbeknownst to my 13-month-old, I was about to disappear for several days, a last-resort measure to terminate a relationship that was marked by inadequate milk supply, sleepless nights, blocked ducts and metabolic chaos. She was frustrated, I was frustrated, I was losing more weight than was healthy and I had a job interview in a week. It was taking a huge toll on everyone. Heaving with sadness and guilt, I finally agreed to go cold-turkey.
As I continued to lose weight and get stronger, I no longer had a to-do list full of other people's priorities. I now had personal goals that were all about me. I was losing weight with purpose, so that I could run, jump, play and enjoy my life. Being active was becoming fun. I was in my fifties, and I was just now learning how to play.
My life's story has led me on this path to wanting to make access to decent, empowering work available to women through the acquisition of tradeable skills. Decent employment for women is the main escape route out of poverty in Africa, and it strengthens the link between economic growth and aggregate poverty reduction.
Continuing legal differences between the entitlements of men and women in economies across the globe has a negative impact on female work force participation. Some say that women should suck it up, and do a different job. Why? If men are entitled to pursue any career they like, why shouldn't women have the same opportunities?
Unfortunately, South Korea still has a long way to go in terms of females getting opportunities in leadership positions. The number of female politicians in South Korea is 49 out of 300 members of parliament and South Korea had a 37.4 per cent gender wage gap, which was the largest gap among OECD countries in 2014..
As of 2014, 143 out of 195 countries legally guarantee equality between men and women. I wish I could say that gender equality, or any equality, enforced by the law translates into equality in the minds of people. Deeply rooted problems preventing true parity have been promoted by patriarchy for years, passed on from one generation to another disguised as 'tradition.'
Pakistan is a diverse country and females account for a large portion of the population. Recently, it has becoming increasingly difficult to discuss the challenges that Pakistani women face. There is a dire need to promote the education of females by launching awareness campaigns at the national level, because in order to educate a nation, you need to educate its women.
I do know that my weight is not an indicator of health, fitness -- or anything else other than how much I weigh. I know that I am not defined by my cellulite, expanding midriff, or any other body parts that don't wow me. And yet here I am, wishing that I wasn't mentally dragged down by my extra pounds.
Early in this year's breast cancer madness, a friend posted a photo with a caption on my Facebook page. It depicted a slim woman, nude except for panties, arms raised, flying her (matching) black bra overhead. The caption: "Support breast cancer. Set the tatas free. Oct. 13 no bra day." I don't love it and here is why.
To unleash the power of the adolescent girls is to create a world where girls are able to take advantage of any and every opportunity to come her way. It means to create a world where she not only has access to education, but also the freedom to attend school. Where she has reliable sources of nutrition-rich food and clean water, and doesn't have to risk sexual assault to collect it.
The best female leaders have very high expectations for themselves and constantly raise the bar by seeking constructive criticism. Then, when told where they made mistakes, rather than berating themselves, they treat the feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement. That constructive narrative enables them to separate criticism from feelings of self-worth.
G(irls)20 brings together a group of carefully selected young women, "delegates", equips them with leadership and communication skills and gives them the opportunity to meet with leaders from government, business and civil society. This is an excellent way of empowering young women to help them realize their full potential.
I had a discussion about the advancement of women with the senior partner of a major law firm. Frustrated with the leaky pipeline of women in his organization, he described hiring equal numbers of men and women but found the turnover rate for female associates to be three to four times that of the males. Rather than throwing up his hands in dismay, there are things he can do to retain women employees.
To all new and expecting mothers Tara encourages you to: "Get connected. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to carry a mother so don't be afraid to reach out to someone walking the same journey. We can walk together because our children need us to be the best mothers that we can possibly be."