Young Women Leaders

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

2013 Goals

20130101_011632Making plans and setting goals scares me. It makes everything so definite and I am scared because “what if I don´t succeed?????”

BUT this year I will attempt anyways, new solutions and such are good, right? In the newspaper today it says that we almost never succeed with new year´s resolutions, but what if I set not-so-high goals and make them last for the entire year? Maybe it´ll work?

And I challenge you to think about this as well! I got a book from my mom that she bough when we were in Antwerp this fall, it´s a book for a 5-year period where you basically put down your main goals for the year, potential downfalls and then how to solve them. You do it once a year and follow up every time next year. Without infringing on the copyright here, I will try to explain a little bit about what I will do:

1. Put down goals:
MY MAIN GOAL: To find something, may it be an organization, job, activity, friend, etc. that helps me work with what I am passionate about: women´s leadership.

2. Problems that might pop up:
a) I hinder myself working in negative circles and not going anywhere.
b) I loose sight of what is out there.
c) (Insert another one if you have one.)

3. Solutions to think of right now that may come in handy:
a) Keep going! Pushing through even though I feel insecure and drained on energy.
b) TALKING to friends, family, mentors, others for inspiration and support.
c) Putting myself out there.

– My mom
– My professors at Wittenberg
– Al
– Lacey, Swati, Chaunta, The Conksters, Maria, Erika
– My family

– I´m social and outgoing, when feeling secure I am a lot of fun!
– I am vulnerable and realizing that is key to future work.
– I work hard and even when I may not be super interested in what I do I have high work ethics.
– I am brave. Not always, but often.

– True friends continue to be there even though there is an ocean keeping you apart.
– A man of quality is not threatened by a woman of equality.
– Alcohol in large amounts doesn´t make life more fun.
– I can make a change.

– Write one entry a day in this blog an on my Swedish blog, franckies.wordpress.com (that one has the same texts as this one, but in Swedish).
– When I have time and energy (aka when I stop commuting): start to work out again.
– Make more creative things, may it be knitting, painting or any other fun stuff that puts my mind at ease.
– Reusing and recycling more. Not buying so much stuff. Buying a few things of good quality and good ethical and environmental source rather than quantity of things I don´t really want.

Ok, shall we do it? YES WE CAN.
Happy New Year!

Sunday Inspirational Quote

Photo cred: afrimind.org

Photo cred: afrimind.org

“Don’t wait for a Gandhi, don’t wait for a King, don’t wait for Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi, you are your own King.”

– Leymah Gbowee

Amazing video that will make you feel awesome

Looking good and being a woman

I am constantly aware of how I look to other people. It is a double bond as a woman – you have to care about the way you look in the “right way”, because:
1) If you don´t care about how you look you are ugly and not a “real feminine woman”
2) If you care too much, that is fake, you are shallow and not strong.

When I took my first class in gender studies (which is also about MEN, hence GENDER studies), we talked about how women always look themselves in the mirror, a window or any other thing that reflects her when passing one. Check yourself! It is not something I always think about, but I do check to see whether or not I look acceptable at all times. Why is this?
Well, women are expected to look good, and don´t we all want to feel attractive? We want to be loved and found loveable to others.

In college, I would often get the comment “you look so dressed-up today!” Unfortunately I was not able to take this as a pure compliment because this double-bond thing was hanging over me. Part of me was happy about the compliment because I do put effort into putting together outfits that I like and that I feel beautiful and strong in. But another part of me took the comments as something negative, as if I was trying too hard to be liked by others.

For me, putting thought and effort into making a good appearance is about respect for others around me, as well as attempting to show the best looks of myself to others. Swedish/European fashion is a bit different than the American.
At my college, it is more accepted to dress in sweatpants and a sweater, just rolled out of bed with your hair in a bun, than it would be at a university where I come from. None of them is wrong, and I guess I was more annoyed with the fact that I could not see myself relax and not care about the way I looked when going someplace where I knew people would see me.

During my senior year of college, me and my main partner in crime Al would talk about this a lot. We are both interested in fashion and looking good, but we wanted to make sure we did it for ourselves and not for somebody else. Part of being a senior in college is (as I have mentioned before) feeling that you are on your way someplace else, to greater and more important things. Hence, we could live out more, in a way that I don´t think we thought was possible before.
Part of growing up is realizing that what is inside you is what matters, but having a strong friend by your side makes it a lot easier.

So what did we do? Well, we left those typical skimpy college outfits behind and went to the local bar in t-shirt and jeans, discussing feminism and scaring the shit out of the frat boys who were there to play pool (more about that some other time). We talked a lot about Hillary Rodham Clintons awesome pantsuits. And yes, we dressed up as Michelle Bachmann and Hillary Rodham Clinton for Halloween.

Halloween 2011: Bahmann, Rodham Clinton. We brought Romney and Luigi along for the ride. Photo cred: Al

Halloween 2011: Bahmann, Rodham Clinton. We brought Romney and Luigi along for the ride. Photo cred: Al

We talked about make-up and decided that if it made US feel good about ourselves when we wanted to, well then it doesn´t matter if others think that it is a suppressor of women. I like the way I look, and there are things that make-up (such as lipstick) can do to make me feel even better about myself.
We used our jackets, dresses, high heels and pants as a way to empower ourselves and not make apologies for who we are and who we are meant to be. Some people may think that it is a weird way of empowerment, but as long as you feel like you YOURSELF decide what is good for you, then who the heck has the right to give two shits? NOBODY.

Dress the way you want but be sure to know the signals you are sending out with the way you dress, because it is a tool of power to be in charge of the way you look.

Graduation 2012: Me and Al plus Dr. Hudson, fashion in the house! Photo cred: Al

Graduation 2012: Me and Al plus Dr. Hudson, fashion in the house! Photo cred: Al

And remember, you look good.

Your virginity is not your most precious gift

My mom is a fan of 90210, Beverly Hills. She has all the seasons on dvd and since it is Christmas break I watched about half an episode with her this morning. Well, nothing more wrong with 90210 than any other TV show really, but one thing that stuck with me was a scene where one of the actors is contemplating losing her virginity to her boyfriend.
Rosey O´Donnell is for some reason in the episode, and she tells the actress (in my own words) that she has done the right thing saving herself for marriage and that she should not let her boyfriend persuade her otherwise.
Then the character goes to her priest that says basically the same thing. He also mentions that “your virginity is a gift.”

So many problems with this:
1. A woman´s worth is not determined by whether or not she is still a virgin. I know, you probably know this, but let´s be honest, that thought still lingers, right? Many more women are proud to save themselves for marriage than there are men out there.
Disclaimer: I totally think it´s ok to save yourself for marriage, it just has to be done in a fair way for everybody.
2. A woman has her own sexuality, who´s to say that this character doesn´t want to have sex? Which it seems like she does, only there is so much guilt for her because she has been raised to believe that she should save herself.
3. Whaddup super loser boyfriend who is pressuring his gf to sex? Really? We are still accepting that men (supposedly) pressure their gfs to sex? Listen, if anybody (man or woman) is pressuring the other part to sex, dump their sorry butts!
I wish Ms. O´Donnell would´ve said this instead: If you want to have sex – enjoy it, but be safe. If anybody is pressuring the other for sex – look around for a more loving, caring partner.

Your virginity is not your most precious gift. It is your care, love, intimacy, humor and inner self that you want to share with others, be it a partner or a friend.
One thing that the priest says that is actually clever, I have to give him this is “No matter what you do, God still loves you.” True that.


Photo cred: problemsolved90210.wordpress.com

Photo cred: problemsolved90210.wordpress.com

Lasting friendships makes strong support

In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, so while everybody else is now busy with the stuff you do on the 25th I am hanging out in my pj´s, eating leftover smörgåsbord and watching the snow fall. Tonight is the eve of the returners in Sweden, those who have left their original city and moved elsewhere. We meet up in the bars and restaurants, catching up, hopefully running into some people we want to see and avoiding those we are happy to avoid.

I am meeting up with the person that has known me and been my friend for the longest time, Maria. We got to know each other during confirmation camp when we were 14 years old, and we have been with each other through thick and thin, crisis, moving, boyfriends, studies, family and basically everything else.

It is a very special type of friendship that forms when you have known a person for that long, in our case over then years (are we really that old???). I know her 14-year old persona and she knows mine, and we have known the people we have been and stopped being, and the person inside that never ceased to exist.

The thing with such relationships is that I don´t have to doubt that she really likes me, I mean she´s been with me for this long! 🙂 We have seen the good and the bad happen, and with this deep friendship there are many things that are easier to accept with each other I believe. I don´t get annoyed with her as easily because I know her and her background, the events that made her who she is and what she has done in her life. Rather, I appreciate all of that.

In times of trouble she has been there, and she´s never farther than a phone call away (even though we sometimes play phone tag for weeks) when I am feeling down or need support. She manages to make me think new thoughts just because she has another perspective and she knows me well enough to be able to give me concrete advice.

The deep and lasting friendships can handle that we don´t see each other for months at a time. But we have a core together, memories together, and the ambition to really make something in life that unites us.

If there is one thing a young woman in leadership needs, I think it is the friends, the sisters, the forgiving , accepting and inspiring people around us that supports us when we fall, inspire us when we are out of thoughts and hold us when life is too rough for us to handle.

And you know what? They look good too. This is us, summer of 2010.



Why lipstick is important to me

Lipstick makes me powerful. When putting it on I add the color that will make my day. Most of the time it’s red. Like a strawberry, raspberry or cherries.

But don’t let the fruity colors fool you. Lipstick gives me power. It’s a whole deal to put it on, a ceremony. It makes me aware of what I’m saying and it straightens my back. I walk taller. I form even (if possible) smarter sentences. It makes a mark on my coffee mug. Saying “I’m here!”

Lipstick makes me feel older, more experienced, braver. Makes me feel like I’m with Condi Rice, Hil Rodham Clinton, Geena Davis, Margot Wallström, Tina Fey, Angela Merkel, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman. Ready to go out and make some change, kick some ass.

If you want to add some power to your life I recommend this: buy a lipstick and choose a color that makes you feel fab.


Red and Coral Like A Boss

Above: MK sunset and L’oreal coral dating. The only dates I have time for are the ones with my career.

You Look Good With That Lipstick.


This makes me sad, but it’s important to explain i believe.

Emily L. Hauser - In My Head

As anyone who’s ever seen my Twitter feed knows, Twitter is for me a multi-faceted thing: Clipping service, networking resource, branding device, virtual water cooler, sketch pad. In that latter capacity, I’m forever finding that I’ve just tweeted what amounts to the rough draft of an actual piece, sent out into the world in little 140-character bursts — and lo, I did just that this morning. Only I think the following might also wind up looking like a draft, because I’m still working out my thoughts (blogging [as Ta-Nehisi Coates once wrote] as memoir, not history).

The thinking started when I read a post by Alex Cranz on her site FemPop: “Feminism Isn’t the Problem, the Word Is.”

When I launched FemPop in March 2011 the tagline for the website was “Pop Culture Through A Feminist Lens.” It was accurate and snappy and emblazoned at the top of the site and on all…

View original post 662 more words

How to be kind to awesome women that annoys you

Sometimes I am surprised by how much it annoys me that I dislike another woman. Look, other people that are annoying through and through I have no problem not caring about, because I have nothing in common with them, they´re not in my field, and hence I usually have no problem letting them be annoying and treating them nicely. 

But I have realized a scary part of my own behavior with other amazing women. If they are much like me we become friends and we support and value each other. But if there´s something in our our personalities that clash I have a hard time avoiding becoming annoyed. 
This is jealousy, right? I see another fabulous woman, she is seemingly perfect, beautiful and funny. But I dislike her for no real reason. 

And inside myself I get even more annoyed with myself because it is hard for me to support this amazing woman. Be it she may not be my friend, but she is doing a helluva great job at what she´s doing. Those are women I would logically like to support and those are the ones I would technically like to have around me. 

So here´s my list of how to be kind to awesome women that annoys you:
– Get to know her better. Sure, she may be intimidating or you think you won´t like her, but in my experience, the more you get to know a person, the more you will get used to him/her and that will lead you to accept him/her. 
– Think of things you are great at. “Sure, I haven´t (insert cool thing other woman does), but I write great speeches/run fast like frick/I am great at making small talk.”
–  Consider things you can ask her to help you with and maybe you can exchange some knowledge (bc you probably know stuff she would like to know as well). Showing that you are interested in what she does and would like to learn will flatter the other person, she will let her guard down (if she has it up) and you can be more casual around each other. (I mean, let´s be honest, how happy are you not when people ask you to explain EXACTLY what it is that you do? Myself, I can talk for hours).
– Ask another friend for help on how to deal with the situation. I have found so often that my friends have another opinion of the person, and then that makes it easier for me to like them. 

More advice? Throw them my way!

And yes, you are amazing. And that other woman can be your friend. 

Why WIP?

This blog is called WIP it blog, something that WordPress suggested I use as a name since  WIP was taken. But why call it that?

In July 2011 I had returned from a few weeks in Sweden to my university in the U.S. I was about to start my senior year and was unsure of what to expect of my last year. The previous years had been great, but I felt like there was something missing. I had until then not been able to channel my passion for women´s leadership and developing skills.
I had also grown out of the binge-drinking hook-up culture that is the case at so many universities. And, most importantly, I had realized that many of my friends from previous years were just not people that I could develop together with.

During the summers at my university there are not a lot of people around, and you get to hang out with some unexpected people. Luckily, my mentor and friend Welkie arranged for me to meet two people that together with me would form WIP.
I had known Al and Lazoor in a shallow way from classes since we were all great students and Political Science majors, but for one reason or another we had never really talked.
Well, we spent an evening drinking beer on the roof of one of the dorms, and we began talking about problems young women face on a college campus.
At this time we were all safe enough in ourselves to honestly not give a shit about what people thought about us. We had finally realized college boys are not a lot to hang in the Christmas tree (yes there are good ones out there. Three per college and they´re all busy), that what we said in class was ALWAYS smarter than whatever that idiot in the corner said, and that we were actually on our way out of this place.

So we made it our mission to start an organization where young women could unite and talk about leadership issues, successes – to support and encourage and inspire each other.
We called the organization Women In Power, or WIP for short. Yes, it´s a sassy name, because we are sassy women. We wanted attention, we wanted to stir something up in the     male-dominated leadership world.
And a disclaimer: I love working with men – I would only love working with them more if there were more women up there making the decisions. End of disclaimer. 

Well, calling an organization WIP also leads to saying WIP it in many situations, because it´s even sassier. That´s where the name of this blog comes from and WIP it is what we did.
The below picture shows me, Al and Dr. Rhine, the head of the Political Science department, receiving her honorary WIP membership on our graduation day.

Ya look good,
HannaH + Aconk and Rhinestone

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