Young Women Leaders

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Let´s practice the following!

Thank you everybody new who has been reading this blog these past few days!

It´s Monday and as we could all use a pick-me-up at this part of the week, I thought we´d kick it off with this quote by the fabulous Eleanor Roosevelt:

Picture cred: inspiration.entrepreneur.com

Sheryl Sandberg TED talk

Sunday morning. I spent two hours last night cleaning my balcony from old green dirt and stuff. My arms are sore from scrubbing and I just painted my nails bright pink. Next project is putting down the wooden floor out there. Maybe use one of my two hammers and do some nailing. (Yes I am trying to get the point across that I am VERY good at using a hammer and I also wear nail polish.) Probably should have done it the other way around (wood floor first, nail painting later), but I got mesmerized by this TED talk and had to do something while watching.

My friend Lindsay Beckman recommended this talk to me a while ago in one of her comments on this blog, and I finally took the time to see it. It is often hard for me to explain why I am so passionate about women´s leadership, because what most people see is that we are have equal opportunities as men and women (I know! Weird, right?). Ms Sandberg gives the arguments in about 15 minutes, she shows examples from her own life, and she notes the CRAZY few numbers of women at higher levels of leadership in the world. Watch and become inspired to change this!

Happy Sunday!

My personal inspiration part 1: Cecilia Martin-Löf

I´ve decided to write about women that have personally inspired me as a leader. First out is Cecilia Martin-Löf, choir conductor.

Growing up, I was def not the most outgoing or popular kid in school. I was self-conscious, insecure and shy in social settings where I did not feel comfortable. My parents always encouraged my activities outside of school; may it be I soccer, tennis, dance, gymnastics, painting, English classes or the student council. As an 11-year old in a new town, I was accepted to the Uppsala Cathedral Girls´ Choir, where I sang for almost ten years. 

The first few years, we had a lot of conductors coming in, mostly good ones (and a really horrible one who scared us). But there was never anyone who stayed long enough for us to feel comfortable enough in our performances. The boys´ choir of the cathedral had much more rehearsing time, were a larger group with a lot of involved parents and cash. Our little group (diminishing as the conductors came and went) didn´t get to sing a lot of fun material, nor was attendance very high. It was almost embarrassing to perform since we were not very good and it didn´t feel like people believed in us.


But during my last year in junior high, Cecilia made her entrance. She was filled with energy and new ideas, and she brought it all to the rehearsals. She was a huge encouragement to us, and put so much effort into making us better singers and friends. One of the little things she did was to supply us with a bit of money so we could buy sandwiches and eat together before rehearsals. Most girls came straight from school, and being able to have a snack before rehearsals made us talk more to each other and get to know one another and her. This is where I got to know one of my closest and best friends, Caroline. 

Cecilia also asked us what we wanted to do as singers. This resulted in us putting up a musical, written by the amazing writer/singer/songwriter Johanna Olofsson. We were still a relatively small group, but with Cecilia´s support, we managed to make it all happen. Being an all-female choir, the musical material is a bit different from when you have the range with male voices as well, but this material was used for just the female voices. Cecilia planned a weekend where we rehearsed, she got us singing lessons in groups, and she took our interest in certain boys in the other choir seriously 🙂 

I remember Cecilia inviting me, Caroline and a couple of the other older girls to her apartment just to spend time. She was so grown-up to us, had her own apartment where the floor was tilted (old house) and if you put a bottle on one side of the room, it would roll to the other side. It felt like having a big sister listening to you. At this time, we also made the choir an organization and I became its first president. 

I would never have trusted myself into this, to me, very prominent position, had it not been for Cecilia. This is the place and time where I took my first steps leading others. I was given responsibility and possibilities to take charge and leave my comfort zone in so many ways, including leading meetings, working together with the older boys in the other choir, and planning parts of our performances. I even got to play one of the leading roles in the musical and had a solo!

Cecilia made all of this easy for me. I always felt like she had my back, that me and the other girls in the choir could really accomplish anything we set our mind to. I can´t even imagine all the work she put in for us to be able to do all of these things, and she was always there for us, pushing us to go further. Cecilia was always filled with energy and positive attitude, and she was always willing to discuss issues with us. 

We only got to work with Cecilia for about a year and a half, but she created a great ground for us to stand on for the future, both musically and socially. Cecilia is now the chief conductor for DR Pigekoret in Denmark and Lund´s Academic Choir (if Wikipedia is still correct). I´m so happy that I got to work with her, and the impact that she has made in my life. Thank you Cecilia. 
This is a picture that shows how I remember Cecilia conducting: happy, energetic and powerful: 

Photo cred: listinblog.blogspot.com

Being bossy



I agree with the above quote. It has been proven time and time again that girls get very little attention in the classroom compared to the boys. If you´re a loud and outgoing girl, you are less likely to be accepted for that, teachers take it much more seriously and you are told to be disturbing. The acceptance for boys being loud is much higher. Think back on your own time in school, remember how there was always a group of boys talking an playing around? They were accepted. If a girl behaved the same way she would be a disturbance. Society tells us this and it is not ok. I see this in myself as well, I am more likely to think that guys that talk out loud are funny and nothing to care about, while I do not have the same level of acceptance towards talking girls. But you know what? As long as I identify the problem in myself, I am on a way to change a pre-learned pattern. Think about it actively, how do you treat boys/girls and men/women differently. There are very few people who are not brainwashed by society on how we should behave.

Lead those leadership talented women into success by listening to them and respecting what they have to say.

So yes, I agree with the above mentioned quote. Also, I want all the quiet and shy girls to be seen and appreciated for who they are. If you conform to society´s general view of how a woman should behave (which I have done through most of my upbringing) you believe that there will be a reward for always being correct. But sometimes that behavior has a price; you will be scared of speaking up in case you will say something wrong, you will not wear crazy clothes out of fear that people won´t like you, and you will continue behaving in a way that will never get you in trouble, but never take andy risks and have fun either. 

So respect and listen to the quiet girls as well, sometimes we continue to tie the binds that were made for use by society, and that gets really hard to untangle. There´s no wrong or right way of behaving, I just wish that everybody would find their way, no matter what society tells them. 

Inspiring organization: Hunt Alternatives Fund

My mom went to a wedding in the U.S. last weekend and being the sociable, outgoing fabulous woman that she is, she did of course bond with some other wedding guests. Not only did my mother dominate the dance floor (she showed me the pics), but she did also talk to a woman working for the Hunt Alternatives Fund, and she recommended I look it up. 

What an organization! It has been so inspiring to look at their website! This how they describe their mission:
Hunt Alternatives Fund brings daring goals, distinctive perspectives, innovative practices, and extraordinary talent to some of the world’s most complex and injurious challenges. Since its founding in Denver in 1981, the Fund has contributed more than $100 million to social change through a blend of grantmaking and operating programs. Currently advocating for inclusive peace processes, combating the demand for purchased sex, inspiring women to political leadership, supporting social movement leaders, and strengthening youth arts organizations in eastern Massachusetts, the Fund convenes allies, builds their capacity, and empowers them to achieve systemic change.

The organization works with five different programs:
Inclusive Security
Demand Abolition
Political Parity
Prime Movers
Artwork for Kids

(click on name to read more about each project!)

ImageSwanee Hunt (photo cred: huntsalternative.org)

Here you can watch an interview with Hunts Alternative Fund founder Swanee Hunt talking about gender parity in American politics (Conk, watch this!). Her organization also works internationally with women´s leadership. Isn´t she the coolest!? Also, for you American citizens, Hunt Alternatives Fund is hiring! Since I´m not American, I believe I cannot apply for these positions, but I would love to! Maybe I will still do it, just because it sounds amazing!

Feel the inspiration! 

Famous Favorites: Kate Beckett

When studying in the U.S. I would (when my schedule allowed for it) spend a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays catching up on TV series. I cannot handle shows where there is not at least one strong and cool female character/lack of intelligence, and hence I am very picky with what I am watching (Bechdel test anyone?). I am not sure that this show that I am about to recommend passes the Bechdel test, but Kate Becket sure does.

Not to spoil anything, but the show Castle is about NYPD detective Kate Beckett and author Rick Castle. Watch it. Kate Beckett is amazing, portrayed by Stana Katic.

Here´s some clips from the first 100 episodes:

Why do I love this? Because it show just her, her expressions, many different, no words. Even if you have not seen the show, I think you would appreciate this.

Also, this is great:


Happy Friday!

The most powerful women in the 20th century

Hearing about women that succeed in their work against all odds, pushing through, makes me inspired and happy in my soul. Knowing that others have paved way for me and others around me makes me feel gratitude to them. They stepped forward even though it may not always have felt like an easy thing to do.

I sometimes cut out pictures of women (and men) that inspire me, and put them somewhere I can see them and be reminded of their work and that it is possible for me to succeed as well. I found this list of the most powerful women in the 20th century, and I think you should take a look and be inspired!

I hope you´re having a great Thursday!

… and I´m back in the game!

Finally, finally, after weeks of communication and miss-communication with my internet provider, I have now managed to fix internet to this apartment of mine! Gah, I can´t surf at work and surfing on my phone has just been the WORST.

How do we catch up on life? I don´t know, but I´m hoping (as I wrote a few weeks before) that there are new things to come, news, activities, MORE BLOG POSTS most importantly!

I should probably also exchange profile pics, this is what I currently look like (a bit different than the one on the right of this page):

ImageI´m so happy to be back and that you´re here with me!


Is the work for equality only for women?

When you feel like there are no men out there supporting equality in society and women´s leadership, please click this link and know that they do exist. And they are out there, around you, you just need to see and find them.

Post Navigation