Young Women Leaders

New challenges, new successes

TWO people told me in person today that they have heard of/reads my blog. It´s so great to know! I mean, I see my stats and stuff, but really knowing who notices this blog is a great inspiration!

So I am currently attempting to formulate an entry about why you should embrace your individual life (popularly known as “single life”). Watch out for it!

We are all infected with the disease of racism and sexism

When I took Introduction to Women´s Studies with Dr. Askeland in the spring of 2009, I was exposed to many new influences and factors in society. Dr. Askeland wove together much knowledge within the subjects of women´s studies, African American literature, American women´s literature, etc., helping me see how they are intertwined in many ways. Among the texts she had us read was this: White Privilege: Unpacking the the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

This text is focusing on white privilege, but by reading it I think one can be helped recognizing other privileges: male privilege, non-handicapped privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc. READ IT, I think it will open your mind a bit (and that´s a great thing).  

Dr. Askeland also explained racism and sexism in a way that has helped me a lot. Basically (and you tell me if this is incorrect Dr. Askeland, I am retelling the main points as I remember them) Dr Askeland told us to think of racism and sexism as an sickness that has infected society. From the moment you were born, you have been breathing in these thought patterns and your whole brain is full of it. But you did not choose to be infected, you did not create the sickness. It was all over society long before you were born. But it is there, in each and every one of us, in one way or another.  

I sometimes catch myself thinking prejudiced thoughts, thoughts with opinions that I do not agree with. It scares me, but I find it useful tho think of the prejudice in this way that Dr. Askeland described, like a disease that has come to me because of the way that society is and has been for a long time. I don´t have to feel like a bad person for these thoughts coming up, BUT I do need to be aware of them and try to find the source of them. I am responsible for the way I deal with this disease. I will fight it, and becoming more aware of it and makes it a lot easier. 

So I am trying to stop feeling bad for my prejudiced thoughts, being aware of them and working on becoming more open-minded and little by little this disease will go away. Don´t beat yourself up when you recognize these thoughts, be happy that you are aware of them enough to see them. And then use that knowledge to defeat them. 


Finally with subtitles! Bianca Kronlöf


so this amazing Swedish comedian/actress/allover awesome person Bianca made a video of an experience she had being called a whore and “blatte,” (=a Swedish derogatory word for foreigner/person with origin other than Swedish). She has now published a version of this video with Swedish subtitles. The rapper is her sister Tiffany K. Watch:


Gotta post Jackson Katz


How to combine fashion + local craftsmanship + recycling + social entrepreneurship

At the beginning of your career, you may not get to work with all things that interest you. Granted, you do not KNOW what you´re interested in (neither do I). But as events and time progress, you will figure more of it out. If you feel like you still do not know, think about what you do NOT want to do, I find that it is sometimes easier. You will see that at some of the groups you belong to/meetings you go to/jobs you have, you will know that parts do not interest you. By cutting those out, it may get easier to figure out what yo really do want to do. 

The next step is figuring out how to combine the things that interest you into one job/task/life. It may sometimes seem impossible, but imagine the reward and success you will feel when you actually do succeed! One person that seemingly have got this all together is Swedish entrepreneur (which is my labeling, not hers) Veronica Henryson Stavby, founder of the brand Lou & friends.

According to her blog, Henryson Stavby began selling bags made of leather in 2008. Traveling the world she has been inspired by other cultures, something that has added inspiration to her products. She writes, “it is […] very important that [the products] ha[ve] been produced in a way that is sustainible and benefit the local societies.”
One example are the boots that Henryson Stavby sells in her webshop, so called keliboots. These boots are made by old Moroccan rugs, reusing this old and beautiful material, and leather. They are handmade by craftsmen in Morocco, ensuring that this knowledge lives on. 





All pictures: keliboots.com
Lou & Friends is also supporting ActionAid,
an organization that “help poor and vulnerable women and children all over the world.” (quote: louandfriends.com). I´m not sure exactly how they are supporting ActionAid (money-wise or in some other way), but I find this to be brilliant!

All in all, Henryson Stavby has integrated a lot of factors that matter to me when buying a product: 
– Fashion. The boots look amazing! Plus there´s a lot of other products too. 
– Local craftsmanship. The makers of the boots live in Morocco and use an old traditional method.
– Recycling. The boots are partly made of old rugs, putting another craft into good (and fashionable!) use. 
– Quality. Leather boots will last longer than some plastic stuff you buy, so even though the boots are a bit pricey, it´s money well invested. 
– Social entrepreneurship. Lou & Friends support an organization that benefits women and children in the world, aka investing in the future. 

Wow! I´d like to be able to combine interests like this! 

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! 

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