Upcoming Project on Gender Disparity

For the Digital Writing class that I am taking this summer, one of the assignments was to create a podcast. The topic I chose was dating, inspired by my own misses in the love department and to obtain content, I changed my Facebook status to ask “What is the worst date you have ever been on?” I received cringeworthy tales from both men and women that made you feel connected to the speaker – a LOT of us have had our fair share of bad dates!

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In contemplation of my final project, I decided that I wanted to switch gears slightly and to focus on women’s issues that are pertinent to social, such as the wage gap and maternity leave. Though I am not exactly sure which topics I will choose, I will be dedicating posts to women’s issues all this week!

Is there anything you’d like to hear about (men’s opinions valid too!)?

To hear my podcast about “Dating in Your 20’s,” click here!

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Reading News in 2017: Disillusioned, Lazy, or Proactive?

Ever since the 2016 presidential election, reading the news in the U.S. has felt like walking on hot coals. Leading up to the election, a large amount of people that may not had even been interested in politics prior became hyperaware of what each political party represented.

People nowadays tend to fall into 3 categories:

1) People continuously involved with politics and highly engaged;

2) People who have “accepted” the election results and want to continue as normal; and

3) Those who are neither active nor accepting of the results, but don’t know how to proceed.

I think I am a bit of option 1 and 3 because listening to the news some days feels like it ignites a fire deep within to promote change, while also placing me into a bit of a paralysis. This isn’t too say that I’m immune to sheer laziness as well, but when it looks like no one is able to work together inside or outside of politics, it feels disillusioning.

I think one thing that we can do in the meantime, is to continue a conversation about accepting others as people regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and other types of classification. In light of recent events in Charlottesville, an organization that I suggest to promote racial justice in your neighborhood is called SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). SURJ is a “multi-racial, cross-class movement centering people of color leadership” that organizes in most states in the U.S., including in the Boston area.

Back to School and Life after (Leaving) Law School

I have not been as active on my blog lately in part because on top of a full-time work load, I have gone back to school part-time to receive my M.A. in English at Salem State University with a certificate in Digital Studies! Not only that, but my sister had a baby yesterday which means I am going to be an extra busy Auntie. ūüôā

A few years ago, I left behind a job teaching ESL in Spain to come back and attend law school in Boston. I have never written about this on my blog before but it was a traumatic experience! However, I learned that sometimes our dreams change and that we sometimes make mistakes, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t turn the sails around and start anew. Also – it makes a big difference if you love what you do! I work all day and then come home to study but do you know who isn’t miserable? Me.

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Don’t we wish that sometimes the path through life could be this straight? In Salem, MA.

I had gone to law school with the idea that I would be a human rights lawyer, due to my past publishing experience writing about human trafficking and my unwavering desire to “get the bad guy.” About halfway through my 1L year though, I realized that I wasn’t happy and I felt trapped behind books. When I decided to leave, volunteering at women’s shelters felt more fulfilling to me – a reminder that you don’t need to have a degree to help others (even though it can help).

Despite law school being a bust, it was a learning experience. I think the most important thing is to follow your gut!

Think about all of the mistakes you may have made. What helped you learn the most?

Walking to End Domestic Violence

Dear Friends and Bloggers,

On Sunday, April 30 I will be walking the 25th Annual Walk for HAWC, to help the HAWC nonprofit organization with domestic violence services. I have participated in this event in the past, but I was especially compelled to participate this year for an unfortunate reason.

I have a friend who was brutally attacked by her husband,¬†which made headlines in Boston.¬†Lindsay was a ray of sunshine to all who never had a bad thing to say about anyone, so this news shook up the residents of the small town where we are from (Billerica, MA). The statistics are incredibly alarming:¬†1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. This doesn’t even include other forms of abuse that can come into play.¬†

 

imgresThat is why this walk is so important to me.¬†Your donation¬†of any amount will help¬†HAWC’s comprehensive domestic violence services including their 24-hour hotline, Emergency Shelter, advocacy and legal services, and Parent Child Trauma Recovery Program, HAWC makes great strides every day in providing support to survivors in our community.¬†

Please consider donating to support my walk, on behalf of all of the people who have been/are victims of this terrible crime. You can also read about Lindsay’s current status on her GoFundMe page¬†here.

Thank you!

Book Review: Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road”

Hallelujah! I finally finished “My Life on the Road” by Gloria Steinem, which I have had since my birthday last year. What makes this book so special to me – first and foremost- is that it is signed by THE Gloria Steinem, someone I have idolized growing up. Since the physical book is basically sacred to me, I think I was scared to open the book to actually read it but I did and….it did not disappoint!IMG_5082

The beginning of the book is Gloria’s¬†tale of growing up with her father working as a traveling (and struggling) antiques salesman, in which she would travel with him in his car throughout the U.S. Meanwhile, her mother stayed at home and struggled with mental illness. As privileged as she was and still is, I was surprised at how humble her beginnings and how her time on the road with her father influenced her. Gloria would later chronicle her own many journeys throughout the U.S. as she gave speeches at universities and organized events.

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Gloria Steinem’s autograph.¬†

Many experiences (unsurprisingly) include her talking about how she was not taken seriously and disrespected. During the Lyndon Johnson administration, on the way to an event for Bobby Kennedy two famous writers in a cab¬†in NYC with Gloria leaned across one another to say “You know how every year there’s a pretty girl who comes to New York and pretends to be a writer? Well, Gloria is this year’s pretty” (139). This is just one of many examples in which Gloria¬†was mistreated due to her gender. We all know, of course, that she is no pretty face. Ironically, she¬†went on to break barriers for women¬†everywhere.

What I also liked is what Gloria spent the final pages of her book on Рthe plight of Native Americans and the successes of her best friend, Wilma Mankiller, who was the first woman to lead the Cherokee Nation in 1985. This was a touching tribute to her friend that was with until her last breath, heaving fought many years recovering from a car accident and then succumbing to pancreatic cancer.

Between just Gloria and Wilma alone, there seemed so many possibilities as to what they could do, especially when together. Gloria was a women’s rights crusader who made feminism mainstream. Wilma was a true warrior spent her live improving health care and education for Native Americans. Both Gloria¬†and Wilma were recipients of the Presidential Medals of Freedom. By the end of the book, you are left with the hopefully message that yes, life is a journey, and you really are free to make it your own. This may mean hitting the road and organizing events like Gloria, or finding passion at home. Whatever it is though, you should follow the path you love.

What’s your passion?

 

How I Spent International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and is also my birthday. I’d like to think this was destiny, or my mother pre-planned my birth to land on this day, but it simply a great coincidence. A tradition that I started last year and hope to have in the future, is volunteering on my birthday. I am very lucky that my company has paid volunteer days and were onboard with me taking off time to volunteer!

Like last year, I chose to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, a reputable organization that helps build homes for those with financial burdens. It was too cold to work on a house today, so I worked in their retail store. Their “ReStore” retail stores carries items that have all been donated, and all of the proceeds go to help fund the building of their houses.¬†17201056_10154912630742605_1389717025955409122_n

At ReStore, I organized book shelves, swept floors, tidied inventory, and even painted chairs. Painting furniture is not something I have ever done but have wanted to, so I was glad I could pick up a new “skill,” even though I’m an amateur!

I think that is the beauty of volunteering in general: you pick up new skills and also learn what you do and do not like to do. I know that we typically associate volunteering with community building but it really helps build YOU as a person, so that’s why¬†I am happy spending my birthday’s serving others.

Who else likes volunteering?

Harvard Business School’s Women Empowered: Opening Keynote Address

On February 25, 2017, I attended the 26th Annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference held at Harvard Business School. At this event, I heard from speakers including Jeanne Jackson, President at Nike, amongst many other powerful women in business. At this event, I took copious notes and think that if I were to write about it all, it would be a lot longer than a typical blog post! However, below are my notes from our opening session with Jeanne Jackson. I will likely continue to write about this conference in a separate blog post.

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Outside of the Spangler Center, where the 26th Annual Dynamic Women in Business event was held.

Opening Keynote with Jeanne Jackson of Nike called “Trailblazer in Retail, Branding and Sport: Lead Like you Mean It”

The fact that we are able to discuss female empowerment is a huge privilege in itself, since many women around the world today are still¬†unable to use their voices. Back when Jackson attended HBS in 1976, only 7% of the class were women and traditionally, “power seeking” women were viewed negatively, unlike men during that same period.

Empowered comes from the word “power” (meaning: having the¬†ability to control or influence others), but we should reclaim the word “empowered” to mean a person who chooses their own path.

The 4 Traits a Successful Person Must Have:

1.) Drive – Jackson admitted her drive was to make money, stemming from her need to pay off school loans. She provided an anecdote of having lunch with Serena Williams, and that Williams told her that she “threw out” all of her second place trophies, since she never would only accept being¬†first.

2) Passion – Find something you love to do. With Jackson, she always found an emotional connection with a brand, which helped her in making decisions on where to work. “Happiness is the key to success, not the other way around” she stated.

3) Self-awareness – Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.

3) Initiative to Lead – Leaders must lead. People have expectations for you and business is not a popularity contest. As a person who has led 8 companies and has sat on 10 boards, Jackson knows! She also said to “be the person who punches the bully in the nose” when it comes to sticking up for your workers.

Jeanne Jackson gave an outstanding speech overall, urging a women to “take a seat at the table” next to men who continue to occupy the most positions in managerial and executive-level work. Despite us coming a long way in terms of women’s rights, we still have a lot more that needs to be done, but Jackson remains optimistic.