By Sonia Billadeau
On Thursday, March 31st, Architect Dame Zaha Hadid died of a heart attack in a Miami hospital where she was being treated for bronchitis. She was 65 years old, according to BBC News
Hadid designed many structures around the world, including Hong Kong, Germany and the U.S. One of her well-known designs is the 2012 London Olympic Aquatic Center.
Born in Iraq, Hadid studied at the American University of Beirut and then later moved to London to study at Architectural Association School of Architecture. In 1979, she created her own company – Zaha Hadid Architects.
Hadid’s first design to be constructed was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein in Germany in 1993 where later, she went on to design the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London and the Riverside Museum at Glasgow's Museum of Transport and Guangzhou Opera House in China.
Along with her groundbreaking designs, Hadid has won many awards for her work such as the RIBA Stirling Price twice and this year, she was the first woman and Muslim to receive the RIBA Gold Medal.
Hadid stood as a beacon for successful women in society. When receiving the Gold Medal in February, Hadid proclaimed, “We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn't mean it's easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress.”
From her humble beginning to fame, Hadid did not forget what gave her the success. Back in 2014, Hadid designed a building at the American University of Beirut to show her appreciation for the school.
Hadid also shared her skill and love of architecture at many schools around the world. She was a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design, University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Architecture and Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Austria, just to name a few.
When Hadid’s death was made known to the world, RIBA President Jane Duncan said, “This is absolutely terrible news. Dame Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being.
"Visionary and highly experimental, her legacy despite her young age, is formidable. She leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars that delight and astound people all around the world. The world of architecture has lost a star today,” lamented BBC News.
In future projects, Hadid’s designed stadium will take center stage at the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
“It was very much a man's world but she was determined to shape it and bend into the way she saw it, into Zaha Hadid's world,” said art editor Will Gompertz.
“Dame Zaha will be seen as a leading light for any architect, especially female architects who have come from abroad and are living in Britain, to show that they can succeed in this country even through all the brickbats you receive along the way.”
For the inspiration and idealist Hadid was for women, especially multi-cultural women in the world, we commend her life and will always remember her legacy.
(Image via The Telegraph)
By Rebecca Moore
Last year’s Oscars gave us one of the most important things that can be given by television: a new reaction gif. Because, at some point in all of our live we are going to need Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez applauding enthusiastically in our lives. I just saw someone use it on Twitter yesterday. It’s truly a gift that keeps on giving.
There is the possibility though, perhaps we have forgotten what she was applauding in the first place. Of course, now as I say that, you probably remember Patricia Arquette’s speech on the gender wage gap in Hollywood. But her words have probably faded from our minds.
Yes, there have been other actresses who have tried to bring it up again, but the reality is, we, as moviegoers, have a powerful voice in this matter. We have our dollar. If you claim to care about the pay gap, or the casting and directing gap, it’s important to stay educated and use our money to support, or not, entertainment that uplifts the women involved.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an organization that could help women in film in a more direct way, though?
Meet the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Their goal is simple: support women filmmakers.
The foundation works to give grants to women who are working to use their talents to tell their own stories. Currently only 6% of directors in Hollywood are women, and ASF is doing their part to lessen that gap. They have partnered with the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. Boston University, Columbia University School of the Arts Film Division, The Sundance Institute, and Rooftop Films, are just a few to give women better access that they might not otherwise have had.
Most of the world's stories have been told by men. Not just action movies or the books you find on the bestseller list, but history itself. The world and our perception of it has been shaped and influenced by only half of it’s population, and it is time that we as women work to reclaim our voices.
If you are a filmmaker and are interested in learning more about how you can get involved with them, go here to see if they could be a resource. If you are not involved in the fim industry, but see them as a worthwile cause, you can donate, or head over to Sevenly.org this week. Their fabulous shirts, of which I own several, are contributing to the Adrienne Shelly Foundation this week. Their designs are some of the best they’ve made, so not only are you supporting a wonderful cause, you get one of these sweet shirts.
We can be critical of the media and how it treats women all we want, but at the end of the day, it is the people who show up that make a difference. So go and find your voice, and help another woman find hers.
(Image via fstoppers.com)
By Jessie Bruner
We’ve all heard of online degrees: degrees earned by education-seeking students who just don’t have the means or the time to be on a college campus for their degree. It ranges from moms with kids at home, dads who never went to college, and hundreds of others looking to further their education find comfort and hope in online programs. But with all the recent developments in technology, people around the world, especially young people, are looking to the Internet for their education… in different ways.
“Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” A quote from the famous self-educator, Albert Einstein, embodies the educational movement that is now taking place on the Internet. After recently celebrating their 10 year anniversary (only 10 years? Feels like it’s been around forever!) YouTube has recently developed an education section for their website. (For more details on the section, check out their link here).
The site includes different sections of education such as business, foreign and native languages, social sciences, medicine, and much more. Students around the world are turning to YouTube and other social media sites to get educated on topics that they’re interested in, or even topics that they’re struggling with in school.
Another new section of YouTube called CrashCourse offers, well, a crash course in various topics: science, economics, astronomy, etc. Students of all ages can learn the basics of any topic and then go on to explore the details themselves. Famous author John Green, together with his brother Hank, has created CrashCourse as a way to encourage all students to further their education. As a result, the channel now has over 4 million subscribers and has reached over 300 million views. These numbers have earned the Green brothers funding from multiple government agencies.
The key to their success? Derek Muller, a well-known online educator, states in an interview with Forbes magazine: “Entertainment is the top priority to keep (viewers’) minds from wandering […] If you’re not getting people engaged, you’re not going to reach a big audience.” And entertain, they do!
Sites like YouTube and Khan Academy (see more details here) are storming the educational castle and are raking in the reviews. Viewers can watch and re-watch videos at their leisure and learn at their own pace. Everything from how to change your car’s oil, to calculus lessons, to learning Spanish is available at our fingertips – literally.
And although the technological devices at our disposal may never take the place of our beloved teachers, what is stopping us from using our resources? Having trouble with comma splices? There’s a video for that. Can’t seem to figure out your geometry homework? John Green can help you out with that.
Our education is in our hands and we must remember what Einstein said: “Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” So don’t let your education stop with high school, or even college. Take advantage of the resources provided and get educated.
By Sonia Billadeau
Jessica Knoll’s debut novel Luckiest Girl Alive has been a success, selling more than 400,000 copies and earned a spot on the best-sellers list. Once the book hit shelves, many of the readers commented on the realism of the story and wondered how Knoll crafted her story.
Luckiest Girl Alive is about a sex columnist named Ani FaNelli who strives for perfection, but her perfect image is faltered when she participates in a documentary about her high school and relives the horrifying event of being raped as a teenager. The novel narrates between the present and the past as reviewed by the New York Times.
At the novel’s past Q&A’s and book signings, Knoll was asked how she had managed to depict a rape and its aftermath so vividly and accurately. She would often comment that she had heard stories from friends and classmates.
But in reality, Knoll’s fiction novel was based on a particular experience. Her own.
On March 29th, Knoll shared with the world through a letter that the gang rape described in her novel was from her experience when was sexually assaulted by three boys at a party.
“I was so conditioned to not talk about it that it didn’t even occur to me to be forthcoming,” Knoll said in her letter. “I want to make people feel like they can talk about it, like they don’t have to be ashamed of it.”
Knoll’s explained what she went through at the party and how she never got the courage to speak about it because of the negative and cruel responses from her classmates.
“No one was treating me like a victim; they were treating me like I was a perpetrator, like I was getting what I deserved,” Knoll said, according to the New York Times.
Knoll also went to therapy years later to figure out what happened that painful and blurry night. Once she was in her thirties, Knoll decided to finally address the incident through her fiction writing. Knoll said she did not want revenge on her attackers when she published the book and the essay, she just wanted to take control of her story.
“It’s not directed at them,” Knoll said. “It’s more like, ‘I’m going to tell the story this time.’ This is a very empowering thing for me to be able to say, actually, this is what happened to me, and to take ownership of my own narrative.”
Once Jonathan Karp, the president of Simon & Schuster Publishing, read Knoll’s letter he said, “We were all shocked and moved by what we read. It’s a little bit like finding out something about a friend that you never knew, and it makes you respect them even more for their strength and their character.”
By her bravery and dedication to speak out, Jessica Knoll has given hope to women who have kept quiet for too long.
Go buy yourself a copy of Luckiest Girl Alive and read for yourself the power behind this story of heartache and redemption.
Find the letter here: http://www.lennyletter.com/life/a316/what-i-know/
(Image via makers.com)
By Rebecca Moore
When people hear the word nuclear, images of mushroom clouds and burned faces probably come to mind. At minimum, it's a negative association. Nuclear power means reactor accidents like Chrynobl and Japan.
It's election season, and nuclear power has already come up and likely will again. Whether or not anyone focuses on something that is an normal issue when we could talk about the horrifying idea of Ted Cruz sleeping around or Drumpf's failed Vodka company is yet to be seen, but if it does, here's some facts about nuclear power that need to be brought to the public's attention.
1. Nuclear power is safe.
The reality of the matter is more people die on a regular basis from accidents related to the production of energy from coal, gas, or hydro electricity than nuclear power. Not only are the lives lost per kilowatt produced lower, it also is clean energy, which means the other detrimental health effects, such as asthma that come from prolonged exposure to gas, oil, and coal are much smaller.
2. Nuclear power is green.
No I don't mean radioactive glowing green. As afore mentioned, nuclear power is clean, which means it's carbon footprint is much smaller than other energy sources. With lower greenhouse gas emissions produced, and not needing to drill for natural resources, it is a long term, sustainable energy solution.
3. Nuclear power is cost effective
According to the Institute of Energy Research, nuclear energy costs 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour. This is the lowest in comparison coal, being 3.23 cents, natural gas at 4.51 cents, and petroleum costing a whopping 21.56 cents.
With other alternative energy sources, such as wind, there are seeming environmental benefits, but nuclear provides the best economic option.
4. Nuclear power is already in widespread use in other countries.
There are currently only four countries, including France, that use nuclear power as their main source of energy, but there are many more who use it as a supplementary power source. The United States is one of these countries, and the plants that exist through out the world are proving very beneficial to the countries they reside in.
Nuclear power of course needs to have regulations that will keep everyone who uses it safe, but the reality is its largest problem is with public opinion, and not the technology itself. We have a responsibility to find real solutions to our growing energy crisis, and this could very well be it.
Go research. Learn about the benefits, the draw backs, the long term affects. But don't just assume that it should be taken of the table without being informed on what it really is.
(Image via trinitynews.ie)
By Jessie Bruner
Facebook. Texting. IMing. Snapchatting. Instagramming. Millennials today have thousands of communicational resources at their fingertips, literally. With all the headway that’s been done in technology in the past 20 years, Millennials have been called the Technology Generation, the Net Generation, or Generation Y.
These nicknames stem from an overwhelming abundance of technological dependency in our generation. But is that a bad thing? Or could we use technology to shape our future?
In a study done by Pew Research Center, technology experts are “fairly evenly split as to whether the younger generation’s always-on connection to people and information will turn out to be a net positive or a net negative by 2020.” The experts say that many people in today’s world are “hyperconnected to each other” and count on the Internet as their “external brain.”
On the one had, some researchers say that being connected and constantly networking is a skill that millennials possess to thrive in today’s society, especially in their work places. Millennials are expected to stay with in arm’s length of their employers via cellphone at all times. Maybe thought of as a bad thing initially, staying connected gives millennials the leg up against their fierce, ever-growing, competition.
On the other hand, Pew Research has found that the multitasking, networking, social media-dependent generation does not “retain information; they spend most of their energy sharing short social messages, being entertained, and being distracted away from deep engagement with people and knowledge.”
This brings us to our next question: what is it doing to their interpersonal relationships?
In a survey done by Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College, “60% of prospective employers said that millennial applicants lacked communication and interpersonal skills.” The same applicants excelled in other skills such as technology, science, and engineering. The employers overpassed these applicants because they simple couldn’t communicate at an appropriate level.
So what does this mean for our generation? Should we embrace technology and all of its facets, using it as a tool to help us climb the social, economical, and financial ladders? Or do we put our phones away and have a real conversation with a real human, ignoring the 20+ notifications from every social media site out there? Is balance possible?
First, learn when cellphone use is appropriate. Social situations when you’re with friends or at a party is probably not an appropriate time to check Facebook. Use your technology skills to be a better asset at work or at school. Download dictionary and news apps to keep yourself up-to-date on your current events. Use organizational tools to help keep your life in order.
Second, make time for your interpersonal relationships. Haven’t talked to your mom in a while? Take her to lunch. Notice that your friend is having a hard day? Go get some ice cream with them. Keep that phone in your pocket, though. People need to know that you value their presence. Show them that you care by giving them eye contact, positive body language, and verbal responses. Remember what they say and ask about it in later conversations. Interpersonal relationships are proven to boost self-confidence, self worth, and overall morale.
Albert Einstein once said that he “fear[ed] the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Let us be the ones to stop that. Let’s put our phones down and value the face-to-face interactions we have, while we still have them.
(Image via stocksnap.io by Jan Vašek)
By Sonia Billadeau
On March 18th, the White House nominated General Lori Robinson of the Air force to manage all military forces. If approved by the Senate, General Robinson will become the first woman to lead one of the United States combatant commands.
According to the New York Times, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said, “We have coming along now a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. Lori certainly fits into that category.”
Back in 1982, Robinson joined the ROTC program at the University of New Hampshire. She has been in many positions such as Director of the Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon, and a commander of an operations group, a training wing and an air control wing, according to the U.S. Air Force webpage.
In 2007 and 2014, Robinson made history when she became the first woman Air Battle Manager and Commander in an Oklahoma station and four-star commander of combat forces in the Pacific Air Forces based in Hawaii.
To clarify on combatant commands, there are six combatant commanders in the Defense Department who direct military operations in different regions of the world. Robinson would run the United States Northern Command, which is based in Colorado Springs, according to the New York Times.
The responsibilities of the Northern Command is defending America's homeland — protecting the people of the US, US national power and freedom of action, according to the U.S. Northern Command webpage.
Alongside Robinson, six percent of generals and admirals are women. 17 percent of officers are women and 15 percent of enlisted service members are women. Out of 38 four-star generals, there are three women, including Robinson, according to the Pentagon.
As of now, Robinson is still the Air Battle Manager stationed in Hawaii.
This would be an incredible moment in history if Robinson is elected. She is truly an inspiration to all women that they can be powerful and make a really great difference. We can’t wait to see what happens!
(Image via stripes.com)
By Jessie Bruner
With an increasing number of Millennials entering the work place, researchers are finding that more and more millennial women are burning out. And they’re burning out fast. Faster, in fact, than any other generation in U.S. history. Researchers are finding that millennials are finding their work unfulfilling, mundane, and uninteresting.
Women in the work place, on average, burn out of their jobs at age 28. It seems a pretty young age to give up on one’s career. So why are millennial women burning out faster than their male counterparts?
For starters, let’s talk expectations. Millennials by nature have much expected of them in the upcoming and fast-paced world. A generation known for their technological skills and constant connection with social media are finding that they are required them to maintain that constant connection with their jobs.
This means working 24/7; tweeting, texting, IMing, and facebooking have become a norm in the work place. Being expected to keep in constant contact with an employer, a co-worker, or a client could lead to exhaustion, fatigue, and frustration. In addition to their jobs, women with families find it difficult to balance work life with family time. Spending all day and all night on technological devices make it almost impossible to fulfill the duties of young, busy mother.
Professor Scott Reinardy did a study that "examined the numbers through gender socialization theory, which claims that society puts certain expectations on people based on their gender from a very young age. Where women are more often expected to provide the majority of family care and raise children, men are expected to be the breadwinners and put work obligations before family.” So when women take on responsibilities at work, they feel overloaded, overwhelmed, and overworked.
Research shows that women have a tendency to take more upon themselves; to become people pleasers, if you will. In addition to these feelings, women in the upcoming generations may feel that since feminism is taking such a high importance in today’s society, they have to prove their worth in their work places. This could in turn lead to them taking on more work, only to increase their feelings of being burnt out.
Yet another reason women are finding it difficult to continue their careers after 30 is that they are uncertain of the future. It is hard to imagine where they’ll be in five years, let alone ten or twenty. With the future always changing, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When the future is unclear, it is hard to focus on what millennials really want. This makes careers uninteresting and, well, boring for the fast-paced millennial women.
So what is the best solution for a millennial woman who feels that she is burning her candle at both ends? Take a break. Realize that you’re burning out and heading down the wrong road. Working a job that you don’t love, in combination with trying to uphold your other duties and responsibilities is the quickest way to burning out.
Do something you love, and do it often. If you can make a career out of it, more power to you. Many women report that taking a break, scaling back on self-given responsibilities, and learning to say “no” was the key to saving them from a burn out crisis.
So take time to reflect, breathe, relax, and reevaluate how you want your future to go. Be more intentional about your next steps in life. Decide what you want and go for it.
By Sonia Billadeau
Happy National Women’s History Month! Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Melba Pattillo—just to name a few—stood alone and fought the norm to achieve what seemed right.
These women: one who did not give up her sit because of discrimination, another who worked hard to become the first woman pilot, and one who integrated high school for whites and African Americans, paved new paths to get women where they are now.
Just 29 years ago, Congress officially made March Women’s History Month. Here is a little walk through how it all started:
Women’s History Week Celebration
In 1978, the Education Task Force of California’s Sonoma County organized the first “Women’s History Week” celebration, according to National Women’s History Project.
During this week, women from the community visited the schools and gave presentations. Also, an annual “Real Women” essay contest was conducted throughout the county. The week was completed with a parade in downtown Santa Rosa, California.
In 1980, Women’s History Week became official in the States when President Carter published the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week.
“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation.
“Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” President Carter said in his address for the very first Women’s Week.
Once the decision was final, many departments of education around the nation celebrated Women’s History Week in classrooms. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon and Alaska were among the first states to create course materials for all of their public schools, as researched by National Women’s History Project.
When Women’s History Week became Women’s History Month
Within six years, 14 states had declared March as Women’s History Month. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned to Congress that Women’s Week should officially become women’s month. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress approved additional resolutions requesting the President to declare March of each year as Women’s History Month, according to the Women’s History Month webpage.
Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a special Presidential Proclamation every year designating March Women’s History Month, according to the Women’s History Month webpage.
There is true motivation and inspiration behind the courage and determination of the men and women who made Women’s History Month possible. Ladies, don’t be afraid to be passionate about what you do and make a difference! Let’s celebrate these women’s legacy by paving our own paths as women--fearlessly.
By Jessie Bruner
In a recent debate circulating the nation’s politicians and federal military officers, the vote is still out on whether or not women ages 18 through 25 will be subject to the same law as their male counterparts: the Draft. The Selective Service Law currently states that only men between the ages of 18 and 25 would be required to register, but could that change in the not-so-distant future?
Let’s consider the pros and cons of the new amendment to the Selective Services Law:
-The United States would have ample military services in a time of crisis or emergency. With increasing world issues such as ISIS, terrorism, and nuclear war knocking at its door, the U.S. could be in need of a large military at any moment.
-The mandatory draft could also open up education possibilities that are currently denied to so many women. According to the same article, the military offers many benefits, health and otherwise, to women who choose to serve.
-Women who also feel a sense of obligation to fight physically for their country will fulfill that obligation. Many women currently serving in the military forces respond that they feel satisfied in their need to serve their country, and they feel that they contribute just as much as their male counterparts.
-Also, what woman wouldn’t want the chance to show that women can do anything men can do? If women are for equal rights and feminism, shouldn’t equal rights also yield equal obligations?
-The obvious con of physical strength should be considered. It is a fact that women often do not reach the physical capacities that men do. Women, especially women of small stature, cannot carry or lift the same amount of weight that an average sized male could. This could lead to inequality within members of the same unit, and scrutiny.
-Risk of abuse. Unfortunately, women in the military are subject to more abuse, even in their own units, and torture, if captured by an enemy. We shudder to think about what the enemy would do to captured women. ConnectUS says, “Some women may be built to endure torture of any kind, but others could be ill-prepared for it. Prisoners of war often go through a horrendous amount of physical abuse, but sexual abuse is often thrown in when women are captured by enemies.”
-The family unit. Growing up in a home where the mother is not present has been proven to have extreme negative effects on the home environment. If women are to be subject to the draft, and both parents are enlisted in the military to be taken out of the home, what would this do to their children?
-Females have a tendency to have a more nurturing character. To submit them forcibly to war would contradict. Current Presidential candidate Ted Cruz refers to his own daughters on the matter: “I'm the father of two little girls. I love those girls with all my heart. They are capable of doing anything in their hearts' desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in the foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them, doesn't make any sense at all.” To protect our feminine nature should be a priority. That’s not to say that women who join the military can’t retain that femininity, but, it is more challenging.
All things considered, women offer much to the military force. They have skills to offer and things to contribute to their comrades. But wives and mothers also have duties at home and things to accomplish there. Whatever a woman’s choice may be, she can accomplish what she sets her mind to. However, should the government be allowed to force women into a role that they do not desire, nor, in some case, fit?
No official statement has been made regarding mandatory draft for women. However, the question hangs in the air above millennials’ heads.