The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Friday, June 28, 2013

So you want to be a Financial Advisor

While financial advisors work from offices, many spend time with their clients outside the office, getting to know them on a personal level and helping them with difficult financial situations.

Financial Planning is one of the happiest and most satisfying careers available. It revolves around helping people bring order to their financial lives, achieving the financial stability that will allow them to enjoy life by worrying less and having the security to pursue their dreams. Who wouldn’t want to come home feeling that they've made a difference in someone else's life?  Plus, it's one of the careers that will experience growth–nearly 32% over the next two years–and its salary ranges from $30,000 to $120,000 a year.

So how do you become one? First, get some life experience. Financial planners address everything from buying a car to saving for college to general budgeting. Learning how to manage your own finances successfully is the first step, gaining the personal stories that will help you connect to your clients.

Second, cultivate your skillset. Financial planners need a diverse range of skills–computer, research, math, and communication. In high school, take algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics.  Cultivate your oral and written communication skills through speech and English classes. And master computer programs like Microsoft Office, which you’ll use on a daily basis.  

Additionally, try to take a foreign language–in an increasingly diverse world, being able to help clients with other languages can provide you with incredible opportunities, like spending a semester working for a financial firm in Europe! And pay attention in history class–often, history repeats itself. The financial crash of 2008 in the U.S. was compared to the Great Depression, and many people wanted to know why and how it was or wasn't like the 1929 crash.  Knowing your history puts you in a better position to explain how the markets work–and why they sometimes fail.

Then, go to college. Look at the business departments of universities you like. Ideally, you'll want a degree in Financial Planning. These programs provide business courses as well as introductions to estate planning, insurance, and tax planning. You should also seek a program that encourages–or even requires–internships to gain practical experience. Look at the faculty and their specialties, as well as whether they’ve worked in the field or currently work for a financial planning firm. Having mentors with real-world experiences to draw from helps enrich your studies. 

On that note, get a job. Ideally, an office job. Even if it’s in the mailroom, the experience of working in a professional office and learning how it works from the bottom up will help you shine. It shows your dedication to becoming professional, and your willingness to understand how all parts of the business will work together. Nothing says professionalism more than respect for even the lowest guy or gal on the totem pole.

Additionally, financial planning is about more than managing money: it's about counseling. Some of your clients will have trouble just sticking to a budget, and even the ones that can manage their day-to-day finances often find it hard to deal with more complicated matters, like retirement savings. About 90% of your job will be counseling people as to how to manage their money or deal with difficult family situations. You’ll find yourself getting to know your clients on a personal level. So take psychology courses, and take every opportunity you can in learning how to communicate with people. Volunteering in your community can help expose you to different types of people and personal situations.

Finally, network. Contact professionals in your community, and ask to shadow them for a day. Try to attend conferences or webinars. And do your reading–history, economics, and financial planning books. If you want to specialize–say, in helping same-sex couples or individuals with special needs–find resources about their unique circumstances. Cultivate all the skills you can. Being a Financial Advisor is about more than knowing how to manage money, it's about knowing how to help people in difficult, complicated situations. And it's about dedication to helping other people achieve their dreams.

-Tiffany Piotti
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Girlhood in New Zealand

Kiwi Chicks: New Zealand Girl History/Ngā Kōhine Kiwi: He Hitori Taitamāhine o Aotearoais a collections-driven exhibition project that explores girlhood in New Zealand during the 18th-20th centuries, and is co-produced by Girl Museum and National Services Te Paerangi.

In order to preserve NZ girl culture, this project aims to identify "girlhood" objects in New Zealand museums, libraries, archives, schools, historical societies, and art galleries, then create an exciting exhibition that informs and inspires girls of today with the stories, achievements, and struggles of yesterday's girls, as well as reaching a general audience.

If you're interested in participating, you can find out how here. And be sure to visit the exhibition!

Monday, June 24, 2013

L’Oréal’s Women of Science

Women love their makeup and the art of self-decoration goes back thousands of years: from the ancients Egyptians using soot to paint their faces, through the 6th century when women bled themselves with the aim to make their faces paler, to the 19th century when rouge was popular. The development of makeup has advanced significantly in the last century, though, with the use of a wide range of chemicals and technology. Many products take years and a team of scientists to create. For these developments to continue the scientists that work on them are key, and who better to work on them than the women that use the products every day?

L'Oréal has recognised the importance of the women in all areas of science and the benefits they could bring, not only to the development of their own makeup products, but science as a whole. Each year L'Oréal,  together with UNESCO, honour five outstanding women scientists for the contribution of their research, the strength of their commitments, and their impact on society.

This year's winners include women who have made advancements in the technology of electron microscopes, the cooling of molecules, the manufacturing of drugs, the understanding of natural phenomena, and the understanding of climate change. Information about the five laureates can be found here.

These women are pushing boundaries, and it is fitting that the company recognising their achievement is one that brings science into the everyday of women all over the world.

-Emma Hatherall
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Inspirational Girls: Laura Corrigan

Laura Corrigan's "Dare Yourself" entry.

Modern Inspiration: Laura Corrigan

When we write of inspirational girls, we often choose ones who've already completed their lives. While they are certainly inspirational, it's not nearly as inspirational as seeing a girl living out her dreams and dealing with the same problems that most girls face.

Recently, I heard about Laura Corrigan: a girl from Grimsby, England, who took her fate in her own hands. This isn't a story about a girl who faced the restrictions others placed on her. It's a story about a girl who overcame her own insecurities, her self-imposed restrictions, and is becoming someone others can look up to.

Like most of us, Laura had body issues: she wasn't happy with how she looked. But rather than dieting because society told her to, Laura did it for herself. Unhappy with her life and appearance, Laura changed it. She lost the weight through diet and exercise, taking her time (as is medically recommended).  And in taking charge of her appearance, she took charge of her life.  

Now, Laura is a surfer and roller derby girl. She also snowboards, advocates healthy lifestyles for girls, and makes jewelry while working for her family's company. She's competing in this year's Roxy Dare Yourself competition, which looks for "inspirational, naturally beautiful, fun, and confident young women who make every day an adventure." 

Laura Corrigan is in the running to win a worldwide competition by surfwear label Roxy.

Laura certainly meets that. She didn't change for anyone else, but rather for herself. To live the life she dreamed about. And now she does. She surfs, skates, snowboards, and enjoys a healthy lifestyle that's all about being true–and good–to who she is, not who anyone else wants or defines her to be. What better message to send to girls? 

As Laura states in her video, "I'd love to leave a mark on the world by inspiring all girls to be confident in themselves and do what they want to do, do what they believe in. Because if you never dare to get lost, then you will never find the right path."

-Tiffany Piotti
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

To protect . . . and shame?

15 year-old Sarina Frauenfelder in her "shameful" outfit.

On Sunday, Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder's 15 year-old daughter was flying, along with other high school students, from LAX to tour some universities. Before she even boarded the plane, however, she was verbally abused and made to feel shamed by the TSA agent checking her ID. According to texts she sent her father after the incident:
She said the officer was "glaring" at her and mumbling. She said, "Excuse me?" and he said, "You're only 15, COVER YOURSELF!" in a hostile tone.
She was dressed in the outfit above. However, as Mark and others have said, what she was wearing is beside the point. The job of the TSA is to protect our airports and ensure our flights are safe, not to judge others (or sexualize them) on what they choose to wear. The officer was in a position of authority, and he abused his authority when he chose to humiliate someone–doubly so when her outfit was in no way a potential security concern.

Mark and his wife have met with the TSA at LAX, and an investigation into the incident has been opened. Hopefully they will take this incident, and others like it, seriously, as it is attitudes like this that perpetuate victim blaming.

You can read Mark's take on the incident here, and Maureen Herman, co-founder of A is For, a women's rights advocacy group, offers her opinions here.

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Share your family heirlooms with Girl Museum

Do you have a really cool antique ring from your great-grandmother that you want to know more about? Or perhaps you've always wondered what your aunt was smiling about in an old photograph. Well, Girl Museum, in partnership with Chick History, would like to know, too.

Set to launch at the end of the year, Heirloom: A Family History Project is a participatory exhibition that gives girls a chance to learn about their own families and family histories through interviews and researching old photographs, artifacts, and heirlooms. By submitting their findings to Girl Museum,  their stories can be shared as part of our community exhibition.

Researching family history can be a great way to connect with your family: you might discover that your musical talent goes back generations, or that while your parents may not share your hair color, your great-grandfather does. Even if you're adopted you can learn a lot of fascinating things about your adoptive family, including how you came to join them.

Learning about your family history can also help you to learn about history as a whole. World War II might sometimes be boring to read about in class, but discovering that your great-grandparents met in an army hospital where your she was a nurse and he was an injured soldier suddenly makes it that much more personal and interesting.

If you'd like to join us in exploring our family histories, check out the Heirloom Project page and watch the Prezis there. And if you have any questions about the project, be sure to contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Girl in Colonial America

David, Joanna, and Abigail Mason, 1670. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum of the Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco.

Most people in colonial America were farmers, tilling land that had been passed down from their ancestors who had settled in America. Girls were an active part of farm life, often spending their entire youth on the farm, sometimes traveling to a nearby town with their parents or visiting neighbors.  

Girls learned everything they needed to know at home, as public schools had not yet been established.  In some communities there were schools, but they was mostly reserved for boys. A girl's education was limited to basic reading and writing (enough to read the Bible and write their name) and everyday tasks to maintain their home. Some girls were also taught basic math at home, or may have been further educated if their parents deemed it a preferred skill.  

Most young girls learned to cook, spin, and sew from their mothers. They would also learn how to make household goods, such as candles, and help tend the animals, kitchen garden, and fields. Some girls were sent to apprentice under a master tradesman, but this was rare and usually only occurred when the girl was orphaned or lived in a town rather than on a farm.  

Eventually, a girl's life would fit into the seasonal cycles. During the winter and spring, spinning and sewing were done, as well as caring for children and socializing with neighbors. In the summer and early fall, girls helped cultivate crops, especially the kitchen garden, and tend the animals. They would also sit outside, making candles and lye soap. In the late fall, they would can vegetables, cure meats, and dry herbs for the long winter ahead.

Eventually, these skills would help a girl establish her own household when she married, typically around age 16. These skills also came in handy if a girl's father or husband died, enabling her to continue the farm and household on her own. Their lives were quiet, and often went unaccounted for in the history books, but their daily tasks were vital to family life. They did the majority of the work to keep the house and raise the children, allowing their husbands to focus on cash crops and trading for goods they could not make at home.

-Tiffany Rhoades
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It takes two to to speak.

Teen pregnancy is an issue that is most often discussed only in the context of girls. To an extent, it makes sense: girls are the ones who get pregnant, and the ones who are most affected by the emotional and social–not to mention physical–consequences.

However, it takes two to get pregnant, and a new ad campaign in Chicago sets out to remind people of that. The text for the ads is pretty straightforward, reading "Unexpected? Most teen pregnancies are. Avoid unplanned pregnancies and STIs. Use condoms. Or wait." The graphics however, are a bit different from the norm.

Though some people are concerned about the ads being disrespectful toward the transgender community, overall, the response has been positive. The hope is that the ads will start a conversation about how teen pregnancy affects the whole community. Additionally, the ad campaign is similar to one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2009, which is credited with a 10% drop in the teen pregnancy rate in the area.

Though showing a pregnant man may still be shocking to some, it's not a new idea, as one ad campaign from London dates back to the 1970s.

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hollywood's Mermaid

Esther Williams, Hollywood's go-to mermaid in the '40s, '50s and '60s,  shows off her swimmer’s body.

Esther Williams, known as "Hollywood's mermaid," died peacefully in her sleep this week, at the age of 91.

Esther started her career as a champion swimmer, specialising in male-dominated strokes such as the butterfly. She had three national titles by the age of 16. When the outbreak of World War II prevented her from competing in the 1940 Olympics she began appearing in Aquacade live shows with future Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller, where she attracted the attention of Hollywood studio MGM. During the 1940s and 50s she starred in several "aqua-musicals" designed just for her, films such as Bathing Beauty and Thrill of a Romance.

In her personal life, Esther married four times, and in her third marriage to director Fernando Lumas she withdrew from film and the public eye. She reemerged after his death to host synchronised swimming competitions, launch a swimwear line, and produce video swimming lessons for children.

Since Esther, I don't believe anyone else has managed to merge swimming and acting as successfully as the so-called "Bathing Beauty," and perhaps they never will.

You can see some of Esther's work here.

-Emma Hatherall
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Memories of Girlhood: Secret Forts

Building a fort is a favorite childhood pastime. Forts come in all shapes and sizes, from living room blanket forts to backyard tree houses. As a little girl, I loved playing in forts. Who am I kidding, I still love them, and I'm not ashamed to say that I have built a blanket fort within the past month. Out of all of the forts I have built in my 22 years, my favorite was the Secret Hideout at my grandmother’s house.

I always loved spending time at my grandma's house, especially in the summertime when we could play in the Secret Hideout. When the family would get together the five of us cousins would play out there for hours, building our fort in the woods in the back yard. We sectioned off different areas for different purposes, we even had a laundry room with a clothesline! We desperately tried to build a car out of an old trailer and some lawnmower motors. We never succeeded, but not for lack of effort. One of our favorite games to play was Boxcar Children, based on the book series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Our lineup of cousins almost perfectly matched up to the book characters and we had so much fun pretending to live out in the woods alone and solve mysteries. I think that our Secret Hideout was a really important part of growing up as it fostered creativity and a close relationship between all of my cousins. One thing I don’t know is why we called it the Secret Hideout, as I’m pretty sure all of our parents knew exactly where we were the whole time.

Building forts is not only a fun activity, but it is actually an important part of a child’s development. I recently attended a Nature Explore workshop which explained the importance of visual-spatial skills and that building forts as a child really helps to strengthen these skills. As I fondly think back on my tree house, many blanket forts, and the Secret Hideout, I know that those experiences were an integral part of my childhood.

-Hillary Hanel
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The real reason to educate girls

Ruksana lives on the streets of Kolkata, India. Despite this, she excels in school, particularly in mathematics and geography.

When we talk about educating girls, we often talk about the economic and societal benefits. With girls' education, we see improvements in health and nutrition (particularly in children), reductions in both child and maternal mortality rates, expanded societal roles for women, and economic expansion and growth.

These, and the many other tangible and intangible benefits, are all excellent reasons for ensuring that girls everywhere receive an education. But they all neglect a key element to educating girls: they are human beings, and as deserving of an education as any boy. We often ignore the humanness of girls, their dignity, and instead focus on the more quantifiable benefits of educating them. While these are valid arguments, it would be nice if those in charge of making policies would consider girls' education as a priority because it's the ethical thing to do, not because it's the economically sound thing to do.

If you're interested in reading more about this, Tabby Biddle wrote an excellent column on this subject. You can learn more about Girl Rising, the film that inspired her column at the previous link or on the 10x10 website. You can read more on the economic and social benefits to girls' education at The World Bank.

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Astronaut Abby

Abigail Harrison

As you saw in an earlier post, now is a very exciting time for women and girls in space exploration!

On May 20, the White House announced that Sally Ride will be honored with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. President Obama said, "We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women. Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there."

The White House will also putting her name on the camera she helped get installed on the International Space Station. The memorials were announced at a national tribute titled "Sally Ride: A Lifetime of Accomplishment, a Champion of Science Literacy," held in Washington DC.

Do you have dreams of a similar career? It is not only grown women who can do amazing things to inspire dreams of space exploration. Abigail Harrison, also known as "Astronaut Abby," is still in high school but she's already a role model.

In 8th grade, Abigail Harrison created a State History Day Project titled "Debate and Diplomacy: The History of the ISS." The project, which included elements of both history and science, included Abby's interviews with astronauts as well as other space professionals, such as International Space Station engineer Susan Freedman.  During this project, she created her online presence, "Astronaut Abby." Abby’s long-term goal is to become not only an astronaut, but the first astronaut to land on Mars. Abby shares her experience of striving for her amazing dream on her blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page, and hopes to inspire other young people to set goals and reach for the stars themselves.

Abby is now a sophomore at South High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and still working hard to achieve her dreams of space travel.  After a visit to NASA's Kennedy Space Center a couple of years ago to witness the final launch of the shuttle Endeavor, she met Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano.   After this meeting, he became Abby's mentor. Now she's collaborating with Parmitano as his "Earth Liaison" during his current mission on the ISS. Abby traveled to watch the May 28th launch in  Kazakhstan, which she successfully crowdfunded. You can check out the twitter feed for their outreach project Soyuz Adventure here.

In an interview with the website Women You Should Know, Abby shared her view that "instead of labeling someone as a female scientist or a female astronaut, simply call her a scientist or an astronaut. I think that by changing the way we perceive women in the sciences, which is currently seen as something monumental, and start seeing it as commonplace, we can make a big impact."

-Emily Holm
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.