Health Care Reproductive Rights Love + Sex Love

Some women don’t want children, and they won’t change their minds

These days, many of the women who do not want children are opting for female sterilization as their primary form of contraception. The reasoning behind this decision varies from person to person, from climate change to simple disinterest.

Frustratingly, women who favor a child-free lifestyle are frequently shamed and questioned for this decision. I still can’t get my head around why society thinks that a woman’s choice of contraception is a group decision.

Not your body, not your choice. It is really that simple. 

Sterilization is a permanent form of contraception that is highly effective in preventing pregnancy. If you have decided that children aren’t for you, this form of contraceptive makes total sense.

Women in the United States are three times more likely to opt for sterilization than men. Despite this, women routinely battle stigma and opposition when attempting to access sterilization procedures. 

We’re all familiar with the raging debate surrounding abortion and personal choice. “My body, my choice” is a well-understood concept; it just doesn’t apply to everyone, apparently.

The hypocrisy of reproductive debates is blatantly obvious in attitudes towards sterilization. Not only is public opinion strongly against female sterilization, medical practitioners often refuse or attempt to dissuade women from opting for this procedure. Whilst there are specific risks and considerations that practitioners are legally required to disclose during mandatory counseling, many provide opinions that show personal bias. This is both problematic and unethical.

Given that the healthcare practitioner determines if you are fit for the procedure, their perspective is the ultimate decider. Women frequently are advised against the procedure because they are deemed too young or because their practitioners believe they may experience “post-sterilization regret.”  This undermines the ability of women to make their own medical decisions and fails to allow bodily autonomy. 

Women are rarely offered sterilization as a form of contraceptive, even when they expressly wish to remain child-free, forever. The options presented are almost always removable or temporary, such as the pill or IUD. In the decade in which I’ve been sexually active, I’ve not once had a healthcare practitioner even mention sterilization as a form of contraception. 

Women’s sexual health continues to be viewed as some sort of mysterious and taboo topic. This allows for misconceptions and misinformation; women and girls are provided with so little open and honest information about their own bodies and anatomy. 

A vasectomy, the process in which a man is permanently sterilized, is a minor procedure that prevents sperm from reaching the semen. A common misconception is that hysterectomies are the female “equivalent” of vasectomies. 

Female sterilization is not well understood or widely promoted. So, let’s break it down:

Tubal ligation: a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are cut, sealed, or partially removed, better known as “getting your tubes tied.” This prevents the egg from reaching the uterus and being fertilized. You’ll be able to go home that same day, and the recovery time is usually under a week. If successful, it is effective immediately. This is the safest and most common method of female sterilization. 

Hysterectomy: a major surgical procedure in which the entire uterus is removed. In some cases, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix may also need to be removed. Hysterectomies are needed for various reasons, including cancer and uterine prolapse. 

Female sterilization is 99% effective and requires no lifestyle changes. It’s potentially a good option if you experience adverse reactions to hormonal or implanted forms of contraception. 

Despite the high success rate, women under 40 are less likely to be referred for sterilization. It’s advised that this decision should not be made when single or when under stress. Apparently, being unattached renders you incapable of making serious personal decisions. Sexism is alive and well. 

Men who choose sterilization rarely face the same scrutiny. Vasectomies are generally approved and men are less likely to need a partner’s consent. Admittedly, there are some medical grounds for this: vasectomies are usually reversible, and more affordable. They are also generally considered safer, although they can take up to four months to be effective. 

But undeniably, men are assumed to not have an inherent paternal instinct. They just want risk-free sex and no maintenance—atta boy! This is woefully incorrect, so many guys really want to be dads. It’s actually pretty hard to find one who doesn’t!

Despite vasectomies being more socially acceptable and favored by medical practitioners, many men are against the procedure. Patriarchal norms promote the notion that virility and masculinity are mutually exclusive. 

The problem is, this debate too often centers around male versus female sterilization. Why is there even a comparison? Sterilization is a personal choice and one that women, single or not, should be allowed to make alone.

We need to stop telling women what they should do and feel, period.

Women who choose to be childless are tired of having to defend their decision. They don’t want or need your opinion. 

Parenthood is a complicated business. I often think about how bizarre it is that a relatively simple act can result in an entire person. 

I’m still confused about why it is so difficult to ensure that one is not responsible for someone else’s whole existence. 

Biology and bias can be a bitch.

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Love + Sex Love Advice

Why does nostalgia make us want to go back to the ex that hurt us?

Recently in one of my philosophy of logic classes, we explored the idea of interpersonal relationships and the reason why we tend to feel nostalgic towards past romantic relationships. It’s a topic of interest that I’ve become pretty knowledgeable about.

So welcome to my Ted Talk.

We’ve all been there. Following a bad breakup with your significant other, you’re stuck with this extreme feeling of nostalgia and emotional distress, which makes you want to take them back. 

But here’s the thing: most of the time, we actually don’t want them back. We don’t call them to beg for a second chance. We seriously hate their guts, but yet we find this unexplainable need to run back to them.

Then, is it nostalgia? Our personal instinct to cling onto some of our treasured memories with the people who hold a special part in our hearts? Or is it our psychological incapability to forget about the past

Why do we continue to experience these types of feelings when it comes to our past romantic relationships?

This is my logical approach regarding this phenomenon

We just want to feel loved. And when I say loved—I mean we desire these types of heartwarming feelings, especially during our most emotionally stricken moments.

But when we can’t fulfill this feeling, we begin to search through everything in our current relationships (past relationships included) to find that. And most of the time, that can only be fulfilled when we look back into a previous relationship with a toxic ex and block out everything that went wrong just so we can enjoy the good feelings again.

But while it’s good for you to reminisce on all the great feelings you had, keep in mind why the relationship ended and how the heartbreak affected you. When you’re deep into that moment, it’s hard to shift your focus back onto why your ex is your ex and all the things that caused you two to part ways.

Maybe they will be a part of your future, maybe not. But don’t expect things to be perfect. 

My advice to you is to take the time to focus on yourself and to try not to think about them in a way that everything around you reminds you of them.

Then, when you’re emotionally stable, try to gain some type of closure with them to figure out why the relationship ended and why it’s best for both of you to go your separate ways. 

Finally, delete them from your memories!

Easier said than done, but this is the most crucial step into trying to avoid this dilemma of running back to your ex for heartbreak round two based on that feeling of nostalgia.

Best of luck, and keep your head up high and strong! 

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Best Friends Forever Life Stories Life

Friends can break up too and it’s painful

I’m sure everyone has had the displeasure of a friendship break up in their life – for me personally, I’ve been through two; one during my time at secondary school and one as an adult. Neither was easy to get through. 

Friends are valuable people in any individual’s life – a spare sibling if you will, away from home, out in an environment similar to yours. Kids cartoons advocate the importance of having a friend in life, but why is it that when a friendship breaks down, we don’t treat it the same as when a romantic relationship falls apart? We do end up telling our friends the most personal aspects of our lives and when the friendship goes sour, it fills us with anxiety and loneliness. But because the topic is not widely discussed, many people are inclined to believe that they’re not valid for feeling that way, in truth they are and the conversation starts here. 

My friends in my life now are a huge part of who I am as a person. I’m thankful that the friends I made as an adult are not enablers and are more than comfortable discussing and helping me solve any problems that come my way. But I only made proper friends as an adult; an experience from secondary school had left me traumatized to the point of me seeking therapy and isolating myself from people in general. 

I suffer from quite a few health problems; I’ve always been a little weaker than the average person in terms of health and often my peers at school would mock me for it. Whether it was for my broken finger that never healed, my constant migraines and nosebleeds or for my weight gain attributed to PCOS – I was an easy target and I lived with it. That was until I got halfway through secondary school and met a girl who wasted no time defending me against people calling me fat amongst other things. She was the first friend I had who would actually do something about people bullying me. Bit by bit, I started confiding in her; she knew everything. My health problems, arguments I had with my siblings, people I disliked in school. One day, she decided she wasn’t my friend anymore.

She would bully me as much as everyone else but of course, with me having told her everything about me, she had much more to bully me about. I don’t know why the friendship broke down but I remember begging her to tell me why. I just wanted to apologize and move on. I asked her via text to please forgive me if I had done anything to offend her and I would just stay out of her way – her exact words were “you think I’ll just leave you alone because you asked? You really are pathetic”. My biggest regret to date is telling her about a health scare I had – something I was cleared of and never got to tell my once best friend about. Instead, she went around telling everyone I lied about my health problems which resulted in even the nicest kids at school ignoring me. The next two years of school were hell – my parents grew concerned with the fluctuations in my mood and weight but didn’t know how to help me.  I only started the process of healing when another girl in school known for visiting the school counselor reached out to help me by directing me to the loveliest therapist I have ever known. 

When I left school, I continued going to counseling but the damage was already done. I made no friends that I communicated with during sixth form due to the trust issues I had developed and not to mention that my low self-esteem meant that I would deprecate myself before anyone else could. It didn’t help that I faced the same thing all over again when I started working part-time but there was something I had realized the second time around; trust your gut. Going to therapy has taught me one thing in abundance and that is your mind will do anything to protect you from harm. My previous issue with my ‘friend’ had made me hate myself to such an extent, I couldn’t even trust myself around family members, let alone people outside of that. Seeking help after that rough patch taught me to trust myself again so the second friendship failure hit me less hard than the first. Not to say that it didn’t hurt at all because that would be a bald-faced lie but this time I knew I couldn’t let myself get to where I was before. 

So what am I saying? I’m saying that people come and go – even when we don’t want them to. Friendships fall apart for many reasons; some are malicious and some aren’t and it is okay to not want to be friends with someone you have outgrown. But tell someone – it’s not ridiculous at all and it helps in the long run with a wide array of things. Having experienced what I have done made me realize that I wasn’t the only one that lost a friend, the other person did too. 

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Shopping Gift Guides Last Minute Gift Ideas 2020 Gift Guide

15 amazing gifts for people who are still obsessed with Game of Thrones in 2020

Read more of our holiday stories here! We also have a Harry Potter gift guide here.

Although it’s been over a year since we heard the words “she’s mah queen, “dracarys” or “bend the knee”, and we’re no longer counting down the days to the next season, now that winter is here, many of us are still very much obsessed with the world and characters of Westeros created by George R.R. Martin (yes, despite that last season).

You might not be that person, but we all have at least one friend who just can’t let go. Because the holidays and times of gift-exchanging are approaching, we decided to compile a list of 15 presents that every Game of Thrones fan would love in 2020. 

1. House Stark Tree Ornament 

House of Stark Game of Thrones Tree Ornament 3D-Printed
via Etsy

As it is famously known that The North Remembers, we must remember the North as well this Holiday season. Decorate your tree with this House Stark Tree Ornament and remember the words the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. 

Get if here for $1.99


2.  Washable Westeros Mask  

Game Of Thrones Washable Face Masks, Face Mask, Reusable Mask, Protective Mask, Cotton Face Mask, Adult Face Mask, Children's Face Mask
via Etsy

Allowing you to pick the symbol of the House you identify most strongly with, these reusable cloth masks are protective, environmentally-friendly and a great way to keep the Game of Thrones spirit alive. 

Get it here for $8.99


3. Westeros Map

Game of Thrones Westeros MAP minimal style (Light),Printable Wall Art,Large Poster,Home Decor,Waves,Graphic Design,Digital Download
via Etsy

Extending from the sands of Dorne to the lands Beyond the Wall and the coast of the narrow sea to the Land of Always Winter, Westeros holds most of its mystery in its lands. For a reminder of the walk down King’s Road or the sail to the Iron Islands, this map of Westeros is an amazing gift for a Game of Thrones fan. 

Get it here for $7.02



4. Wooden Targaryen Dragon Tea-light Candle Holder 

Game of Thrones Dragons Wooden Tea Light Lantern Candle Holder
via Etsy

For when the night is dark and full of terrors, and even for when the night is full of relaxation and the holiday spirit, this Targaryen-inspired candle holder is an amazing way to transform the vibe of a room and remind us of the battle between Ice and Fire. 

Get it here for $17.55


5.  A Love Knot Necklace

via Etsy

This sparkling silver game of thrones themed necklace is the perfect gift to show your lover you would die for them. You would never think of giving it to your twin.

Get it here for $70.64

6. Wooden Music Box

Game of Thrones Wooden Music Box
via Etsy

This wooden music box that holds a delicate version of the Game of Thrones theme song is the best reminder of the story of Westeros. With just a simple rewind of the music box, you could relive that moment any time you miss the unique feeling of Game of Thrones suspense. 

Get it here for $16.32


7. House Stark Direwolf Ring 

House Stark Direwolf Ring Game Of Thrones Winter Is Coming Stainless Steel Ring Mens Jewelry Gift For Him US Sizes 8/9/10/11/12/13
via Etsy

 Whether you remember Greywind, Nymeria or Ghost, this Direwolf ring would take you back to the beginning of the story with the Stark family at Winterfell.

Get it here for $22.49


8. Winter Is Coming Sweatshirt 

WINTER IS COMING jon snow Game of Thrones Inspired sweatshirt Christmas Jumper Unisex Kids Sweater Sweatshirts Gift
via Etsy

This Winter is Coming Stark-themed sweatshirt is a cosy Game of Thrones gift perfect for the winter. While it does not give the same warmth as the Nights Watch armour at the Wall, it offers a more comfy alternative.

Get it here for $18.94


9. Hodor Door Stop 

Hodor!! Hold the Door - Game of Thrones door stop - For the die hard fans
via Etsy

This Hodor – Hold-The-Door – inspired door stop is the cutest Game of Thrones gift for its simultaneous practical and emotional meaning.

Get it here for $5.60


10. Christmas is Coming Card

GAME of THRONES Inspired Night King Christmas CARD
via Etsy

This Christmas is Coming card is the perfect holiday-themed card to send to a fellow Game of Thrones fan. Including sketches of all our favorite characters and the most enchanting Night King himself, this card is the cutest way to send Westeros-themed holiday cheer. 

Get it here for $5


11. House Stark Winter is Coming Tote Bag

House Stark Winter is Coming Tote Bag
via Etsy

This House Stark Tote Bag is a multiple-use and eco-friendly way to remember Westeros. As a tote bag goes with anything for any occasion, this gift is a great way to remember the Seven Kingdoms all year round. 

Get it here for $15.20


12. Personalized A Girl Has No Name Cosmetics Bag

Personalised GOT Custom cosmetic, Toiletry, Wash, Accessories Bag | Personalized Game of Thrones | Customizable Gift ideas for her.
via Etsy

Whether you are on the go or trying to discover what is West of Westeros, this Arya Stark-inspired mini bag is a multi-purpose, travel-size bag. 

Get it here for $10.52

13. Winter is Coming Wooden Notebook

Winter is Coming Wooden Notebook
via Etsy

The vintage and Westeros vibes of this notebook is perfect for transporting us back to Cersei writing on her desk at King’s Landing or Sam reading volumes of books as a Maester. 

Get it here for $18.50


14. Three-Eyed Raven Candle Trio

Three Eyed Raven | Candle Trio | gift bundle
via Etsy

This scented candle trio is the perfect ode to the Song of Ice and Fire. 

Get it here for $31.20


15. Hand of the King/Queen Broach 

Hand of the King Queen Brooch from Game of Thrones - Antique Gold or Silver Plated Metal Pin
via Etsy

This broach symbolizes the evolution of the story as it began and ended with the actions of the King or Queen’s hand. As the symbol of loyalty and betrayal – it holds all our favorite themes of the story.

Get it here for $20

Bonus: A Song of Ice and Fire leather-bound box set

[Image description: boxed set of the five books in A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin] via Amazon
[Image description: boxed set of the five books in A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin] via Amazon
 Nothing can heal the wound left by the show better than to read the books. And this edition is honestly too pretty not to buy.

Get it on Amazon for $89.99 or the regular box for $82.80 on our Bookshop supporting local bookstores.

While we all left the world of White Walkers and wildlings with mixed feelings, we can’t bring it back from the dead like Jon Snow and see the story close the way we wanted. But, as we wait for House of the Dragon, the Ironborn remind us that what is dead may never die, so we can keep Westeros alive this gift-giving season!

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Family Life Stories Life

This is my open letter of apology to my sister

Growing up, I had only a few friends. From the ages of twelve to sixteen, I had a grand total of three people I would talk to and even then, I only felt comfortable messaging one out of these three friends. But, the one consistent person in my life has always been my older sister, someone I owe a big apology to. 

When we were younger, my older sister and I were often called twins – we were so in-sync all the time whether it was sentences, responses, or even emotions. My sister is in fact just under two years older than I am and although she can be a bit up herself for being the older sibling at times, I can’t say I’ve never connected with her even though my sister was always a little more sympathetic to things than I was or even still am; if I shed a tear, she shed a waterfall. 

Exhibit A; I slipped headfirst into the side of the building and got a concussion at school one time in year three and she cried more than I did as she went off to get a teacher who basically told her to calm down because not a single coherent word was coming out of her mouth. Though I had to stay home battling a throbbing headache for the upcoming weeks, my sister would spend her time at school making get well soon cards for me and coming home to just sit with me. 

I remember when she was leaving primary school and on her last day, I was filled with dread because I realized that if I now had a spat with my friends, I couldn’t run off to my sister. She was now going to be somewhere that would require me to climb out of the school gates undetected, crossroads safely and not get kidnapped by the white van that appears to be everywhere. Far too much effort for the kid who barely got off the sofa once she sat down.

I got through that year anyhow and remember my sister giving me a pep talk before my first day of secondary school with the same sentence over and over: “I’m there if you need me.” It got really sour, really fast. 

Although undiagnosed at the time, social anxiety has always been a lifelong struggle of mine and I always took comfort in familiarity in my surroundings. I expressed to my sister how nervous I was about starting school on our walk there and she agreed for both of us to meet during break time in the school canteen. The first day had already been awful for me with the highlight of it realizing that I would be picked on by this one girl for the next five years. Her reason? She thought I was ugly. 

As I sat at a table waiting for my sister, a group of girls from my class walked past me making comments about how ‘ugly’ I was. I became the focal point of their laughter when my sister walked up to me and gave me a hug asking how my first few lessons were. I was suddenly torn between being in my safe space and fitting in – would I have been spared the embarrassment if I didn’t talk to my sister? I didn’t know it wouldn’t matter either way; the class bullies ran with it, teasing me relentlessly for the next five years. 

I got teased for a myriad of things during my time at secondary school, but it was all largely in comparison to me and my sister. She was tall, fairer-skinned (colorism at its finest), pretty, and above all, skinny. It didn’t help that she was also smart so whenever we had the same teachers, I would have to face comparisons by the teachers which would just become more ammunition for the class bullies. One girl in my class spread the rumor that I was adopted because there was no way one sister could be so beautiful and the other one so ugly. Another girl told me that my sister should be embarrassed to have such a fat sibling. The comments only got more demeaning from there.

I took it all out on my sister. I started arguing with her every morning so she would leave for school without me and purposefully get out of class really late so I wouldn’t have to walk home with her. Everything anyone has ever bought me down for, I would blame on her and I made sure she knew it. I bullied my own sister for my insecurities and that is a regret that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I regret my actions especially because my sister is a kind soul who has only ever encouraged me and waited patiently for me to work through any issues I was having.

It wasn’t until I got out of secondary school that I realized how awful I had been to someone who had never been mean to me – we came out of school with an overwrought relationship on my behalf. The road to healing has been long but my sister deserves to know that none of it was her fault and if I could undo it, I would.

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Editor's Picks World News The World Inequality

Palestine is in imminent danger: here’s how you can help

The strengthening relationship between the United States and Israel has put Palestine in more danger than ever, with the Trump administration becoming increasingly invested in the ongoing conflict. The US government has publicly supported Israel’s claims to the historically contested land, drawing up a policy that will enable Israel to seize 30% of Palestinian territory.

The annexation process, initially due to start on July 1st, has been widely condemned by the international community. The backlash has temporarily stalled the process, due to Trump’s hesitation to support elements of Israel’s plans for the territory.  

If the annexation of the West Bank commences, Palestine is unlikely to survive. The proposed move signals Israel’s disregard for any sort of resolution and stands to endanger the lives of thousands of Palestinians who risk being displaced in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.  

The ongoing  conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the longest of the 21st century, spanning over 70 years. Since the formation of Israel in 1948, violence has plagued the region. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced leading to one of the world’s worst refugee crises to date. 

Since then, tensions and violence has repeatedly escalated in the contested Holy Land. The Israeli state has shown no restraint in their attempts to gain control over Palestine- murdering, torturing and imprisoning men, women and children in a systematic process of ethnic cleansing.

Currently, Israel is the only country in the world that tries minors in military court

One of the greatest detriments to the conflict is that it has been constructed as a purely religious dispute. This narrative has pitted the nations against each other, simplifying it to one that is essentially ‘Jews versus Muslims’. The Israeli government has intentionally promoted this narrative in an attempt to make the will of the state and that of the Jewish people synonymous. Using this approach has allowed the Israeli state to brand any criticisms of their actions as anti-Semitic. This detracts from real instances of antisemitism and has previously thinned condemnation, especially from democratic strongholds in the EU, such as Germany.

Lack of international intervention to progress or repair peace talks, or effectively restrict Israel’s occupation, has been detrimental to the Palestinian cause. The nation itself is not recognized in its own right in many parts of the world; Google has never officially labelled the territory as Palestine on the world map.

Israel has incrementally invaded and subjected the nation to decades of sustained assault underpinned by apartheid rule and a gross violation of human rights. The Israeli invasion initiative has recently been strengthened through increased foreign aid in the form of economic and military assistance. In 2019 the US provided Israel with $3.8 billion in foreign military aid. 

The proposed annexation is part of Trump’s 2020 ‘Peace Policy’ which aims to enable Israel to seize control of 30% of Palestinian territory. It also suggests that Palestine be further divided and demilitarized. Netanyahu recently announced that Palestinians currently living in the targeted areas will not be given Israeli citizenship, leaving them stateless. 

Trump’s plan completely disregards the will and best interests of Palestine, and the annexation has been deemed as a contravention of international law. The EU has warned Israel that there will be consequences if they move forward with the illegal action, although sanctions remain off the table. 

Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank are at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods if the planned annexation of one-third of the territory goes through.

Here are some things you can do to help protect Palestine and its people:

Support the BDS movement

Support and promote the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement in your country. The BDS movement started in 2005 and promotes the boycotting, divestment and sanctioning of Israel and all Israeli products, business or trade. It was inspired by the successful sanctions campaign against South Africa during the anti-apartheid movement.

Demand that your government implement sanctions against Israel’s apartheid state and divests until Palestine is free and protected. Start petitions calling for your government to promote the recognition of Palestine. Make sure to lay out why supporting Palestine is an act of justice and equality. Campaign for your country to support pro-Palestine treaties, such as those promoted by the United Nations. In 2019, many countries that had previously abstained from voting, effectively failing to support Palestine, voted in favor of Israel. However, recent developments have caused these same countries to switch track, publicly opposing Israel’s new annexation plan. This is a crucial moment to capitalize on and should be used to sustain and increase action that favors the protection of Palestine. 

Start petitions and campaigns to get local businesses and organizations involved in the BDS movement. Be aware that petitions are most effective when you are able to engage with those who you are calling on to act. Campaigns which address those who are inflicting the violence, such as the Israeli government, often go unnoticed. It is more impactful to direct petitions to those whom you can demand a response from, or where you can apply pressure consistently. 


Here is a list of organizations that you can donate to in order to directly aid the Palestinian cause:

Educate yourself, and then others.

Below is a list of resources/sites that can help you be better informed about the history of the conflict and why Palestine needs your help:

  • A site that provides a comprehensive history of the conflict and divisions, as well as updates on the current crisis.
  • An independent non-profit organization which aims to educate and encourage discussion on Palestinian rights and freedom within the framework of international law.
  • The Balfour Declaration by Bernard Regan

“Most have heard of the Balfour Declaration without fully appreciating its history and consequences. With this meticulous and insightful study, we have a fascinating and timely guide to British colonial policy in Palestine, and its devastating impacts for the Palestinian people to this day.” – Professor Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University

“One of the most prominent Israeli political dissidents living in exile … He is also one of the few Israeli students of the conflict who write about the Palestinian side with real knowledge and empathy.” – Avi Shlaim, Guardian

“A hauntingly written, remorselessly honest, and surely long lasting account of Palestinian loss and struggle.” – Donald MacIntyre, Independent

Palestine Speaks demonstrates that nothing is more eloquent than the voices of those who endure and try valiantly to survive. Nothing is more important for us than to listen to them carefully, to grasp their suffering, to learn from their testimonies about them and about ourselves, and to use this understanding to bring their tragedy to an end.” – Noam Chomsky

Raise awareness and support for the cause:

Talk to your friends, family, classmates and anyone else in your circles. Share accurate information about the crisis and the imminent danger posed by Trump’s policy

Boycott celebrities’ and their work, if they choose to perform in Israel or support the Zionist beliefs of the state. Many celebrities have weighed in the debate; some claim that supporting Israel is an act of Jewish pride, or serves to show their opposition of the actions of Hamas. These justifications are another example of how Israel, Judaism and the Zionist state have been blurred into one. This misconstrues the reality of the Israeli government’s sustained and violent attack on the Palestinian people. Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman and Kanye West are just a few of the celebrities who have openly voiced their support for Israel. However, many fans have successfully alerted high-profile celebrities to the importance of boycotting the actions of the Israeli state. In 2017 Lorde cancelled her planned performance in Israel, following a social media campaign highlighting the oppressive nature of the Israeli state. 

Organize marches, research planned pro-Palestinian events/campaigns, join or start online movements to discuss how to take action that further promotes the Palestinian cause.  

Boycott pro-Israel brands, products and companies: Caterpillar bulldozers have been used to demolish Palestinian homes, Hewlett Packard (HP) assists Israel in running the ID system used to restrict Palestinian movement, and Puma sponsors Israel’s football association which has teams in the occupied territories. Join and promote existing boycott campaigns happening in your country. 

Fact check before you share information and make sure about the legitimacy of the source. There is a lot of propaganda aimed at misrepresenting the conflict. 

Supporting Palestine is not anti-Semitic, or disrespectful to the history of the Jewish people. Nor does it signify any sort of religious affiliation. To stand for the protection of the Palestinian people is to stand for Justice, equality and freedom. It is to condemn the violent apartheid state of Israel that is attempting to dispossess the land of thousands, stripping them of their homes and livelihoods. 

The proposed annexation will be the final nail in Palestine’s coffin and we cannot allow this to happen.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

History Forgotten History

How Nikiwe Deborah Matshoba stood for the liberation of South Africa

It is no secret that women are the forgotten heroes of our past. Women have routinely been written out of history: Black Consciousness activist Nikiwe Deborah Matshoba is no exception. 

Growing up, my mother always talked of the women who had birthed South Africa’s democracy through their commitment to the liberation struggle.

I used to nod dutifully as she recalled, often with tears in her eyes, the sacrifices and pain endured by the women who inspired her, who taught her how to fight and how to love.

After all, love is the mark of a true revolutionary.

The Black Consciousness Movement is a well-known aspect of South African history. However, the names associated with the struggle for freedom are those of men, undeniably great, but by no means alone in their endeavors. I never questioned this, because ultimately, how can we remember those who we have never known? 

I learned about Steve Biko’s BCM in school and lamented the past imprisonment of my childhood hero, Nelson Mandela. But it was only at home that the women who fought for our freedom featured. Unfortunately, I was guilty of that tragic belief held by many young people: that my mother was not more knowledgeable than the teachers designated to educate me.

If we look to the women whom history has passed over, we can find strength in their resilience and hope in their courage.

I regret my arrogance and inattention to this day. 

A true freedom fighter, Nikiwe Deborah Matshoba is celebrated for her critical and endless role in South Africa’s struggle for liberation and equality. Born in 1950 in Krugersdorp, Matshoba went on to play an instrumental role in the demise of the apartheid regime. 

Matshoba followed in her mother’s footsteps, joining the South African Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) when she was fresh out of high school. At only 20 years old, she was sent to Ghana to represent the organization at its 1971 world congress.  

A year previously, Matshoba had joined the ranks of the South African Students Organization (SASO). She gained wide respect when later nominated as SASO’s Literacy Trainer, teaching the necessity of cognitive liberation using the Paulo Freire Method. 

Black Consciousness taught love and self-worth, strength and dignity. It was the movement which enabled a national understanding of the oppression that had allowed the white minority to sustain an apartheid state. Matshoba played an integral role in progressing the BCM. She advocated for the psychological and physical liberation of the oppressed, enabling conscientization of the reality in which Black communities existed. 

Matshoba was well-known for her radical politics and unfailing resolve in the pursuit of justice. She was quick to challenge ideas that undermined the core principles of Black Consciousness and equality. 

During her testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in July 1997, Matshoba recounted her past as a BCM activist and executive member of SASO. She spoke of her brutal encounters with apartheid security police, detailing the inconceivable torture and psychological abuse she was subject to. 

A poster for 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa
[Image description: A red and black poster with a crowd of protesters and the words “June 16 Mass Action for People’s Power”.] via South African History Archives.
Matshoba was first arrested in June of 1976 for her involvement in the Soweto Uprising and held in the infamous John Vorster Prison in Johannesburg.

Whilst imprisoned Matshoba joined forces with many other liberation activists, including veterans Winnie Madikizela Mandela and Fatima Meer. Despite their incarceration these activists continued to organize the revolution, protesting from within and conscientizing Black wardresses. 

Six weeks after her release Matshoba was arrested again, this time under Section Six of the Terrorism Act.

A week into her detainment she was taken from her cell and her ankle manacled to a large iron ball. She stood like this for several days. A policeman gave her a pen and told her to write a statement, detailing her personal history and involvement in SASO. She wrote only on herself. The officers repeatedly tore up her statement, forcing her to rewrite it each time.

On the third day her leg began to swell and she became delirious. Still, she persisted in her refusal to betray the movement. She was beaten, strangled and had her head slammed against a wall repeatedly. This continued for over a week. She was not allowed to sit. It became evident that Matshoba would not decry her fellow freedom fighters, or the cause to which she had pledged her loyalty. 

Matshoba was tortured, but she never gave up.

Physically weak, severely traumatized and denied her asthma medication, security police hoped that she would die as a result of her conditionShe was transferred to a detention facility where she recovered, aided by a sympathetic policeman who smuggled in her medication. 

Matshoba was then moved between several other detention centers, spending a total of 18 months in solitary confinement. 

In 1978 she was told she was being released, but upon arriving home was instead arrested and imprisoned for a further six months. On the day she was eventually freed she was served with a five-year banning order, effective immediately. During this period she was confined to a single magisterial district; her marriage did not survive. 

Unlike those who narrate history, Matshoba was acutely aware of the critical role that women play in times of revolution. She was known for fiercely rejecting her male-counterparts views on gender and continually refused their asserted authority.

She firmly believed that “a nation’s political maturity is measured by the political awareness of women.” 

There is a war of gender-based violence currently being waged on South African women. But if we look to the women whom history has passed over, we can find strength in their resilience and hope in their courage. These are the women who got us to where we stand today.

Matshoba stood for the liberation of her country, literally. It is our duty to rewrite her into history. 

As a South African woman, I take great comfort in knowing that liberation is in my country’s blood. It is our legacy.

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Style Fashion Lookbook

21 amazing fashion and beauty brands donating to the Black Lives Matter movement

Following the wave of protests that have erupted around the world after the murder of George Floyd, a number of fashion and beauty brands have been more vocal about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

While allyship comes in many forms, one of the many ways brands (and people) can help in the fight against systemic racism is by financially supporting organizations and Black-owned businesses. Here are some brands you can support – and fight systemic racism while doing so.

1. Haverhill Jewelry

via Haverhill Jewelry (Image Description: The Haverhill Hope Collection, a dangly gold necklace adorned with Amethyst, Sapphire and Blue Topaz charms)

The jewelry brand is donating 100% of the sales proceeds from the Hope Collection to the organization Color of Change which includes a collection of bracelets and necklaces.

2. Fear of God 

via Instagram (@fearofgod) (Image Description: Black t-shirt with a gray GF logo embroidered in the middle) 

Fear of God released a new T-shirt with the mission to support George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd. They recently collaborated with eight other street style brands including Pyer Moss, Off-White, Denim Tears, AwakeNY, Noah Clothing, Just Don, Union Los Angeles, and Melody Eshani, for this charitable cause. 100% of the shirt’s proceeds will be donated to the Gianna Floyd Fund.

3.  Mented Cosmetics

via Instagram (@mentedcosmetics) (Image Description: Series of tinted lip glosses in pink, peach, salmon, glossy red, caramel and chocolate brown)

The Black-owned beauty brand announced on Instagram that they will donate a percentage portion of every sale to benefit protestors around the country, beginning with bail funds in New York City.

4. Staud Clothing 

via Staud Clothing (Image Description: woman dressed in green and white cut out dress holds a small white bean bag)

Staud has already donated $10,000 to the Color of Change organization and has additionally pledged to donate 10% of all sales made in the month of June to the nonprofit.

5.  Peter Do

via Peter Do (Image Description: Series of women dressed in (clockwise L-R, black long sleeve dress with heeled boots, leather black tank top with a pleated white shirt, olive trench shirt with boot-legged olive green pants, gray sweater with a pleated gray skirt and metallic boots, black sweater, pleated leather skirt, black riding boots and gray dress, gray coat and black riding boots)

This contemporary clothing brand recently announced its plans to donate a percentage of their e-commerce sales to a number of BLM organizations including Color of ChangeBYP100, and Black Visions Collective as well as charities and organizations who would be receiving the donated funds.

6.  Vernon Francois 

via Vernon Francois (Image Description: Series of Haircare products including shampoo, essential oil and hairspray)

Vernon Francois, a Black-owned vegan and cruelty-free haircare brand is committed to donating over a third of their online sales to several grassroots organizations in support of racial equality and justice.

7.  Citizens of Humanity 

via Citizens of Humanity (Image Description: series of face masks in navy blue, denim, cream, camouflage and bright white)

Citizens of Humanity is standing in solidarity with BLM, by announcing their mission to donate 100% of their e-commerce sales of face masks across 10 organizations, including Black Lives MatterACLUColor of ChangeRebuild Foundation, throughout the month of June.

8. 10Dee

via 10Deep (Image Description: A canvas tote with logo 10Deep embroidered in the middle in rainbow colors.)

This New York-based streetwear brand said that they will reduce items available on their website to those who speak directly to issues of racial injustice and donate 100% of e-commerce sales of these items to organizations such as the National Bail Fund which is working to help those arrested in the nationwide protests. 

9. Prabal Gurung

via Prabal Gurung (Image Description: Black Sweater with phrase ‘Stronger in Colour’ embroidered in the middle)

This reputable high fashion luxury brand is one of the few designer brands dedicated to fully supporting the BLM Movement. They recently launched the limited edition ‘Stronger in Colour Collection’ comprised of t-shirts and sweatshirts, and are committed to donating 100% of sale proceeds of this collection to The Bail Project

10. Aerosoles

via Aerosoles (Image Description: collection of wedges, white strappy sandals and white/black/cheetah print high heels)

This reputable shoewear brand recently announced their mission to support racial justice and combat discrimination by donating 10% sales proceeds, starting June 2nd to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

11.  Agmes

via Agmes (Image Description: Black necklace adorned with a Sculpted Heart Pendant)

This NYC based jewelry brand, who counts model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as a fan, is committed to donating 100% of proceeds from sales of their exclusive Sculpted Heart pendant, small Vera earrings, pearl studs, Luca earrings and mini Astrid hoops to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. for the remainder of June.

12. Alder New York 

via Alder New York (Image Description: Cooling Mineral Hydro Mist)

This NYC based beauty brand announced their plans to donate 10% of sales from their Cooling Mineral Hydro Mist throughout the month of June to BLM organizations including Fair Fight, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Communities United Against Police Brutality.

13. Alison Lou

via Alison Lou (Image Description: series of rainbow, cloud, shooting star and lightning charms and studs)

This celebrity-adorned jewelry brand showcased in numerous editorial magazines is committed to donating 15% of proceeds for sales on new arrival orders to The Loveland Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to providing resources to communities of color, particularly Black women and girls.

14. Bychari

via Instagram (@bycari) (Image Description: collection of gold rings, earrings and chained necklace)

This LA-based jewelry brand will donate 25% of profits from sales to Black Girls Code and Girl Trek for the remainder of June. 

15. Deviant

via Deviant (Description: Bottle of black labeled skincare cleanser)

This modernistic and ethically sourced skincare line will donate 15% of online sales profits to the Emergency Relief Fund and The Okra Project between June 1st – July 15th.

16. Fleur du Mal

via Fleur du Mal (Image Description: Woman wearing a black lace-paneled dress)

This NYC based lingerie brand, with celebrity followers such as Emma Roberts and Devon Baldwin, is committed to  donating 10% of sales to the Know Your Rights Camp’s Legal Defense Initiative

17. La Porte

via La Porte (Image Description: Three women wearing a cut-out swimsuit in blue, pink and white)

This luxury swim brand, as featured on Harper’s Baazar and ELLE Magazine, announced that they will be donating 50% of all sales to the NAACP and Minnesota Freedom Fund beginning on June 1. 

18. Laurus

via Instagram (@laurus) (Image Description: Woman carries a vibrant green, alligator print handbag with gold adorned logo on the handle)

This Italian handbag and accessories brand will donate 100% of profits made throughout the month of June to organizations such as NAACP and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp and Show Racism the Red Card.

19. Lou Dallas

via Instagram (@loudallasbyraffaella) (Image Description: Man wears a black t-shirt with a design)

The bold streetwear brand launched two campaigns in support of BLM. They will donate 50% of sales from the End Militarism T-Shirt to Black Visions Collective and 30% of sales from the Crop Savage Hoodie to organizations such as The Okra ProjectBlack Trans Femmes in the Arts and the Black Trans Travel Fund.

20. Mai Mia

via Mai Mia (Image Description: Woman wears a cut-out demi bra, black leggings, leather gloves carrying a black pole)

This LA-based swim line with fans like Korean-American YouTuber Jenn Im is committed to donating 30% of profits from all online sales to the ACLU throughout the month of June.

21. Tanya Taylor

via Tanya Taylor (Image Description: Woman wears a long colorblock dress in teal, yellow and blue)

This designer label, who was recently featured on Vogue Magazine, will be donating 20% of net sales to the NAACP beginning on June 1st. 

Love + Sex Love Life Stories

I no longer wake up in the middle of the night missing you 

I used to wake up in the middle of the night missing you.

When we parted ways, I experienced this intense feeling of nostalgia and emptiness rolled together.

It was so debilitating that it made it impossible for me to pick up the broken fragments of my heart and carry on. I would toss and turn in bed every night, with an empty mind and a broken heart. I fervently missed you and the memories we made together.

I missed all the mornings I would wake up with you beside me, feeling the cold morning breeze and your broad shoulders encasing me under the warm covers. I missed all the ways you made me feel, this feeling which I can’t quite put into words because it was so intoxicating and powerful. I scrolled through old messages and pictures, watched romantic movies trying to imagine you and me as the male and female leads. 

I thought you were my forever. I couldn’t imagine my life without you, and frankly, I didn’t want to.

You were my everything, and my heart belonged to you.

I was too attached to try to move onto someone else. I was too selfish to apologize and try to win you back. I was too reminiscent to try to forget about you.

But then, as time passed, I started to realize that my perception of you as ‘The One’ was merely just an illusion. I realized that I didn’t actually miss you but rather, I missed the fact that you weren’t the person I wanted you to be. And in turn, I stopped missing you.

I no longer miss seeing you smile and hearing your voice.

That smile I was so attracted to and so intrigued by was a simple distraction. That voice which I so longed to hear over the phone was nothing more special.

I no longer miss your presence next to me.

Before, all I’ve ever wanted to do was run back into your open arms. But now, I’m happier alone, and don’t need your arms to protect me as a security blanket.

I no longer wait anxiously for your text message to light up my phone, and consequently, light up my day.

I’ve realized that my happiness isn’t defined by a good morning text and that you in no way or shape have any ability to control what my day becomes.

I no longer miss your compliments

Your compliments weren’t much more than a simple validation that you approved of me, and how I looked to you. I don’t need your approval to make me feel like myself, and to think that I am worthy and important

I no longer ponder over the memories we’ve built and become fond of how you made me feel

The nostalgia is gone, I’ve deleted you, the old pictures, and dated text messages from my phone and my memories.

Most importantly, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night missing you.

I’ve been able to move on past the heartbreak, realize my self worth and move on from the fact that your presence was a part of me. We weren’t meant to be with each other. And you aren’t the One for me, no matter how much I’ve pretended you were. I finally was able to realize that I’m happier without you and that my independence is something I should truly cherish.

So, here’s me moving on for good, and leaving you, the memories, and our toxic relationship behind. 

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The Tempest Radio Mixes Audio + Visual

THE MASALA MIX: Desi Ladies Making Music

Because of the South Asian fixation on film production, it has allowed its once-flourishing music industry to slowly wither away. Desi music production in the homeland has become limited to movie soundtracks, playback singers, or American rappers sampling our classic tracks.

Thankfully, the Desi diaspora has picked up the slack, with many talented South Asian women going into the music industry and creating work that fuses together the two worlds. Be it pop, hip hop, electronic, or even punk, Desi women have shown us that their presence in modern music demands our attention. Here’s what we’ve got lined up for you.

1. “Queen” || Horsepowar

This 23 year old producer and rapper is not afraid to let everyone know who’s queen in her album, “Bollywoes.” Fierce, fresh, and deliciously addictive, “Queen” delivers a concept combining Jasleen Powar’s love for hip hop while showcasing her Desi roots.

2. “I Call You Up” || The Tuts

Mellow vocals balanced out with jamming band instruments, you’ll find yourself in nostalgia for hits from the 2000s with a single listen. This album may be called Time to Move On, ironically, but we’re willing to bet, you won’t want to!

3. “Jimmy” || M.I.A.

Strangely alluring, this upbeat track will have you swaying your body almost impulsively with its unique infusion of ‘70s disco, ‘80s Bollywood, and electronic beats joined by hypnotizing vocals. M.I.A.’s diverse genres and constant experimentation never fail to impress!

4. “Shattered” || Doe Eye

Have yet to recover from our spooky Halloween playlist? Worry not, our horror-loving ones, Doe Eye will satisfy your hunger, with her chillingly haunting voice. Close your eyes for this one, you’ll find yourself floating through an untold dream. Doe eye’s smooth and steady vocals are sure to win over fans of Lana del Rey or Marina & the Diamonds.

5. “Traces Of You” || Anoushka Shankar (feat. Norah Jones)

Beginning with traditional instrumental, this track maintains a consistent simplicity – yet at the same time, an elegance that will keep you captivated throughout. Anoushka and Norah’s voices are heartfelt and raw; perfect for those yoga sessions or late night reminiscences.

6. “Waiting for Godot” || Janina Gavankar

You’ll be in wanderlust and taken to another dimension with this track’s brilliantly thought-out lyrics and enchanting harmonies that will leave shivers up your spine. Absolutely stunning.

7. “California Dreaming” || Usha Uthup and The Ronnie Menezes Quartet

Bollywood songstress Usha Uthrup’s voice itself could be considered a classic with her melodious tone; try not to be in awe as you take a listen to her cover of the Mamas and Papas song California Dreaming, a song, perhaps for those nice lengthy highway drives.

 8. “Must Be The Love” || Arty, Nadia Ali, & BT

Simply breathtaking and electric. Nadia Ali, Arty, & BT successfully create a mystical vibe with their integration of compelling vocals, electronic pop music, and touching lyrics. This one is sure to be on repeat for a while.

9. “No Bounds” || Harleen Singh

Try and keep up with this fast-paced and irresistible tune combined with catchy lyrics. Harleen Singh’s voice will have you up and dancing in no time!

10. “Tujhe Yaad Kiya” || Annie Khalid (feat. Rischi Rich)

English-Pakistani pop princess Annie Khalid decided one language just wasn’t enough to convey her emotions; expect the unpredictable as you listen to a track that initiates as romantic and slow but quickly builds up to an upbeat and funky tune…all while Khalid effortlessly switches between English and Punjabi with the bat of an eyelash.

We’re all about highlighting the best of music that you don’t really hear on the radio: music by underrepresented voices, tunes by your best friend you believe really needs to be out there, what you’re convinced will be the next big underground hit (or maybe it’ll be above ground – we don’t discriminate!). If you’re musically inclined and want to see your suggestion maybe featured in a future mixtape, we want you to throw your song(s) in the hat. All suggestions go – except for shitty top 40 music, stuff that makes the neighbors vomit over how lame it is, or music that’s just hateful against a group of people (unless they’re oppressive, in which case it’s a little different).

So, throw it in. Right here. Super easy. 

Because we love you, we compiled all your new favorite songs in one playlist. Enjoy!

[cue id=”26820″]

Gender & Identity Life

Hey Bollywood, Indian women aren’t that light-skinned

Let’s single out actresses: to make it big in Bollywood, the first characteristic an actress needs to have is fair skin (funny, you’d think it’d be acting chops). How is any actress going to succeed if she’s not perceived as attractive?

According to Indian mindsets, beauty is synonymous with light skin; so what if the population has complexions ranging from light honey to midnight dark? So what if many of those women who are deemed beauty icons are exceptions, not the rule?

People are still going to fawn over them while hating their own brown skin; women are still going to be told by the media that they should aspire to become like those women by bleaching their skin (the risk of getting cancer has never been more worth it, amirite?)

There is not a single leading actress in Bollywood today with dark skin.

The one or two who do have a darker hue are not anywhere near the top of the Bollywood food chain, and even they face heavy backlash for not being ‘good enough.’ While actors tend to be somewhat more tan than actresses, you’d be hard-pressed to find a major actor with dark brown skin. You will, though, find a few dark-skinned actors who are usually portrayed in negative roles. What a coincidence.

I now open this up to Bollywood execs. I pay to see your movies, I admire (a lot of) the work you put out, I even write about your films; as a consumer, and as someone of Indian descent, I want to know why I can’t see myself in any of your characters. Why do your songs tell me that to be fair is to be beautiful?

More importantly, why should I, or any other brown-skinned person, continue to glorify an industry that demeans us, that tells us we’re not good enough simply because they said so? Who are you to decide that we are in some way inferior to people with less melanin on their skin? And until when will you keep feeding this bullshit to your own people?

But hey, it’s probably all justified. Maybe only fair people are born with all the acting talent in India. Maybe it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that dark Indian people are completely sidelined from their country’s leading form of entertainment.

Bollywood executives know better than us, because they’re supposed to be the professionals…right?

Gender Inequality

10 incredible Afghan women that will make you reconsider your life choices

In a country dominated by a misogynistic patriarchal system, these women are shifting the approach and have elevated the sociopolitical status of Afghan women. They provide a voice and platform for women to succeed against all odds of domestic violence, corrupt government, and oppression — and you should know about them.

1. Malalai Joya

Malali Joya via

A political activist and former Parliamentarian for the National Assembly of Afghanistan, Malalai is a critic of the Karzai administration and was dismissed from her position after publicly denouncing warlords in the Afghan Parliament.

Her memoir Raising My Voice depicts the abuse of power in Afghanistan and how she received death and rape threats from parliament members. Not only has she dodged multiple assassination attempts, but she was also listed under Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2010.

2. Niloofar Rahmani

Niloofar Rahmani via Hindustan Times

Niloofar is the first female pilot in Afghanistan in the Afghan Air Force since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

She is the epitome of strength, having served with the Afghan military for four years, and won the 2015 International Woman of Courage Award from U.S. State Department.

3. Roya Mahboob

Roya Mahboob via Time 100

Roya is a tech entrepreneur who founded the Afghan Citadel Software Company in 2010, a female-driven IT consulting firm that develops software and databases for private companies, government ministries, and NATO. She also built 40 free Internet-enabled classrooms across Afghanistan to allow more than 160,000 female students to connect, as well as a multilingual blog and video site for Afghan girls and women to express themselves.

Roya is changing the perception of Afghans through technology and was recently placed on Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013.

4. Heleena Kakar

Heleena Kakar via

Heleena is a journalist who launched the first feminist weekly magazine, Ruidad, which has received plenty of backlash from extremist groups in Afghanistan.

She is also Director of the Research and Studies Department at Afghan Ministry of Counter-Narcotics and runs an NGO called the Third Thought Organization that focuses on raising women’s voices globally.

5. Fawzia Koofi

Fawzia Koofi
Fawzia Koofi via Wikipedia

Fawzia’s main priority is to defend women’s rights in Afghanistan. She was formerly the Vice President of the National Assembly of Afghanistan and is currently Chairperson of Afghanistan’s Women, Civil Society and Human Rights Commission. She has worked on the improvement of women’s living conditions in Afghan prisons, established a commission to combat sexual violence against children, raised private funding for the construction of girls’ schools in remote provinces, and was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009.

6. Shukria Barakzai

Shukria Barakzai via Google

Shukria is a politician, journalist, and entrepreneur who founded “Aina-E-Zan” (Women’s Mirror), a national weekly newspaper, and campaigns on issues such as maternal and infant mortality in Afghanistan. She is a member of the Afghan Parliament and once ran a secret school for girls under the Taliban rule.

Constantly under the public eye, she has received multiple death threats and survived a suicide attack bomb on her vehicle in 2014.

7. Nilofar Sakhi

Nilofar Sakhi via

Nilofar is Executive Director of the International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development and co-founded Women Activities and Social Services Association, the first women’s NGO in Herat, Afghanistan which focuses on transitional justice, human rights, and women empowerment.

She has an M.A. in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and has a Ph.D. from George Mason University.

8. Saba Sahar

Saba Sahar via Google

Saba is an actress, screenwriter, and Afghanistan’s first-ever female film director.  She wrote her first screenplay in 1996 when the Taliban outlawed cinema.

She is also a trained police officer and began working for the Interior Ministry at age 14. All of her productions feature a powerful female lead, many times herself, who fights the Taliban and warlords. Her controversial films have caused riots and she is the ultimate badass.

9.  Sakena Yacoobi

Sakena Yacoobi
Sakena Yacoobi via

Along with being executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, Sakena is an educator and was jointly nominated with 99 other women for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

AIL provides education and health to rural and poor urban girls, women, and other poor and marginalized Afghans. It was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women and supported 80 underground home schools for 3000 girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban closed girls’ schools in the 1990s. AIL was the first organization that opened Women’s Learning Centers for Afghan women and has trained over 10,000 teachers.

10. Manizha Wafeq

Manizha Wafeq
Manizha Wafeq via AWCCI

Manizha is an entrepreneur who founded Wonderland Women, a successful fashion business in Kabul. She has worked as Gender Advisor to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.  She has co-authored a Gender and the Legal Framework of Afghanistan training manual and has trained more than 500 government staff in Kabul and provinces on Gender Mainstreaming. She is one of the founders of Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan Development, which advocates for women’s economic rights and role in Afghanistan.

These ten women are just a handful of amazing feminists who have changed the face of women in Afghanistan. They come from vast educational backgrounds, but have one thing in common: perseverance.