Taryn Brumfitt- ending body shame and empowering women

Women Like Us Foundation supports women’s leadership for Gender Equality and Social Justice in the areas of Sex Trafficking, Homelessness and Education.  It is the purpose of our blogs to create awareness of the work of women and the impact they are making on the world.

On a Sunday night in 2013, an Australian woman posted before and after photos of her body on Facebook and received over 3 million likes. These weren’t the usual before and after shots that display dramatic weight loss and a flatter stomach after dieting. The before photo was of her in a bikini, thin, tan, and lean, participating in a women’s fitness competition. The after shot was of her body, soft and curvy, after the birth of her daughter. The photo has now been seen by more than 100 million people and went on to create a media frenzy.

Taryn Brumfitt...Embracing her body.

Taryn Brumfitt…Embracing her body.

This woman is Taryn Brumfitt, now the leader of a global effort to end body shame for women with her project Body Image Movement. Her crusade includes speaking and writing about body acceptance, pursuing the quest to change and redefine beauty ideals, and a documentary called Embrace that chronicles her own debilitating story of body hate and her long journey to finding body love.

Taryn’s efforts are seen as remarkable and pioneering as she takes on corporate and media messages about how women’s bodies should look.  One of the tenets of the Women Like Us Foundation is gender equality, especially since we know it is an important catalyst in the restructuring of human rights for all and Taryn is leading a very important aspect to this fight.

History

Gender inequality has had an enormous influence on the physical expression and appearance of women’s bodies over thousands of years. This includes, but isn’t limited to, practices such as binding women’s feet in China dating back to the 10th or 11th centuries, Muslim laws requiring complete coverage of women’s bodies in public (except for their eyes), and the waif like physical frames of runway models.

Body image in Western Culture has been a topic of increasing concern over the last 30 years, with awareness becoming more main stream with the death of Karen Carpenter in 1983, due to anorexia nervosa. Her passing woke the world up to the influences and pressures for women to be thin. Although anorexia and bulimia are rooted in complex emotional and psychological issues, the message from our media about life being better for those women who are thin, continues to be a core theme in fashion magazines and pop culture, influencing millions of women.

What are the numbers?

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women suffer from eating disorders at some time in their life in the United States. By age 6, girls are becoming concerned about their own weight and body shape. And, 40-60% of girls, ages 6 to 12, are concerned with becoming fat.

Overall, 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance, as echoed by Ms. Brumfitt’s interviews of 100 women in Australia, asking them to describe their bodies in one word. Responses included “Wobbly”, “Imperfect”, “Stumpy”. And “disgusting” was used numerous times by many of the women.

This is a glimpse into the internal wars that women wage with their bodies. The war often looks like constant inner criticism about body parts not measuring up to media standards, fears about being fat, self-deprecation of body appearance in social settings (especially around other women), and restricting and/or indulging in food in unhealthy ways.

What’s Changing Now

The Women Like Us Foundation supports women’s leadership in the world and that quality can only come from a strong self-image. The foundation continues to do their part in supporting women through efforts to end sex trafficking and homelessness and to promote education by mentoring teen girls through their One Girl at a Time program. Taryn’s efforts are also helping to change women and girls’ self-image from ‘fixable, damaged, needing improvement projects’, to ‘celebrations of strong, healthy, vibrant beauty’.

Change is also slowly happening around the world. Taryn Brumfitt’s Body Image Movement and her documentary Embrace are both making an impact, along with other change makers such as Dove’s “Real Beauty” empowerment campaign that’s been running for over ten years, a more accepting attitude towards women’s natural curves, as demonstrated with the Sports Illustrated 2016 Swimsuit issue cover photo, featuring plus sized model Ashley Graham, and European fashion organizations specifying a minimum healthy body mass index for models.

The Women Like Us Foundation is proud to be part of these global changes and welcomes support from our community to further the cause. Together, with other efforts like Taryn Brumfitt’s Body Image Movement, we’re closing in on the gender inequality gap and helping women to thrive through social change.

To learn more about the foundation go to http://www.womenlikeusfoundation.org/#women-like-us and to learn more about Taryn Brumfitt’s work and her documentary go to https://bodyimagemovement.com/

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Blog author Molly Lyda, MA is a Life Coach and Therapist in Los Angeles, who supports women in finding balance and purpose in their lives through her program Intimacy 101: Create the Life You Want. She enjoys volunteering with the Women Like Us Foundation and working to make a difference in women’s lives. http://www.MollyLyda.com

 

 

Leading Gracefully Towards Global Change

Women Like Us Foundation supports women’s leadership for Gender Equality and Social Justice in the areas of Sex Trafficking, Homelessness and Social Justice.  It is the purpose of our blogs to create awareness of the work of women and the impact they are making on the world.

Monique Tallon

Monique Tallon

Monique Tallon

Leading Gracefully Towards Global Change

There are great women doing great things in our world. The Women Like Us Foundation enjoys highlighting the people who are making a difference for women and Monique Tallon is one of them. She is the author of Leading Gracefully: A Woman’s Guide to Confident, Authentic and Effective Leadership.

Monique’s story began with her early success at a well-known technology company in Silicon Valley where she led large-scale conferences and events. Although the company CEO and her direct boss both were women, Monique struggled to find female role models who could mentor her into being a strong feminine leader.

Uncharted Territory

When her boss resigned, Monique volunteered to take over her role of running a 10,000 person conference, an event whose size and scope were beyond her experience. Despite her feelings of fear and overwhelm, during the first large team meeting with 20 executives in the room, she declared “I have never done something on this scale before and I need your help!”

To her surprise that moment of vulnerability, mixed with her strong vision for the event, led to everyone stepping into their responsibilities and contributing fully to make it one of the company’s most successful conferences ever. Using a less common leadership style that included trust, collaboration, and vulnerability, Monique experienced not only fruitful results but positive feedback on how easy it was to work with her.

A New Way

In using some of her innate feminine traits on that large project, Monique stumbled upon a new and exciting way of working as a feminine leader. Through that experience and some of her other business ventures, she created an approach for leading and living life that embraces feminine strengths, something that has been previously lost due to the masculine leadership paradigm that has found its way into our everyday interactions. As for what she means by feminine, Monique defines it as “the qualities invoked when using the word, such as vulnerability, empathy, humility, openness and collaboration.”

The Feminine Leadership Model (FLM) is a new roadmap for women, including stay at home moms, young adults, and those in the career world, offering an approach to a more inclusive leadership style that can be used in all aspects of life. The model also applies to those working for non-profit organizations. The Women Like Us Foundation is an ideal example of how this model can thrive. As more women lead in our world with the support of this new model, it allows the foundation to continue celebrating and creating awareness of women’s work on the planet, which in turn encourages more female leadership everywhere and allows for more global change to occur.

The model is comprised of seven feminine qualities: vision, vulnerability, care, intuition, empathy, collaboration, and humility and four masculine strengths: assertive, daring, resilient and direct. When used together, these qualities offer a more balanced approach to building high performing teams, healthy relationships and a purposeful life. Her book offers 15 powerful exercises that assist the reader in embracing and stepping more fully into these strengths.

The Future

Monique is now on a quest to redefine what power and leadership look like in our world. She supports women as they move into more open, receptive, vulnerable, and authentic roles to challenge unconscious biases and gender stereotypes in the corporate world and beyond.

The good news, as Monique shares in her book, is that our world is not only ready for this change but hungry for it. In a study called the Athena Doctrine, based on a global survey of 64,000 participants, 66% believed the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. And the leadership qualities the participants valued the most were feminine traits – patience, loyalty, empathy, and long-term thinking.

Her Words to Women

With these new possibilities in mind, Monique shared some of her hopes for young women today with me during an interview. Her message included “You can be and do anything you want. You’re beautiful and intelligent and you can make an impact. Tune out the world around you and connect with your inside world.” She also shared a declaration for adult women today by saying “You are more powerful than you can even imagine. Your power lies in your feminine qualities and abilities.”

Monique’s intention is to balance out the old leadership paradigm previously based on command and control and authoritative styles. She invites women and men to collaborate and partner together in this new vision and way of leading in our world. And she looks forward to a cultural change where leadership is more inclusive, collaborative, and empathetic to all of those involved and where each woman can lead gracefully. Leading Gracefully is available for purchase on Amazon, and you can learn more about Monique at http://www.moniquetallon.com

 

Blog author Molly Lyda, MA is a Life Coach and Therapist in Los Angeles, who supports women in finding balance and purpose in their lives through her program Intimacy 101: Create the Life You Want. She enjoys volunteering with the Women Like Us Foundation and working to make a difference in women’s lives. http://www.MollyLyda.com

 

She feeds the soul and the body …

Women Like Us Foundation supports women who are making a difference for humanity and specifically women who have created charities that we believe are meaningful and impactful in making the world a better place for all of us.

Laura Henderson is one of those women.  Listen to her interview on Women of Focus, WFYI Public Radio.  Hosted by Jill Ditmire.  She’s nourishing bodies and souls in Indianapolis, Indiana.

https://womenlikeusfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/junewlufwfyi1.mp3

laura2

Growing Places Indy was launched by Laura Henderson, executive director, in  2009 and gained 501c3 status in 2012.  In 2009, the director of White River State Park reached out to Laura and her family to start a vegetable garden.  There was no specific vision or plan, but there was a space available for the endeavor in Indianapolis.  Laura saw the opportunity to use the high-profile location to engage the community in conversations about food, where it comes from, farming practices and our food system.  In the first year of the operation, she also recognized for more vegetable farmers to serve the Central Indiana market.  This prompted her to imagine using her Slow Food Garden in White River State Park as a training ground for future urban farmers.

Watch for Laura’s story in the upcoming Women Like Us Book due out Spring, 2016.

 

 

The scars within her were used for helping other girls in Kenya…

Kim Dewitt- “I knew the scars I carried within me could enable me to be a voice for others.”

Women Like Us.  Three Journeys.  One Mission.  To Change the World.
 The Women Like Us Foundation Documentary is Coming Soon!

 

 

Women Like Us Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting women’s charitable leadership. Together we’re helping women change the world.

The Women Like Us Foundation has traveled to the Olmalaika Home and spent time understanding the girls’ needs.  We have supported the program and provided funds for necessities, such as clean water through a newly built water tank.  We will be returning, once again, to Olmalaika Home in June of 2016. To learn more about Kim Dewitt and her mission, visit our website at www.womenlikeusfoundation.org

Kim with the girls of Olmalaika home in Sekenani

Kim with the girls of Olmalaika home in Sekenani

“As a child I had been exposed to the ways of the Maasai tribe (…). I remember being separated from my family and led into the center of the women and girls. Later being returned with the red ocher painted on my face and beadwork hanging around my neck, I had no idea at that age that all the singing and dancing was really covering up a terrible deed – female genital mutilation.”

“The Maasai girls in Kenya, and girls in general around the world, need a voice and someone who can understand them. I knew then t530444_3582815327627_311638698_nhat the scars I carry within me enabled me to be a voice for them. There is a home now in Sekenani, Kenya filled with giggles and hugs coming from 38 little girls. It is called the OlMalaika Home – meaning “angel.” It’s a home for young Maasai girls between the ages of 5-12 that are at high risk of FGM and early childhood marriage. I like to say, “it is a home where little angels dwell.” –Kim Dewitt

The mission of Olmalaika Home is to house and protect young disadvantaged Maasai girls, providing a warm, nurturing environment.  The home hopes to guide these young women, to see themselves as persons of value, to foster respect and appreciation for their peers, teachers, leaders, and culture, and to enable them to be a generation of educated, productive, respected and valuable young women.  

There is a growing need for medical programs, educational development, additional counseling services, tutoring assistance, and living space.  Donations of all sizes are welcome. Even the smallest amount can make the difference in someone’s life. 

 

By: Sommer Bannan

“Your Basic Abilities Matter” -Caroline Barnett

The Women Like Us Foundation continues to acknowledge and commend women who are impacting world change like Caroline Barnett. We create awareness and raise funds to help these women grow their impact and sustain their initiatives. The Women Like Us Foundation has visited and provided mentorship to residents and women in The Dream Center. To learn more about Caroline Barnett and The Dream Center Foundation, visit our website at www.womenlikeusfoundation.org

Caroline Barnett
The Dream Center
Featured in the Upcoming Women Like Us Documentary

“I’d likUnknowne to encourage women… your basic abilities matter and can be a miracle in someone else’s life. Don’t underestimate what you can bring to the table, and what your basic abilities can do in someone else’s life.” – Caroline Barnett

Caroline Barnett is the leader of Angelus Temple’s Women’s Ministry and has played a vital role in program development at The Dream Center in Los Angeles, California. Caroline first visited The Dream Center in 1996, after hearing her family discuss the tremendous work being done there and the enormous impact they were having on the Los Angeles community. She grew up in the Los Angeles area, and knew the change that needed and could be done in the inner city neighborhoods. At the age of 18, Caroline found her life passion, to assist and support the men, women, and children within her own community. She became inspired by how many people were transforming their life, miracles happening daily through the work of the organization and their volunteers.

When Caroline first began volunteering, she and her best friend initiated the Food Truck Ministry, a mobile food bank, delivering food to impoverished families and individuals each day. Caroline recognized that the families who were most in need of food were unable to obtain it by lack of transportation and the means to transport it. She created a program to bring the food to locations, near elementary schools and through the neighborhoods that were suffering the most. Today, more than 50,000 people are fed each month through this outreach ministry. Caroline also became passionate about the Adopt-a-Block Program, where volunteers physically walk the streets, knock on the neighborhood doors, and help to clean the streets by picking up trash, cleaning up graffiti, and mowing the lawns of elderly. Caroline says, “There is so much more that we do at The Dream Center, this is just the surface.” In the fall they are initiating a program for Veterans in need of assistance, as well.

Caroline proclaims, “If you have ever heard yourself say, ‘Surely there is more to life than this,’ rest assured, you are not alone. Getting caught up in the day-to-day routine, it can be easy to feel as though you have nothing more to give, and yet there is so much you want to do to impact the world. For those who are willing to get out of the proverbial boat and trust in God’s ability to do miracles, there is more, so much more!” Caroline is passionate about inspiring others to find their God-given cause to change this world with just a little bit of effort and a lot of faith; simply their willingness.

Written By: Sommer Bannan

She’s Empowering Communities to End Modern Day Slavery

Jessica Thorne-  Founder of Purchased.

Jessica Thorne- Founder of Purchased.

Women Like Us Foundation continues to acknowledge and commend women who are impacting world change like Jessica Thorne in her efforts in educating, equipping, and empowering women! We create awareness and raise funds to help these women grow their impact and sustain their initiatives.

To learn more, visit our website at http://www.womenlikeusfoundation.org

Jessica Thorne graduated from IWU with her degree in Elementary Education, and in 2003 began a career as a teacher in a school in Indianapolis. She had a heart for working with young people, most especially children from backgrounds of poverty, hunger and abuse. While working as a teacher in Pike Township, Jessica never imagined that she would soon become a leading activist in her community in the efforts against sexual exploitation, and become the founder of an anti-human trafficking organization.

Jessica joined her church in 2007 on a mission trip to Nepal, a trip that dramatically changed the path and course of Jessica’s life. While in Nepal with her ministry, Jessica met several girls who had been victims of sex slavery. “What impacted my heart the most was that these girls were real, they were beautiful, and they weren’t just a character in a story or a movie. Their life path had taken them into extreme circumstances where they had become vulnerable and had become victims. I thought to myself, ‘this could be me. This could be any one of us.’”

Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar-a-year industry worldwide; the U.S. demand for global sex trading is one of the highest. It is the second largest and fastest-growing criminal industry. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that the average age of entry into this form of prostitution for a child victim is 13-14 years old. Victims often come from backgrounds of foster care, poverty, addiction, and family history of violence and abuse. Recruiters and the consumers use their victims as modern day slaves in areas of sexual exploitation and prostitution. The Polaris Project states that the victim of human trafficking may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day.

Jessica decided to leave her teaching job in 2011 to launch her nonprofit organization called Purchased; she felt it was God’s calling that she raise community awareness and provide relief for the suffering victims. Purchased is on a mission to educate, equip, and empower communities against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Their hope is to stir the hearts of others to join the abolition movement.

Purchased uses two types of curriculum in their relief efforts: “Empowering Youth” and “My Life, My Choice.” “Empowering Youth” is a preventative program that educates and provides information on how to be a part of the solution. It is used with the youth throughout the community within schools and church groups. It is a tool to educate in the areas of healthy and unhealthy relationships, drug addictions, sexual health, and self-esteem. “My Life, My Choice” is an intensive, ten-week program that helps rehabilitate girls who have been victims in sex trafficking. While most of Purchased’s efforts are focused on education and prevention, they also work closely with a recovery organization called Restored, the Indianapolis Police Department, and the Juvenile Detention Facility.

Purchased continues to grow as an organization! This fall Jessica will be initiating another program with Purchased called “Allies.” “Allies” will help support in the recovery of victims by providing support and one-on-one mentorship for the girls after the rehabilitation with “My Life, My Choice.”

LISTEN TO OUR PBS INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA THORNE

Written By: Sommer Bannan

35 Hours left to reach our goal of Women Like Us Documentary!

 

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WOMEN LIKE US FOUNDATION AND WOMEN WHO

ARE MAKING CHANGE THANK YOU!

 

Interview with Kim DeWitt & how she’s doing her part in changing the world!


Kim was raised in Kenya and has spent 18+ years of her life there. She is responsible for THE OLMALAIKA HOME, mission trips, sponsorship programs, and is passionate about the people of Kenya and ending female genital mutilation/early childhood marriage. Read her interview as she shares her story & how Women Like Us Foundation has helped her!

 

Kim with the girls of Olmalaika home in Sekenani

Kim with the girls of Olmalaika home in Sekenani

Tell us a little bit about yourself & your story

When I was two years old my parents accepted a call to go as missionaries to Kenya, and I spent most of my childhood there, After almost 12 years of being at home in Kenya my parents accepted a call to Beirut Lebanon. My life changed dramatically. We lived their during some of the worst years of their civil war, spending days in bomb shelters and hearing bullets and rockets whistle by, we were finally evacuated to the island of Cyprus. I flew from Cyprus to boarding school  in Singapore for 2 years. Those were some of the hardest years of my life. I was far from home, the only American student raised in Kenya. I looked at life differently than most around me – I realized then that my heart was Kenyan. My parents moved back to the US my Junior year in high school and I vowed that when I was old enough I would head back to the country that held my heart (Kenya)In 1999 my husband and I accepted a position in Kenya and moved back with our three young children . I was thrilled! In 2005 our family moved back to the US, and God opened a door for me in 2006 to be able to take medical/dental groups to Kenya  and opened the door for me to be able to work with young Maasai girls at high risk of FGM and early childhood marriage.

Why do you do what you are doing?

These girls are my passion in life. If we can bring education to both the young and the old while preserving all that is good in their culture then one day there will be no female genital mutilation and early childhood marriage. It is a very slow process but I know that each girl in THE OLMALAIKA HOME will someday leave and go back to her community and without a doubt I know her children will never have to experience what she did – thus the ripple affect that will change communities and countries around the world.

 

The Angels of Olmalaika Home

The Angels of Olmalaika Home

Tell us about your organization & what it does?

Global Village Ministries is a Christian non-profit 501(c)(3) organization registered in the US that provides medical and dental care in Kenya, plus long term projects that include educational opportunities for children and THE OLMALAIKA HOME – which is a home for young Maasai girls at high risk of genital mutilation (FGM) and early childhood marriage.

The mission of THE OLMALAIKA HOME – is to house and protect young disadvantaged Maasai girls, providing a warm, nurturing and loving environment; guiding them to see themselves as persons of value through God’s eyes; fostering respect and appreciation for their peers, teachers, leaders, and culture, enabling them to be a generation of educated, productive, respected and valuable young women.  We currently have 28 girls ages 5-17 living at the home and attending school.

How has Women Like Us Foundation supported you?

They came to visit our home and participated in the daily activities along side the girls.
They donated funds to purchase water tanks and piping to enable us to have water on the property. They continue to support and bring about awareness of FGM and early childhood marriage on their website and via the documentary they are producing. They have encouraged and inspired me personally in so many ways.

Linda & Catt with the girls  at Olmalaika Home!

Linda & Catt with the girls at Olmalaika Home!

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you’d like to help spread the word about our efforts, please share this over Social Media and you can also donate funds here.

A Woman Like Us!

burkhart_lorene027Author, public speaker, and philanthropist Lorene Burkhart is an exceptional Woman Like Us. Lorene attended Purdue University and later decided to pursue teaching, much like many women of her generation. But unlike most at the time, Lorene became a trailblazer, pushing the boundaries to start her own financial business for women. Soon, she decided to give back to the community, which is where our paths crossed.

I’ve always admired Lorene’s work, and this is why she was chosen as one of the first for our WLU interview series. We sat down to discuss her passions, experiences, and advice for amazing Women Like Us.

What have you always been passionate about? 

Lorene Burkhart: My real passion and the one word that describes me is ‘teacher.’ Everything in my life that I’ve done at some point has involved gathering information and giving it out. I have been and still am a mentor, been part of university boards of trustees and have had honorary doctorates and degrees. Basically, all revolving around teaching.

What would you say has been most rewarding throughout this process? 

LB: I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of mentoring young women and people who’ve worked with me at different times and influence their thinking to be more open in the way they approach things. And it’s been very rewarding to have people tell me that they’ve followed me and watched the way I do things. It’s exciting to know that you can have that kind of influence.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with women reading this?

LB: I am particularly concerned about how young women see themselves as becoming involved in government, running for office, realizing that they have the responsibility to step forward if they believe in something. I would like to see young women get involved in politics. Step forward if you believe in something. Know what kind of leader you are going to be and then communicate that effectively.

What’s your take away message for them?

LB: I think women are sometimes too hesitant to shine their own light, for some reason they think they are bragging on themselves. But if you don’t tell people what you do and what’s important to you, how are they going to know it? Be true to yourself, if you have a particular skill, talent, or passion, be proud of it and find how to make it work for you and to have it be your signature of whatever it is that you do well. Let it shine who you are and what’s important to you.

Lorene’s Bio: Author and speaker Lorene McCormick Burkhart is known for her leadership and philanthropy throughout Indiana and the Midwest. Burkhart has used her creative problem solving skills and talents throughout her career as a teacher, broadcaster, civic leader, and corporate executive and continues to inspire others to advocate causes for the betterment of humankind. She has served Girls Inc. at the national level and has served locally on more than 25 boards in the past 20 years, ranging from arts, girl and women’s support groups, education, health and elder services.

Lorene’s Twitter