26 August 2015

How to define beauty?

If we will search a definition of Beauty, we will find that it ‘is the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially when looking at it.’ And Girls, did you know that only 2 percent of women would describe themselves as beautiful? Are you in that small sampling? The Dove Campaign asked women and found that:
  • Seventy-seven percent strongly agree that beauty can be achieved through attitude, spirit, and other attributes that have nothing to do with physical appearance.
  • Eighty-nine percent strongly agree that a woman can be beautiful at any age.
  • Eighty-five percent state that every woman has something about her that is beautiful.
Interestingly, the study found that two-thirds of women strongly agree that physical attractiveness is about how one looks, whereas beauty includes much more of who a person is.
Anyway, if you don’t like something in your appearance, you can change it just by using some make-up, but you can’t change yours inside beauty so quickly!

Let me introduce with some of history facts related with beauty tricks!

1. You are not enjoying being in the sun? But still you are doing that because EVERYONE has a tan?! Don’t worry about it anymore. Probably you are a ‘blue blood’ girl. During the human history there was a period that people believed in pale skin as in wealthy elite person. People tried to be so pale that you could see the blue blood veins on their face. If they still had to work outside and got some tan, they just tried to pale themselves by using poisonous titanium paint and colour dye to paint the blue veins.

2.  In order to get the femme fatales and ingenues of the early silent screen to not look washed out under the lights and cameras, people started exaggerating their eyes and lips with make-up. And the rest of America followed suit. Hollywood make-up guru Max Factor turned his work on the set into a massive industry. So the father of make-up – Max Factor!

3. Red lipstick is on a top again? Why not?! Even nurses in World War 2 were made to wear red lipstick, to remind them that they are females before soldiers, and to CALM DOWN male casualties. Although it's since been proven that red lipstick might have the opposite effect.

4. Do you know what is the story of eyebrows fashion?!  A new eyebrow era also started during early films in America. Before, eyebrows had usually been left to the forces of nature. But the straight thin eyebrows of "It" girl, Clara Bow launched brows into the fashion mainstream of the 20th century as flapper chic. Anyway, we are lucky now: we can choose the best style for it by ourselves and we have a big variety of opportunities that also will look pretty.

We are beautiful as we are. Don’t think about negative things in you, just enjoy the life and be a little bit of crazy to reach a fullness of life. To get some inspiration, just watch a video here and let’s start to love ourselves as we are!

19 August 2015

TOP 7 exercises to strengthen your body

Dear girls,
It’s workout time tonight!

Let’s see what we can do and what exercises are considered to be the best for us.
Here you are TOP 7 exercises to strengthen your body.

Obviously, any exercise program depends on the underlying health status of the participant. Be certain that your health is appropriate for exercise prior to attempting a new program.

1.  Interval training: This refers to doing almost any type of exercise at a variable pace. For example, if you are walking or doing push-ups, vary the pace of the exercise. You can walk normally for a minute or so, and then speed up a bit, and then return to normal speed several times. For exercises like push-ups, do a few slowly and do others more quickly and, like walking, repeat these faster and slower intervals several times. Interval training helps the body to adjust its aerobic system (heart rate, breathing, and metabolism) to burn more calories to lose weight and strengthen muscles. While some purists may say interval training is not an exercise, others say yes it is because it is a mind over matter exercise that makes you aware that the body can adapt to increased physical demands that will be required to reach your goals.

2.  Walking: A walk is one of the best exercises to begin with in any exercise program. Men and women can do this together as a calorie-burning cardiovascular exercise. One hour of interval walking can burn about 500 or more calories; it takes about 3500 calories to lose a pound so you could lose a pound for every week you walk for an hour. A word of caution: Beginners should start walking about 5 to 10 minutes at a time and slowly increase their times by about 5-minute intervals to allow the cardiovascular system and muscles time to adapt to the new demands.

3.  Squats: This exercise is an excellent calorie burner because squats use the largest muscle groups in the body (quadriceps and hamstrings or the thigh muscles and the gluteals or buttocks). Squats are exercises that consist of an up and down motion of the body that resembles the motion of getting out of a chair. In fact, some trainers suggest that a person new to trying to do squats can practice by getting up and down from a chair. The proper way to begin is to keep your back straight, feet spread apart about shoulder length with both arms extended, knees over the ankles and then go downward with your butt just touching the chair; then return to your original standing position. Eventually, stop using the chair and you'll be doing effective squats. Some people with knee discomfort may be concerned about doing squats; they should check with their doctor or orthopedist but some knee problems result from quadriceps problems and squats may help resolve them. Also, avoid bending your knees to 90 degrees or less.

4.  Lunges: Lunges work the same large muscle groups as the squats, but can work additional leg muscles and improve balance. Lunges are done by taking a big enough step forward that the knee forms about a 90-degree angle. However, you must to keep your spine in a neutral position (upright position, no bending forward). Your trailing leg, at the same time, should have its knee come close to the floor and have the toes accept significant body weight. Then, return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. After you master the lunge, you can vary the exercise by placing the advanced leg to the right or left to mimic more variable movement, such as the angles you might encounter during a nature hike.


5.  Push-ups: The basic push-up is the classic exercise to strengthen the upper body (chest, shoulders, and triceps) and core (abdominal muscles). Beginners can first do push-ups by spreading their fully extended arms slightly more than shoulder width apart with their hands against an unmovable object like the edge of a kitchen countertop. Then bend your elbows until your chest almost touches the edge of the counter op, allowing only your toes to bend and keeping your back and legs in a straight line. Then push your body away from the countertop until your arms are again fully extended. As you progress, you should use lower stationary objects (for example, a stationary bench) and eventually do the push-up with your hands on the floor.

6.  Abdominal crunches: The standard abdominal crunch is an excellent way to strengthen and define those abdominal muscles (commonly termed a “six pack” but not so commonly seen in many men and women!). There are two ways to start; either with you lying on the floor or on a non-slip rug with your hands placed lightly behind your head (never pull your head up with your hands or arms) and with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Other experts suggest doing the same with your knees bent and your feet not touching the floor. When you keep your feet off of the floor, it helps you avoid arching your back, a problem that can actually weaken the abdominal muscles. The “crunch” is done by not arching the back. The lower back is pushed downward and then contracting the abdominal muscles and tucking in your chin slightly, lift your neck, shoulders, and back off of the floor. Some experts suggest you hold the raised position for a second or so before returning slowly to the starting position. A variation to strengthen and define the oblique abdominal muscles uses the same technique except you must twist your abdomen to the right or left before lifting the head, shoulders, and back. Although many people think the way to lose belly fat is to do crunches, it is not. Belly fat that covers up those “six packs” is reduced by burning more calories than you take in, so, paradoxically, if you want that “six pack” to show, the fluid six packs (beer) must go, along with other caloric foods.

7.  Bent-over row: This exercise can give the last groups of muscles (back and biceps) a good workout. Beginners can start by sitting on a bench, but the exercise is usually done while standing. You should stand with your feet shoulder-length apart, with knees bent, and hips flexed forward at hip level. Tilt the pelvis forward slightly, contract the abdominal muscles, and extend (straighten) the upper back. Hold your hands straight down beneath your shoulders and make a fist. Then flex your elbows so that your forearms and hands come all the way up and in toward your body. Pause for about a second or two, and return your flexed arms to their previously extended position. People soon add small weights instead of just making a fist. However, you don't have to buy anything, just find two similar shaped items that weigh the same (for example, two books or two bottles of a sports drink) and there you have the weights you need!

We wish you good luck during workouts!

12 August 2015

International Youth Day 2015

“In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

IHBG invites you to praise youth everyday but especially today, on 12th of August, when we can unite for celebration across the globe  on International Youth Day! This day was endorsed by UN in 1999 after the proposal in the World Conference of Ministers Rosponsible for Youth, Lisbon in 1998

Each year the International Youth Day has a theme and 2015 is all about youth and civic engagement. This topic is very important because in most of the places all over the world young people are either not encouraged or not able to participate in political, economical and social activities. Especially young women.
Young people are energetic and full of ideas and solutions when taken seriously. There are many examples on how young people can contribute to their community and improve life quality to many. One of the brightest examples is Malala Yousafzai that is known worldwide for her work and achievements and she only recently turned 18, Pakistani girl that is not only political and women's right activist but also a proof on what youth is capable of. There are countless other not so famous stories of young people who are improving life of many, fighting poverty and bringing their community towards sustainable development all across the globe. Our task is to create awareness and let young people know that they can be part of a positive change.
The change can be big or it can be small but it is still worth to create it. You can start to build something right here and right now. Just like this blog, few young activists wanted to empower girls and women all over the world to be proud of who they are and they created this blog five years ago and it keeps running, growing and changing because this is what young people do!

Here is a heart touching and inspiration story from South Africa that shows how life can be changed when there is given encouragement and opportunity to a young person.

Inspirational International Youth Day,
Always yours,

05 August 2015

How to have a beach body?

Another heatwave is coming to Central Europe and many people survive those hot days by going to the beach, swimming-pool or lake. And every year, starting from the first spring day until the last warm day of the year, girls and women (also boys and men) ask themselves: “How to have a beach body?” or “How to get a beach body in just a few days/weeks?”. There is this pressure by media and society to show the perfect body at the beach. In every TV show, in social medias or in magazines you can learn what to do, what to eat and what to buy (especially those expensive training programs who promote themselves with “perfect” looking bodies). People talk and judge about celebrities and their bodies (“Oh she gained weight”, “Oh she looks too skinny”...) and many girls are influenced by such gossip.

But it can be easy to have a beach body. There are just two simple rules:
           1. Have a body
           2. Go to the beach

So girls, in the middle of summer, enjoy yourselves and enjoy your life. You don’t go to the beach to show your body and to expect other people to talk about it. You go there to relax, have fun and cool off. The most important thing is: feel comfortable :)

30 July 2015

Friendship is The Answer

Since 2011, 30 of September is the International Day of Friendship. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. 

"On this International Day of Friendship, let us cultivate warm ties that strengthen our common humanity and promote the well-being of the human family. "
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

We can find countless stories that are turned into poems, books, movies, series, pictures, drawings and paintings about all kind of friendships. Friendship is something very primitive and relatable to most of the people in all cultures, ages and layers of the society. I know what is friendship, you know what is friendship and a person from another continent who comes from rural village also knows what is friendship. It has a power to unite and it is a very strong tool to encourage other people. A single friendship between two people can be life changing for many.
Instead of cultivating prejudices and hate towards new and unknown by hiding under the words "hate" and "enemies" we should want to understand and befriend it - either people, views or beliefs. Same advice works for individuals as well as conflicts in the world.
Friendship can be used as a great tool for women empowerment worldwide. Instead of connecting to other women and telling them what to do we should simply be supporting, understanding friends who give good advice. A good friend can help to become more confident and self conscious more than an inspiring article or video online. All we have to do is to take good care of the girls and women around us instead of criticizing each for our looks or behavior.
We are very diverse in the world and activists in some cultures want to appear as superior when it comes to feminism and gender equality. These activists are strongly convinced and are trying to convince the rest of the world that "we are right and you have to follow our example". Confidence is awesome and these actions are mostly driven by good intentions but it tends to patronize and discriminate activists from developing countries with the same views. And it is discouraging. That's why it is so important to have friends that are coming from different backgrounds, cultures and religions so we can unite and fight the real problems not each other!

Talking about good friendships...look IHBG team is growing, changing and moving around! Recently we met in Brussels, had amazing days together to refresh our knowledge and learn more about sexual and reproductive health and rights, communication, advocacy and plan new activities! Meantime we found few new and amazing friends so keep tuned to find out more!

And don't forget:
Happiness is only real when shared
J. Krauker

Happy International Day of Friendship!
Always yours,


07 June 2015

Girls, let's get inspired!

Weekend comes to the end, we need to get inspired for the next week!

Maya Angelou

Emma Stone

Share these quotes with your friends because we deserve nothing less but the BEST!

More quotes here.

women and wanderlust

In northern hemisphere summer has come. During this season many people are taking the vacations and heading off the road. Either it's to take "All Inclusive" and relax at five star hotel or to hitchhike and Couchsurf it will be an adventure!
There are many ways of how to travel and one of them is solo traveling. Many people choose this way to challenge themselves and explore unknown and why not to, we know so little about ourselves!
Although in recent years the number of women solo travelers have increased it is still considered to be more difficult and dangerous for female than male wanderers. It's a pity how fears of unknown can stop us from so many life changing experiences but does the fear always tell us the truth?
Unfortunately the women who can enjoy traveling and wandering are not the majority of women. The world is rich in cultural diversity that we want to see and learn about but sadly cultures have created conditions that restrict women from traveling. It can be based on economical point of view or to patriarchal "ethics". Some women can feel relieved and be thankful for the ability to travel while other can't but at the same time not really. The same conditions will also apply to any other person who wants to enter this kind of culture. For example, in Saudi Arabia it's made almost impossible for young and unmarried women to enter the country without a male assistance. The government simply won't issue the visa. Similar situation is in UAE and Qatar if you are planning a longer stay. In Lebanon female travelers can apply for the visa on arrival if they can prove that they formerly have not taken job as an artists. Ridiculous truth and there are many more countries that are very skeptical to issue visas for young women, especially the ones who travel alone.
Women face many gender-based restrictions during their life-time but the fact that you can not exit or enter a country hits very hard. It's a horrible feeling and it feels very wrong.
Not so long time ago we could never imagine a women traveling alone. Now there are many woman out there that are having nomad life style and it's beautiful that they can fulfill their dream. We have to keep traveling and fight to open borders and give this chance to evryone. It's still not 100% safe to travel as a female but it also applies for men. While female are facing to be beaten up in the same situation a male is in a danger to be killed. While majority of woman are risking to get raped only few men are.  It's always a risk and it's a choice. Not everyone is made to sing and not everyone is made to travel but the same as singing traveling should be gender neutral.

Overly Helpful Stranger Danger
You have to trust yourself to be able to learn how to trust others. First and foremost important rule is to follow your inner feeling. It works! If you have even the tiniest suspicion do not accept the help from a stranger and do not feel guilty about saying no. By connecting to strangers you will learn how many amazing, kind and openhearted people are in the world!

If you are healthy and not pregnant you will get them anyway  so why not on the way? If you are usually suffering from very uncomfortable moments during the menstruation maybe it's time to change the environment, it can help! You can still use your favorite hygienic products or to try out menstrual cup which is reusable and more environment friendly. Just one golden rule - hygiene is the priority. In case you do not have the access to clean water intim area wipes can be a solution
Rape Danger
When you will start to travel you will realize that not every person wants to rape you. Yes, there are dangerous people and dangerous situations. Yes, we need to be concerned and aware but the media always is giving us the negative image of everything and it sticks to our minds. In fact, there are much more amazing people who want to help you than the ones who wants to harm and benefit from you.
Eyes Open

Always be in charge of your own stuff. Pack light so you don't need assistance to put on or carry your bags. Don't forget to look around you to see what is happening. Either you are in a big city, rural village or forest make sure that you have the control over the situation. When you are in a public transport try to memorize people around you and see if there is someone who seems interested in you. It can be great start of friendship or a way to escape. Never brag around about traveling alone and don't be afraid to tell that your friend is somewhere near even if it is not. Also, do a regular check-ups with family or friends so they know how are you , where are you and that they need to react if you are not giving any news.
Money and Documents
Don't keep your money in one place but spread it along your stuff. Put them at the least money-keeping places but don't forget where you put them. Have an emergency money. Always have copies of your passport and other travel documents. Hard copies, saved in memory stick and some internet storage you can access from any computer. Other than that make sure that your documents won't get wet either it rains or your bag falls into the water. 
If your friends and family are trying to scare you with horrible hitchhiker stories take them as lessons and thank them for caring but don't let it scare you off. In fact, to be a woman hitchhiker sometimes it is easier than to be a man. Also drivers are people that can be scared of strangers and woman might seem less harmful, just like female drivers might seem. It's sexist and it's a reality that female can get help much easier than male.

11 May 2015

I ♥ Being a Girl people, Viktoria

Greetings to everyone!

My name is Viktoria Derkach, I am from Ukraine

Since April 2015 I have joined I <3 Being a Girl Community and I’m very excited and highly motivated to take part in all the activities of the Working Group!

In my life firstly I enjoy life! That I’m alive, can breathe, see, hear, feel, love, walk etc.
Secondly, I enjoy traveling. I’ve already been to more than 13 countries and I’m not going to stop, cause it’s a great opportunity to discover the world, meet new people, cultures and traditions, learn new languages and see different sights.
Thirdly, I enjoy helping people. It concerns different fields: work, study, volunteering, everyday life. It makes me happy when I can as minimum give an advice as maximum do something for a person.

As for my work with SRHR, it started not long ago. I started volunteering in Women Health and Family Planning Foundation only this February from participation in the process of planning and conduction of the event, dedicated to the International Contraception Day and St. Valentine’s Day. Before (till now) I was working in Kiev branch of "All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV" in Project RESPECT "Tolerant attitude towards people living with HIV and most-at-risk groups from  health workers from pilot health facilities in Kiev" as  an assistant manager of projects and programs; was a volunteer in  Left Bank center for HIV – positive children and teens and provided lectures for teenagers (clients of the Centre) on different topics, like hygiene, relations with opposite sex, reproductive health etc; also took part in a Project of cultural exchange “Summer Camp” at the school for smart pupilsLycée pilote de Sousse” in Tunisia, where I was teaching English to students aged 14-18 years, holding discussions, debates, presentations and creating projects on different topics, like feelings, health, future plans, relations, friendship, love etc; also was a volunteer in NGO “AIDs Healthcare Foundation”, where I organized a flashmob, dated to Valentine's Day and HIV / AIDS topic with the slogan "Protect your love!", during which we performed dances, distributed condoms and brochures about love and sex, contraception, health etc. But I’m really interested in the SRHR area and happy that I can do my first steps as I <3 Being a Girl working group member.

I think the world would be a better place if everybody would: 
- see not only their needs and interests, but also of the person near;
- listen not only to the opinion of society, mass media and celebrities, but always have your own opinion;
- read biographies and success stories of well-known people in history for self-motivation and for knowing what to strive for;
- try to set unrealistic targets and don’t stop on reached. so there are no unrealistic goals, there are only ones that need more time and efforts.

Before I'm 80, I'd like to know that all my achievements and vital actions brought, bring or will bring benefit not only to me but also to my loved ones, family, friends, and humanity in general. That is what will make me happy and I’ll know that life is lived not in vain.

I ♥ Being a Girl people, Julia

Dear awesome people,

My name is Julia Danyltsova and I am from Ukraine. 

Since March 2015 I have joined I <3 Being a Girl Community and will be happy to inspire and get inspired within the Working Group!

A bit about myself in this article. :-)

Long-long time ago... (September 2012)... I have been doing my internship at Women Health and Family Planning Foundation. This is where I learned what SRHR is, where I have done my first steps in advocacy. I became a volunteer and member of youth group after finishing the internship. This experience totally changes the life. I have started volunteering on international level by joining YSAFE network. Just a year ago I became ASTRA-youth member and I’m constantly developing my skills in advocacy by taking actions on national, regional and international levels. Now I am YSAFE Steering Committee Member and I <3 Being a Girl working group member which are challenges for me.

The world would be a better place if everybody would:
  • see: at least 5 countries different to their motherland 
  • listen: to their hearts
  • read: a love-letter from a person they love
  • try: to do things which make them happy and to avoid everything which disappoints them

Before I am 80, I’d like to know that this world is safe and happy place for my children, grandchildren and grand-grandchildren.

I enjoy:
  • Travelling
  • Getting acquainted with new people / countries / cultures
  • Spending time with my friends
Let's get acquainted!