RRBC BLOG RECRUITMENT DAY – CELEBRATING WOMEN

I’m proud to serve on the Governing Board of Rave Reviews Book Club as Admin Assist 2 and I assure you there’s NO OTHER PLACE for Authors and Readers to be. For those of you who don’t know RRBC yet, let me tell you a story.

On February 1st 2015, I woke up to some great news.  My book Luck of the Irish was # 112 in the Kindle Store. Granted, there had been a FREE PROMO on the day before but I celebrated the ranking position anyway. The book had had 2,045 downloads in a single day and that alone was quite an achievement for an indie book with an advertisement budget of exactly $0. LOL

However, I ALSO knew I couldn’t have done it without Rave Reviews Book Club’s support. You see, I had joined the club a year before but, aside from some reviews and tweets, I hadn’t been an active member until January 2015, for many personal reasons that had nothing to do with the Club and its AMAZING membership.

During January 2015, I volunteered for the Tweet Team (which has been an AWESOME experience so far), became a Blog Tour Host, participated in blog tours as visitor and as an author, NONNIE JULES received me for an interview on her famous shelf and the Governing Board invited me to work with them and – voilá! RRBC’s slogan came to life – SUPPORT others and you’ll be SUPPORTED. It’s as simple as that and that is the BEAUTY of this ethos, which in turn creates an invaluable supportive system, a safety net that allows us to dream of higher flights.

But don’t take my word for that! Check out our website and JOIN RRBC TODAY. Tell them LIZ GAVIN (@LizGavin_Author) sent you!! 😀

Now, one of the fun activities we have at RRBC is our BLOG RECRUITMENT DAY CONTEST. This is our first in 2015 and we are CELEBRATING WOMEN  because March 8th is Women’s International Day as well as the fact that the vast majority of our AWESOME membership is comprised of wonderful women, starting with our President and Founder Nonnie Jules (aka WonderWoman).

Please, read the post below then click on the link to VOTE FOR ME!!! 😀

VOTE HERE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BLOG POST

http://wp.me/P49Fi9-GG – MINE!! LOL

EMMA WATSON

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

UNwomen_EmmaWatson_GoodwillAmbassador_2 jpgEvery year, the international community celebrates women throughout the month of March. It always makes me wonder why we don’t do that every single day and why the fact that we don’t do it doesn’t bother me during the rest of the year. I guess that’s because I live in a place where women’s rights have been consolidated such a long time ago that we take them for granted. I’m not saying they aren’t violated because I don’t live in Paradise. I’m just saying people are well aware of them, there are laws protecting women, and when somebody breaks those laws they may be punished just like it happens with any other crime.

This reflection led me to think about those other places – and there far too many in this world – where women have no rights, no protection, no voice. Then I remembered a video I recently watched on YouTube showing actress Emma Watson speaking at the United Nations on Sep 20th 2014 (here’s the link in case you haven’t seen it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Dg226G2Z8). It moved me to tears not solely because of her powerful message but because of her passionate delivery.

You see, I worry about her generation mostly because I have two nieces who are about her age and when I look at them and their friends I sometimes have the feeling they are too passive – that they aren’t interested in politics or the economy or global warming or anything!! And I despair for them. Well, thank goodness I was wrong!

Emma Watson became a big celebrity due to her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, which means she has a HUGE influence in her generation. In her very young life, she has put her fame to good use working in many different avenues: promoting girls’ education in poor countries like Bangladesh and Zambia and advocating fair trade and organic clothing in Africa, to name but a few. Her tireless efforts and hard work got her appointed as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in July 2014, where she’ll be able to reach an even greater number of young women, helping empower them as well as promoting the United Nations’ Campaign for gender equality called HeForShe. (http://www.heforshe.org )

This campaign is the reason I decided to write about Emma Watson today. I truly believe in gender equality. I dream of a world where people are respected for who they are – Human Beings – instead of what they look like or what they own or what we expect them to be. She addressed this issue beautifully in her speech (see transcript below or watch the video). Here’s an example:

I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

(…)

If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

As a young voice defending gender equality, Emma Watson is not only an amazing role model for her generation but a humble human being defending us all. I invite you to celebrate her today, reading about and sharing HeForShe campaign.

I leave you with Emma’s own words (see the whole article here http://www.unwomen.org/en/partnerships/goodwill-ambassadors/emma-watson#sthash.09cN7S9R.dpuf):

Being asked to serve as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling. The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting. I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role.”


Useful Links

UN-WOMEN – http://www.unwomen.org/en/partnerships/goodwill-ambassadors/emma-watson#sthash.09cN7S9R.dpuf

Emma’s Speech at UN Video on YouTube – Sep 20th 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Dg226G2Z8

About her Speech – http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too#sthash.zWPZZXlj.dpuf


[Transcript of her speech]

Speech by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson at a special event for the HeForShe campaign, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 20 September 2014

Today we are launching a campaign called “HeForShe.”

I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.

This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.

I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.

When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.

When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”

When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.

Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.

Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?

I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.

No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.

These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are changing the world today. And we need more of those.

And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.

In 1995, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today.

But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?

Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.

Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.

I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.

If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me, I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better.

And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English Statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”

In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly—if not me, who, if not now, when. If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you I hope those words might be helpful.

Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.

If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier.

And for this I applaud you.

We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the “he” for “she”. And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?

Thank you.

VOTE HERE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BLOG POST:  http://wp.me/P49Fi9-GG – MINE!! LOL

JOIN RRBC TODAY. Tell them LIZ GAVIN (@LizGavin_Author) sent you!!