The people, particularly the women, of Afghanistan have been front of mind for me this week. This week's newsletter includes links where you can access more information and support the people of Afghanistan.
We're also sharing the story of Lieutenant General Dr Suhaila Siddiq - a trailblazing icon from Afghanistan who championed rights for women and promoted reproductive health throughout her long career.
Frances Tang is also promoting conversations around women’s health and sex through her dripstick. You'll definitely want to read about her excellent invention which meets at the intersection of baking and laziness ...
Let's get glowing!
News To Know
How We Can Help The People Of Afghanistan
Unless you've been completely disconnected from all media this past week, you'll know that the Taliban captured Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced. An estimated 80 per cent of displaced Afghans since the end of May 2021 are women and children.
Many people are trying to flee Afghanistan.
Women and girls have historically been oppressed by the Taliban, and any gains made in education and employment are likely to disappear as the Taliban takes over.
So, how can we help from overseas?
Feel good moment: amongst all the turmoil, one good news story that's come out is that 10 members of the Afghan girls robotic team have escaped to Doha. The team consists of girls ages 16-18 who have overcome hardship to pursue their love of engineering and robotics. They will be supported to continue their education from overseas.
Glowreel Reco Of The Week
You need to read: Where Hope Comes From, by Nikita Gill.
Where Hope Comes From is a beautiful collection of poems that embodies strength and hope.
This week's recommendation is brought to you by Sruthi Ravi, Glowreel's resident bookworm. Sruthi will be sharing her must read recommendations with you once a month. Get ready to devour some excellent books!
Have a reco to share? Let us know what you love and why here - we'd love to share your recos in Glowreel!
- Preeti Shetty is kicking down the Premier League boardroom door.We're talking about football (aka, soccer). Shetty has been appointed to a non-executive director role at the Brentford football club. This makes her the only British South Asian woman in a Premier League boardroom, for now ...
- Boston's upcoming mayoral election will be its most diverse, ever!All five candidates on the September preliminary ballot are people of colour. Four of them are women. This election will be the first time the US city elects a mayor who isn't a white man.
- New Zealand's Lisa Carrington is a powerhouse. The champion canoeist was the first Māori athlete ever to win Olympic gold, and is also so relatable that everyone wants to be her bff. Read all about Carrington, and why she's like a kūmara (aka a sweet potato) here.
- Angry Little Girls is coming to a screen near you! Lela Lee's cult classic comic strip will be adapted into a TV series and some holiday films. Angry Little Girls follows Kim, a 6-year-old Korean American girl who unapologetically questions social injustices.
- Canada's Kiawentiio Tarbell has been cast in the Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action Netflix Series. The 15-year-old Mohawk singer and actress will play the lead role of Katara.
- Speaking of Netflix ... Sandra Oh plays the lead in the new series, The Chair. The series follows the first woman of colour to become chair at a major university as she tries to meet the dizzying demands and high expectations of a failing English department.
Frances Tang's Dripstick: When Baking Meets Laziness To Become The Solution For “Hella Personal Problems”
Image via Frances Tang
Awkward Essentials launched in 2020. Despite the pandemic and shutdowns, Tang's unique business is experiencing massive growth. The dripstick was named a finalist for Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas in the Sexual Wellness category.
A self-professed multipotentialite, Tang has had more than a dozen different jobs, which have helped her bring a unique point of view to her business. For this week's Glowreel Community Feature, we interviewed Tang on all things Awkward Essentials and the dripstick.
Tell us about Awkward Essentials and the dripstick
Awkward Essentials is a new personal hygiene company created to provide personal solutions for hella personal problems, and creator of the dripstick, the first after-sex cleanup solution.
Dripstick is a medical-grade sponge with a handle for easy insertion and removal. You simply insert the product after sex, twirl it around, and slowly remove.
How did you come up with the idea for the dripstick?
I’m married, and I always hated the after sex clean up ritual. The crossed-leg-ninja roll off the bed, penguin walk to the bathroom, and camp out on the toilet was not the business.
Like many founders, I’ve had a lot of jobs. One of them was as a baker. There is a very common kitchen tool called a rubber spatula and it’s typically used to scrape all the last bits of cake batter out of a bowl (know where this is going…?).
So every time I would scrape batter out of a bowl, I’d think about inventing a spatula to get all the last bits of goo out of my vagina. In short, the idea for dripstick started at the intersection of baking and laziness.
What do you hope to achieve through Awkward Essentials?
In 2021, we are still working to destigmatize conversations around taboo topics such as women’s health and sex, but we are on the cusp of normalization.
Awkward Essentials opens the door for consumers when it comes to those “taboo” topics, giving them the opportunity to open up the conversation around women’s health, sex and comfort ... I hope we can encourage a shift in our culture through our humor, transparency and an innovative product line.
From a personal standpoint, I hope to encourage more female founders to come to the table and start businesses. We are the only ones who can solve our problems (i.e. dripstick!)!
Lieutenant General Dr Suhaila Siddiq: An Icon Of Possibility
Image via BBC
Lieutenant General Dr Suhaila Siddiq was a surgeon, health minister and the only woman in Afghanistan to have held the title of Lieutenant General. Aka, a true trailblazer
Siddiq was born in 1948 in Kabul, Afghanistan, which is where she studied medicine. She completed her medical training in Moscow before returning to Afghanistan to work as a doctor.
She became Afghanistan's most respected surgeon while working at Kabul's military hospital. She was awarded the title of Lieutenant General in the mid-1980s and was credited with keeping her hospital going during the Soviet-Afghan war and during the civil war in the early 90s.
Siddiq was also committed to helping her colleagues and would regularly distribute her salary among the workers in need in the hospital.
"When the religious police came with their canes and raised their arms to hit me, I raised mine to hit them back. Then they lowered their arms and let me go"
When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996, they banned women from education and employment.
However, a few months after Siddiq left her job, the Taliban realised they needed her surgical skills and asked her to return. She agreed to return, but only on the condition that her and her sister didn't have to wear the all-covering burka.
Siddiq was "in love with her profession and her profession was her life"
She was appointed Minister of Public Health in December 2001 - one of only two women ministers appointed to Afghanistan's post-Taliban government
During her time in that role she spearheaded a program to vaccinate millions of children against polio, rehired female health workers who lost their jobs under the Taliban and promoted reproductive health and programs to combat HIV/AIDS.
Siddiq returned to surgery in 2004. She passed away in December 2020 but her legacy as an icon of possibility remains.
One Lioness To Another
“Each time a woman stands up for herself without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women."