Women Wednesday #72

We love how women are changing the world and making an impact to their home countries that we're talking all things awesome and new every Wednesday!

(Murdo MacLeod / Guardian)
At a riverside deli in the East Ayrshire village of Catrine, about 20 women – some friends, some strangers – are arriving to spend the evening talking about the menopause. Amid an eye-popping selection of home baking, organiser Shiona Johnston explains the format for this Menopause Cafe, one of 14 that have taken place across the UK, from Perth to Petersfield, since the start of the year alone. “Most women know about hot flushes but don’t know about other symptoms which they might not even realise are related,” explains Johnston. “A lot are scared about HRT from things they’ve read in the papers. This gives them a chance to share information and what has worked for them.” The simple guidelines for the event – respecting one another’s confidentiality, not pushing any particular product or service, and encouraging participants to move tables regularly to speak to as many people as possible – were developed by Rachel Weiss, who launched the first Menopause Cafe in June 2017 in her home city of Perth, central Scotland. Sharon Sym, 47, a Menopause Cafe veteran who runs a dog-walking business, believes that embarrassment holds many women back from seeking the help they need. “I wouldn’t talk about my menopause or ask for help until I hit rock bottom, and it started affecting my family life. But I’ve learned we’re all different and we all experience it differently.” What an amazing event to help ovary-holders across the nation feel more secure in themselves!

(Maria Vasilieva / Greenpeace)
Did you know that in Russia, women aren’t allowed to become firefighters by law? But that’s not stopping these courageous women from volunteering to fight forest fires anyway. Sofya Kosacheva, from Greenpeace Russia, led a firefighting expedition in the Astrakhan region in the spring of 2017. “Most firefighting is done with the head, not the muscles. You can be smarter than a fire. Firefighting safely depends on skills and proper equipment, not on gender. Anna Baskakova, a volunteer firefighter with Greenpeace Russia, began fighting fires in 2010 when peat fires raged around Moscow. She took the volunteer firefighter course put on by Greenpeace Russia. “I think it’s totally wrong that a woman is prevented from fighting fires by law. In fact, women already fight fires. If a peat, forest or grass fire is near a village, the women work alongside the men. The ban on female firefighters is nonsensical. If a woman wants to fight a fire, and she is trained, healthy and respects the safety rules, she can lead the way.” Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes; anyone from young students, to those who are nearly 50. Combining firefighting with their day jobs is difficult, but they are used to the fact that at the beginning of the year they need to be ready. If they hear about a fire, they drop everything to go and face it down. Warriors in their own right!

Troop 6000, a New York City Girl Scout group comprising girls living in homeless shelters, staged its first-ever cookie sale this year — and it was a sweet, sweet success. According to Moneyish, hundreds of New Yorkers lined up in front of the Kellogg’s cereal café where the Scouts were selling their cookies, sometimes waiting hours for their turn to buy a box. Troop 6000 expected to sell around 6,000 boxes of their famed treats, but to date, they’ve sold around 17,000. Troop 6000 was founded by Giselle Burgess, who got the idea for the special Girl Scouts group when she and her five children became homeless and lived in a shelter in 2016. “When we got there, there was no sense of community; it was very overwhelming and scary,” Burgess told Moneyish. “As a parent, you have to make sure that your children feel safe at all times. I asked, ‘Would it be okay if I started a troop at the shelter?’ Everybody was like, ‘Yes, absolutely do it.’” Last July, the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced its plans to invest $1 million in an initiative to give 500 homeless girls between the ages of 5 and 17 the opportunity to join Troop 6000. The group now has nearly 300 members living in 14 shelters across New York City. These girls are our future and they’re already killing it!

Have a positive week,

Love Neon Moon x   

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Hayat - CEO & Founder, Neon Moon