NEON MOON'S WOMEN WEDNESDAY
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!
(Maxwell Gifted / Surfer.com)
Shamali Sanjaya, a confident, 30-year-old mother and surfer from the small Sri Lankan town of Arugam Bay, serves as the president of the country's first all-female surf club. She leads group meetings, organizes beach clean-ups and coordinates surf trips for the small-yet-growing group of 17 local women surfers. But just a few years ago, Shamali's experience as a surfer in Arugam Bay looked very different than it does today. When Sanjaya learned how to surf about 8 years ago, she was the only woman in the line-up. "No girls were surfing in the village at that time," When my cousin taught me how to surf he said, 'Shamali, I think you have surfing in your blood.' Here in Sri Lanka, women stay home or go to school. Married women look after their husband and kids. People think only women tourists surf." Sanjaya didn't start surfing consistently until she met Tiffany Carothers, a California surfer who moved to Sri Lanka in 2011. Carothers would take Sanjaya and her sister out for a surf, but Sanjaya would get teased for being out in the line-up and even dealt with some family members who weren't pleased with her new hobby. In 2015, an event was held to teach more women in the village how to surf and got over 30 local women out in the water. Over the following few years, the village slowly started supporting the women, and according to both Sanjaya and Carothers, surfing began having an obvious positive effect on the women in the village. "A typical woman in Sri Lanka wakes up in the morning, cleans, makes breakfast and she's cooking and cleaning all day long," says Carothers. "The girls are breaking that mould of what a typical woman in Sri Lanka looks like.” “They’re an example to other women in the country, proving that the impossible is possible and no matter how many barriers come up, they can achieve their dreams and their goals for women's equality.”
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
(Andrea De Silva / Billboard)
Two weeks prior to her 79th birthday, Calypso Rose -- who has broken down barriers for women in calypso, soca and other Caribbean genres throughout her 64-year trailblazing career -- will once again make music history. Rose is the oldest artist and the first calypsonian to be booked for a full set at Coachella. Rose will perform on the Gobi Stage on both weekends (April 12 and 19) of the Indio, California festival, backed by an eight-piece band comprised of African, American, Caribbean and French musicians. She is also one of just eight artists who were filmed in their homelands for mini-documentaries that will be included in the Coachella Curated weekend two streaming program. Calypso Rose was born Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis in Bethel Village, Tobago (the smaller island in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a.k.a. T&T) on April 27, 1940. Known for utilizing risqué double-entendres, hallmarks of many classic calypsos, Rose has also been an unwavering proponent in expressing the female perspective on such issues as domestic abuse ("Solomon,") exploitation ("No Madam,") and spousal infidelity ("The Other Woman.") In 2018 Rose's "Leave Me Alone," featuring soca superstar Machel Montano and Manu Chao, became a rallying cry for women's rights to harassment-free public spaces at Trinidad's carnival and beyond. Her powerful vocals -- feisty, warrior-like yet warm and engaging -- remain remarkably intact. Having written over 800 songs, Rose has helped to define the calypso art form while shattering the genre's gender biases. She’s a force to be reckoned with and we adore her.
Two years ago, Seyda opened a women’s only coworking space in Harringey, London, running it from an old Cypriot Community Centre. The female-focused community of support an collaboration provided ambitious women with business and social opportunities as well as being a safe area to experience all the ups and downs working for yourself can throw at you. The aim is to provide as many resources and as much support as possible to the women who need it. Now however, this incredible space is in danger. The landlords have decided to take The Work Club’s current home back from them at the end of May. This has devastated the entire group as it has uprooted everything they’ve worked towards and left them without a base for the members and the workshops they run. But, all is not lost. The community has found a new permanent co-working venue which is perfect for them! While the membership is still growing, they’re still a low-profit organisation and aren’t in the position to put down such a large lump sum to secure the premises. Without this, they’ll be lost. But they’re not just sitting down and letting this happen. They’re asking for help. If you have a spare few pennies, help give The Work Club a new home and help them continue the incredible work they’re doing by donating to their SpaceHive fundraiser page.
Have a positive week,
Love Neon Moon x
Let us know your thoughts about this week's Women Wednesday below.