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8/11 - This Week in Women: Speaking Out, Speaking Up

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This week, conversations surrounding some of women’s most discussed yet neglected topics covered headlines worldwide. From pay equity in New Zealand to female oppression in India, to diversity in Hollywood, all topics were on the table, with these five women unafraid to put them there.


New Zealand’s Labor MP Annette King Comments on Pay Equity

After a 30-year political career, MP Annette King is retiring from New Zealand’s Parliament following this month’s election. This week, King gave her farewell speech with closing comments that included the lack of equality for women throughout the country, particularly at work. In her speech, King said, “I’m ashamed that we don’t have pay equity in New Zealand. Women have waited long enough. No more excuses, no more half-baked measures, no more litigation. It’s time for us to once again lead on women’s issues.” King also recognized that women “only make up 31 percent of MP’s,” noting the change needs to carry into the political parties, so that Parliament can more wholly represent New Zealand.

Annette King Courtesy of RNZ

Comedian Niecy Nash Discusses Female Representation in Hollywood

Niecy Nash Courtesy of Newsweek

As part of Nash’s new series, Claws, the comedian is drawing attention to how far black women have come in the media – attributing this to actors like Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington. However, the comedian still feels as if not all women have benefitted from the strides these women made.

“There are so many other women in the world besides black and white women whose stories are not being told – Asian women, Indian women, and Muslim women,” said Nash on air with Chelsea Handler. Nash continued to discuss the importance of growth in the right direction to continue to diversify Hollywood. Following this television appearance, Vox published an article in which they used the following statistics from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film as sobering data in support of Nash’s comments: only five percent of broadcast female characters were Asian, five percent Latinas and two percent identifying as “other.”

Taylor Swift’s Battling her Sexual Assault Case

All week, the musician has been trending on social, as followers criticize the lack of support from other celebrities and speculate results. Yesterday, the trial began against former country radio DJ David Mueller, keeping Swift at the top of trending articles due to her “gutsy” testimony and “sharp” responses. “Because my ass is located in the back of my body,” Swift replied to Mueller’s attorney asking why the photo, in which Swift says Mueller was “grabbing her ass cheek,” showed the front of her skirt in place. The attorney continued to question why Swift didn’t take a break during the meet-and-greet after she was alledgedly groped, to which Swift said, “Your client could have taken a normal photo with me.” Throughout the trial, Swift continued to fire short, similar lines as defense, and also as proof of her determination to be a role model to encourage young women that this behavior is unacceptable. The trial continues in Denver next week.

Taylor Swift Courtesy of TGM

Varnika Kundu Inadvertently Starts #AintNoCinderella Campaign

This week Kundu, a DJ, was walking home from work late at night when she was “chased and almost kidnapped” by multiple men in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh. Kundu took to Facebook to post about her experience, noting her appreciation for the quick response by local authorities.

Palak Sharma Courtesy of BBC News

After the post went viral, however, local politician Ramveer Bhatti continued to draw attention to the event by blaming Kundu for the attack. Bhatti said, “The girl should not have gone out at twelve in the night…why was she driving so late in the night?” As a result, Congress party’s social media launched a campaign with the hashtag #AintNoCinderella in response to Bhatti’s reaction to Kundu’s curfew. Spandana told the BBC, “Why shouldn’t women go out after midnight? I’m asking people like Mr Bhatti who are they to set curfew hours for us. This is such a regressive mindset.” The hashtag began trending as more women posted photos of themselves out after midnight, continuing the conversation around victim-shaming and international female oppression.

Rose Namajunas Poses Nude for Women’s Health

Rose Namajunas Courtesy of MyMmanews

As part of the “Naked in 3 Words” campaign put on by Women’s Health, the UFC star said she felt motivated to participate, posting her image on Instagram with the caption, “Cut, The, Shit. Be yourself, work hard, love your body and put your best self forward. What are your 3 words?” In addition to this post, Namajunas also spread body positivity during the shoot, saying, “My naked body is…the story of my whole life. All the scars on my body, all the bumps and bruises, all the muscles – that is a story of everything I have done.” Namajunas continued, “I have a middle finger that was jammed in one of my craziest fights, and it looks like a swollen turkey to this day. There’s a bone chip that’s in there, and it’s a reminder that this finger contributed to my fight, and to my beautiful house, to everything in my life. It might be ugly, but it’s mine and I love it. I’ve got some big old knees, big old feet. I could nitpick, but at the same time, I think it’s all friggin’ beautiful.”

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.