Business 25 March 2018
It's never too late to teach girls the power of being a woman and showing them the steps they need to take to be as successful as possible. GiRLiFE, a company created by Melody Pourmoradi, has not only made empowering girls simple but it also allows women to earn an income while doing it! The business provides girls with enriching educational programs and activities, like nutrition workshops and fun crafts to do, that anyone who wants to can host. Pourmoradi, inspired by her twin daughters and her own childhood, wanted more ways to show girls the power that lies inside of them, so she decided to start her workshopping empowerment company, GiRLiFE. We chatted with her to answer all of our burning questions about this almost 'too good to be real' business.
I felt a very deep calling to introduce young girls to empowerment principles from a young age that could change the course of their lives for the better.
1. Can you explain to us how GiRLiFE works?
Sure! GiRLiFE is a digital training that gives passionate women across the globe access to an exclusive girls empowerment curriculum, one that enables them to create their own successful GiRLiFE group in their community.
2. How does GiRLiFE get women involved in running these empowerment workshops?
We welcome women who are looking to create a positive impact on the future generation of women to join our mission. Through our digital platform, facilitators have access to unique lesson plans, nutrition projects, crafts illustrating each workshop theme, resource lists etc. We essentially provide them with the A-Z of what they will need to get up and running as a facilitator.
3. Can anyone get involved in GiRLiFE or is there a criteria people have to meet?
In essence, to become a GiRLiFE facilitator, our criteria are that you are a woman who feels a deep calling to introduce young girls to tools that will support them to move gracefully and mindfully through their lives. The training gives women the confidence and the know-how that they need to step into their own power while empowering their local girls.
4. How many workshops have been done?
I have piloted dozens of workshops in my own community. To date, we have 30+ facilitators across North America and Asia sharing the GiRLiFE message on a weekly basis in their hometowns.
5. What do girls learn during the workshops?
The girls learn that they each have many unique super-powers inside of them. They are taught to access their own inner wisdom, to use gratitude to positively shape their lives and to truly understand that they are brilliant and powerful beyond measure...each in their own unique way. Workshop themes include: Kindness Rocks, Intuition & Finding Your Voice, Meditation, Happiness is a Choice I Make..among many others.
The girls learn that they each have many unique super-powers inside of them. Photo Courtesy of White House Black Market
6. How much do the workshops cost and what benefits do girls get with their payments?
Workshops are approximately $40 for a two-hour session. Girls walk away with A) a group of like-minded friends B) the understanding that the power to create a fun-filled and positive life is already within each of them C) the knowledge that the thoughts they feed their minds, along with the foods they choose to feed their bodies, impact their overall well being.
7. What made you think of GiRLiFE?
After struggling with anxiety and feelings of not being “good enough” in my own girlhood, and having twin daughters myself, I felt a very deep calling to introduce young girls to empowerment principles from a young age that could change the course of their lives for the better. I have worked as a women’s life & wellness coach for the last ten years and in my experience, as grown women, we are working towards unlearning fears that were unconsciously placed upon us as children. Setting young girls up with a solid foundation that gives them access to their own authentic self is paramount so that they do not need to spend their adult years uncovering layers of societal demands and constraints that were placed upon them and made them forget who they truly are.
Now more than ever, our future generation of women needs to know how to use their voices and own their power. Photo Courtesy of White House Black Market
8. What do you hope to see for the future of GiRLiFE?
My goal is to see multiple GiRLiFE workshops in every community across the globe. Now more than ever, our future generation of women needs to know how to use their voices and own their power.
9. What is the ultimate goal you have for the company?
My ultimate goal for the company is to see the curriculum expand even further (we just launched part two of the series this past month!) while growing our audience through different mediums such as books, podcasts and other helpful tools to support young girls through every stage of their lives.
10. What struggles have you faced with starting GiRLiFE?
One of my biggest struggles in creating this platform is that it was difficult to effectively share my vision others. The business model is unique in nature because while we are striving to bring empowerment to young girls, we are also aiming to financially and personally empower the women who become facilitators for the GiRLiFE program. Not only are these women nurturing their own inner child with these principles, but they are being compensated for the good work they are putting out into the world.
11. What has been the most rewarding part of creating GiRLiFE?
There have been so many rewarding components to beginning this journey. Hearing from parents who share that their daughter has used her GiRLiFE tools to move through anxiety, school pressures, and other fears is really a full circle moment for me. Also, having my facilitators share with me that doing this work has elevated them and given them a new sense of purpose is meaningful to me in a way that is difficult to put into words.
12. What advice do you have for girls who want to start their own companies?
I would tell them this: “know and believe that any idea that you have ever imagined can and will come to life if you believe in your own power and take the steps to making this dream a reality. It's all inside of you! The world needs that special brand of magic that only you can share.”
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.