Everyone had the chance to have their photo taken with four outstanding women who shared their stories of how they overcame different obstacles to become accomplished role models. As the host, Mandy Moore took more of a back seat presenting and allowed these four women to shine.
On overcoming obstacles, the four women all agreed that what helped them was having mentors such as a parent or a sister.
As Canada’s first Canadian-trained Somali physician, Fahima Osman experienced sexism on her way to becoming a surgeon. Growing up in Abu Dhabi, she promised her mom at the age of six that she would achieve it. They had to return to Somalia in 1989, their lives were at risk and they spent everything they had to reach Canada to seek refugee status.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of David Suzuki admitted to “sometimes being in his shadow”, but that she made her father proud. Instead of letting her self-image affect her as a child, when she saw a rainforest burning in Brazil, she decided to take action, and she created an environmental club. At the age of twelve, she and her friends raised enough money to speak at the UN Earth summit. Her life would never be the same. She encouraged everyone to “speak up” and “be true to your self”. Her speech at the UN garnered a standing ovation and by 15, she was an international speaker for the Environment.
Being positive is what Arlene Blum is all about. She heard members of her own family speak negatively about her. Her aunts said “That child will amount to no good” and from that moment as a child in Iowa, she was determined to prove them wrong and became dedicated in her journey to becoming a mountain climber and scientist. She was told “girls don’t become mountain climbers” but she went on to study at the University of California, Berkeley and accomplished groundbreaking research on the effect of toxic chemicals such as retardants in baby pajamas.
Musical Ambassador, educator and Artist Toni Blackman explained how like Severn, she didn’t let her own insecurities or “a male-dominated industry” stop her from singing and rapping. Growing up, she often thought that being a girl would mean she wouldn’t accomplish her goals. Her organization Rhyme Like a Girl teaches girls not to be discouraged and to have the confidence to sing and create music.
She went on to say that “Hip-hop” is poetry and the important thing is to “be at peace with yourself”. “When you have something to say, say it. Don’t wait. And don’t whisper. If women stay in the conversation right from the beginning, they can change the conversation.” Toni has dedicated her talent to helping young women of all ethnicities to find their voice.
At the end of the night, the “Women Who Should be Famous” received large bouquets of flowers from Mandy Moore in acknowledgement for their dedication in showing that women from all over the world can achieve their dreams if they stay true to themselves. Mandy not only works with Dove to help support the Self-Esteem fund but she is also the Ambassador for PSI’s Five and Alive Organization. A Global health organization dedicated to helping children in developing countries get proper nutrition, education and other services.
--- Leticia Cambre blogs at www.artsynews.posterous.com