Imagine If *Every* Girl Knew About What These Women Were Doing

Seeing is believing.

Attention: We've got a problem with our girls.

A weird thing is happening with the way 11-year-old (and older) girls are raising their hands in class.


They're losing their self-esteem, and so they don't speak up as much.

How do we encourage girls to keep their hands held high? And to keep asking questions? And to keep dreaming? Maybe they just need to see that it's cool for them to do so. Maybe seeing really *IS* believing.

Truth.

I mean, as a young girl, if you *never* see a woman as the CEO of a company, or a firefighter, or computer engineer — then how are you supposed to imagine yourself as one? It's possible, just not as likely. And true story: That unlikelihood will present its ugly head later on:

A 79% decrease in women majoring in computer science in the last 10+ years?

Ladies already are a minority in science/math fields, which makes the stat even worse!

But there's good news. A group of super-bright women are focusing on how we can better empower our girls, keep their hands raised in class, and keep them dreaming big and thinking about careers they may never have considered otherwise. They're helping to redefine what it means to be a role model in our society and how we think about our goals.

Role models matter, so let's put more ladies doing important stuff in front of our youngins! The video above is a good start. *Every* girl can benefit from it.

Future answer: Oh yeah, a ton of women have. You totally can too!

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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