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It should not hurt to be a woman

women.png

Finding me, is definitely the top most priority at this precarious juncture of my life. My identity, my voice, my dreams, and my suffocated screams – I need to address these! My vision for my community is to remove the oppressive stereotypes branded on us. My wish is to humanize our cries. I want our women stop being made sexual objects. I want our men to respect women as humans first, as mothers of our children, as counterparts – the least as objects for their lust; our sensuality to be handled delicately as it deserves to be, our emotions to be understood for all the roles we are expected to play. My vision is to see a human race that respects each other irrespective of gender.

That vision, that craving, is what led me to World Pulse. I started writing years before that, trying to make sense out of life, out of what was happening to me, with me, and also around me.

I have my doubts, about my strengths, about what I live with. I have stood strong in the face of a number of challenging adversities and I have triumphed outwardly. Others see me as a successful career woman, a leader, a dedicated mother, a role model wife, a supportive & responsible daughter. What they don’t see is the angst within me. What they don’t see is the demons I fight within; what agonizing efforts I put in for my ‘strength’.

I want to be a voice of World Pulse in the hope of gaining that inner confidence, to rein that inner voice, to embrace emancipation. I want to get strength from this online community of great women. I want to learn to accept that I was sexually abused as a child; it is in the PAST. I want to learn to accept that I am in an abusive relationship, that I made an 'unintelligent' choice and I have deluded myself for almost two decades believing things will change. I want to learn to respect who I am; to accept that abusers are abusive not because of whom we are but because of whom they are. I want to get enough strength to break free from this cycle of doubt, guilt, and self-sacrifice. I want to learn to believe in my heart and mind that my being trapped here is not worth the sacrifice. I want strength and wisdom to make the right decision for me, and consequently for the emotional well-being of my children.

By this process I want to be the strength for other people like me. I want to be able to advocate their safety without them walking the same agonizing walk I have endured trying to be strong, while breaking inside. I often see women with very subdued eyes, people resigned to their fate. I want to give them hope, a reason to smile. Through this journey, I want to learn from them and also show that we can overcome the demons, whatever they are. Being women does not mean we have to endure hardships and cruelty in silent remorse. I want to shout out loud to all women and men that it should not hurt to be a woman.

I wish someone had taken my hands and pulled me out of this never ending subtle and selective abusive relationship. Today, I realize the best thing is to raise our voice to save ourselves from the pain and also to save others by being an example. We need to stop brainwashing our girls to be patient and obedient; our boys to be manly and macho. We need to stop that! We need to tell them, teach them, and show them that being a specific gender does not require to be subjected to pain and hardship.

Every day I doubt myself, about my loyalty, my selflessness, and my role. I want to overcome that doubt.

I am confident World Pulse will help me in this endeavor, to gain my identity back. I already have made strides. I have already come across women who could help me. In turn I can be the help for someone else. We can get through this with a united voice.

----
P.S. The title inspired by http://itshouldnothurttobeawife.com/who-am-i/

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delphine criscenzo's picture

Strong

Dear Aminah,

I have tears in my eyes as I am reading your Week 4 assignment. I see your vision, for yourself and for women in your community. I am sorry for the pain you are suffering, but so moved by your strength and courage. I have told you before how impressive you are and how courageous!
I am not sure you need to change anything to your assignment. I do not see anger. I see determination, a sense of realization that you are worth it, that you can change your live, that you can revolutionize the world.
I stand with you SISTER!
In solidarity,

Delphine Criscenzo
Outreach and Training Associate
World Pulse
www.worldpulse.com

Dear Delphine

I too, am sorry too for my pain, for putting up with it, for not knowing any better way of handling this.
But I have started to believe I can get through. Earlier I used to believe my staying strong and going forward with the relationship was the real challenge, the real strength. Now I know for certain that I will never find happiness here. That with age, we need more compassion and understanding and have to have a bond that can be cherished. So yes. the realization has set in. Now the challenge is breaking free and overcoming my doubt. And I see hope in this place, I can feel my pulse throbbing in this World. And I am overwhelmed with the support.

Salaam
Aminah

mrbeckbeck's picture

Growth

You are growing stronger and stronger every day. I applaud your vision, stepping fully into yourself is a journey that will bring unlimited rewards.

You are a gift to your community, to the world. Thank you for speaking out and sharing your journey with us here.

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Aminah's picture

the pain increases too

With getting stronger pangs of guilt and just pure sadness also grows.
Having endured this for almost two decades, it pains me to realize I could have tried sooner. But I guess everything happens on its due course. I can only hope for a better future.
And hope that this doubt erases and clears soon enough.

Thanks for your support Scott.

Salaam
Aminah

LeanaM's picture

Doubt

Aminah,
I hope sharing your story here and getting support from the community will help you overcome your doubt. You are clearly strong and determined, and I have no doubt that you will overcome the challenges you are facing.
Love & Solidarity,
Leana

I am not sure if sharing the story really helps. I am trying because I am told it will help. And maybe it is helping :)
It is a bit embarrassing to admit these things, esp because I am educated, and people look up to me to lead them. How can that be? that's where the doubts comes.

Thanks for your support

Salaam
Aminah

KathyG's picture

Other Voices

You are strong, you are here, you are heard. In many ways the stories are sadly similar but they are all individual. For added strength and to see how other women have grown and moved away from abuse it may help to look through last year's Ending Violence Against Women campaign. It is through these stories we all learn, support and help each other.

http://worldpulse.com/campaigns/evaw

Katy
World Pulse
Project Manager

Aminah's picture

Thank you for the share Katy

Reading on other people's journey makes me feel less insane. Some days, I just can't believe what happens around me is real. But yes, reading other people's journey now shows me that some have it much worse. I am thankful for the little blessings I have, but I am no longer happy to just sit and sacrifice my happiness

Thanks for the support

Salaam
Aminah

Precious M's picture

Power in your story

Dear Sister,

There is nothing like the story of someone who has been there and knows the way out. Your story will certainly give hope to many other women, more than you can even imagine. I see you rising as you keep speaking up. You are really strong. Yes, being a woman should not hurt!!!

Very best of regards,
Precious

My pen speaks

Knowing the way out is a long and lonely journey. And yes, by sharing I hope to make that journey short for someone else.
Sharing is proving to be difficult as memories keep coming back.

Salaam
Aminah

anab87j9's picture

I got chills!

reading your precious piece, I was overcome with feelings of intense inspiration, and bursts of courage. May you find comfort, love, warmth and blessings to continue your journey of strength and courage. I want to tell you that although I have not met you, but I love you! You are not alone in this, and you won't suffer the pain alone. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are a courageous woman for taking these steps. Your writing screams courage and determination. You inspired me!

Love, and warm hugs,

Anab

Aminah's picture

thanks for the love

Everyone says it's courageous to share my story. But I am breaking into so many tiny pieces inside every time I repeat this and every time I comment. I just hope this process ends soon.

I am very thankful for the support and encouragement.

Salaam
Aminah

Stacey Rozen's picture

We love you

Aminah, with every word, you will heal. Somehow by typing your feelings and reading them back to yourself, there will be clarity and your vibrancy will win. Always remind yourself that you are not alone. We are all here for you even though we may not be face-to-face. Sending you love across the interwebs.

Creatively,
Stacey

Thank you for that encouragement Stacey. I just hope this is a healing process. Right now, it hurts. It hurts more than it hurt when it was ignored, hidden under the rug.
I will take your word and the word of many others who are reassuring me that I am on the right path.

Salaam
Aminah

Jennifer Brier's picture

Please know we support you!

Aminah-your writing is strong and your message powerful and real! I stand with you and hold the vision of you breaking through these limiting beliefs and breaking free from abuse! Your strength and power is palpable through your words within your post. Please know that you are anything, but selfish! May you find comfort in knowing we see you and we are behind you!

With love and in partnership,

Jennifer

"I am a woman, that's my weapon!" ~Catherine Robbins

Jennifer Brier's picture

Breathe deeply and walk

“The truth is, in order to heal we need to tell our stories and have them witnessed...The story itself becomes a vessel that holds us up, that sustains, that allows us to order our jumbled experiences into meaning..."

This is a quote from Sue Monk Kidd, an American author who writes about the Divine Feminine. When I read her book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, it profoundly changed my life and her story allowed me to see why I was in so much pain. It is when I too realized that I must break free from a limiting relationship that was a result of my deeply held negative beliefs about myself.

The only gentle feedback I would give you regarding your post is that I do not believe you made an, "unintelligent choice." As I lean into your story, it feels as if you made the best decision with the information you had at the time and the limited awareness that you held about yourself, your relationship, and the world around you. And now-you have claimed your innate wisdom, allowed it to guide you, and you are choosing to make difference choices. Stand strong, breathe deeply, and walk. We are walking with you, Sister!

In partnership,

Jennifer

"I am a woman, that's my weapon!" ~Catherine Robbins

It means a lot that you have taken time and thought to comment on my writing, my ranting.
It shows how dedicated you are to empowering the feminine.
Thank you.
thank you for those words of encouragement. Thank you for making me realize my decision back then was not unintelligent. As you very rightly say it was best for that time frame. But what is best for now, is for me to be strong and believe in myself. I see it very clearly. Keep walking with me. I think this journey is going to be take sometime.

Salaam
Aminah

Lortoria's picture

broken the silence

Dear Aminah,

You have finally broken the silence about the hurt that has been building in you. I could sense this from your early postings, and woah, has it spilt forth! If it is healing, reassurance and confidence building you seek, you are already receiving it.

The soul entanglement of self-doubt WILL leave you soon, as you are already proving a strong role model for your children, and others.

I have worked with abused women and I have been one myself. I empathise. Stay strong

Lortoria McDonald

lortoria@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/illumaink
New website coming soon!

Yes Lortoria,

this pain is what led me here, and it is no wonder that that's what I am dealing with.
I have a vision to make the world a better place. But that vision will never be achieved unless I overcome that within my surroundings. I need to make my small world a better place to actually be the needed change for other people in my community.

So yes, it is healing, reassurance and confidence that I seek. And thank you for giving me all that and more.

Salaam
Aminah

Sulo39's picture

Very Powerful

Your post is very powerful, Aminah. By opening out like the way you have and laying out your vision for others, you have demonstrated to all of us what a courageous, determined woman you are. I hope wisdom and love will guide your every effort to extricate yourself from all the pain and hurt. And all the best for your initiatives to help others with similar experiences.

Suloxx

I really hope I can get over this soon. I know what I have to do. At least I think I do. I need to take the bold step.
But something is stopping me from doing just that. I keep thinking of everything else, and everyone else that will change with my decision. I just don't want to cause any agonies to anyone else.
But I guess it will be part of the process.
I just take a deep breath and keep my hopes high, as much as possible.

Thanks for the support Sulo.

Salaam
Aminah

Yessi Writes's picture

You are loved

I want to begin by thanking you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to share something so personal with people, especially because there will always be the ignorant people who want to blame the survivors of sexual assault and abusive relationships. I wanted to thank you profusely; you are already a voice for people who have gone through similar experiences to yourself. Reading your story, I thought about all the women in my life who have endured abuse from their partners, even their male sons, because they thought they deserved it, or that suffering was their birthright for being a woman. You inspired me, and many others who read this.

You are doing the right thing, for yourself and for your children. It hurts to see your mother in an abusive relationship. I know that seeing so many of my female family members in abusive relationships has made me very wary of males and of forming emotional relationships with anyone. By showing your strength and walking away, you are doing the best thing for your family.

Thank you again. Know that even if those around you try to blame you, we here will always support you. I am always free to talk if you need anything.

Much love,
Yessi

You are very right Yessi.
Somehow some people end up making the survivors the reason for the abuse.

Honestly what I fear now is people trying to advice me to try and keep the family together, advice me not to be selfish, advice me that this is life that sacrifices need to be made, etc etc.
I do not want to hear any of that. But I feel in my gut that if and when I take the bold step I will have to face that too.

I guess the enormity of the outcome of my decision, is halting me, stalling me...
But I have decided once and for all, that I need to take the step. I just hope it's sooner than later.

Salaam
Aminah

Nadz's picture

Now that You have said it

Words are powerful Aminah and now that you have said it with fire it wont be the same again, be strong my sister, your experiences become the stories of inspiration that will save other women and children from their own bondage, youy are a powerful vessel.

Life is just for living

Aminah's picture

trying to be strong

I just hope this process of self-healing gives someone else the courage to and inspiration to bring a positive change into their lives too.

I only hope and pray and ask God to guide me, to give me the strength to find my own happiness.

Salaam
Aminah

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

It is a difficult road to

It is a difficult road to travel out of an abusive relationship, but you have an incredibly strong voice and you are determined. We can all sense it here at World Pulse. May you find the love, the peace and joy that you absolutely deserve! Know that you are not alone!

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

I have no idea how others have walked this road, and how some have succeeded in walking away.
I can only feel admiration for their courage and hope to have a little bit of that in me too.

To know what is best. To truly understand I have given it all I can, and there is nothing left to give.
The doubt still keep coming back - maybe I am not trying hard enough to overcome this and to move forward together.
Being together for the sake of keeping a family intact is on the top of my priorities. It has been on the top.
It resonates with Rob Brezny's quote you have used. My one passion is doing everything possible to stay. I have been trying that with a frenzied intensity. I guess my challenge is to dilute that intensity.

But slowly I am managing to let go of it. Glad to know there is much support in this group. I need that.

Thanks.

Salaam
Aminah

Binti Kamau's picture

YOU SAID IT TOO WELL!

Dear Aminah

This line "We need to stop brainwashing our girls to be patient and obedient; our boys to be manly and macho" has touched my nerves...
As a young girl I what I saw around me insinuated that men get what they want...and I have subconsciously believed this that I cannot deny a man what he wants. That if he is not happy it is my fault. Well, now I know that men need RESPECT and so do WOMEN. I wish you well

Thanks

No Retreat, No Surrender

Aminah's picture

thanks for the support

When I was growing up, we were differentiated at so many levels.
A large family hence the dinner table was not enough for the dozens of heads.
We as girls had to always wait until boys/men finished eating.
We as girls had to fetch water glasses for boys/men. They came first and we were just asked to do with what was left.

I always found this unfair. But being the eldest in a poor family, made me be obedient.
And that's what I grew up to be. obedient, tolerant, patient ... thank god for the education i received. I have started to detest this gender based social expectations created by the society. It will only pull us backward in our endeavor for advancement.

So yes, respect for each other irrespective of gender, fairness to all irrespective of gender, justice to all irrespective of gender.

Salaam
Aminah

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

Smile please

I liked your line "I want to learn to accept that I am in an abusive relationship, that I made an 'unintelligent' choice and I have deluded myself for almost two decades believing things will change" that's hope that keep us alive.
I know its not easy to share your personal story it needs a lot of courage to do so and I can understand the pain you go though while writing it as it recall your unpleasant memories but you are really brave coping it and that's great that you want to be a reason of others smile which will ultimately turns into your smile.
Never stop writing as its place to lighten your burden by sharing and don't forget we all are with you so keep hope, stay happy and believe yourself. Read my fourth week journal hope it refresh your mind and give you strength.
May God shower his countless blessings upon you
Regards,
Aysha Ibrahim

I guess understanding and accepting that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. At least that's what I have started to believe based on my readings.
I feel such an open book these days, it is sometimes uncomfortable and yet, I guess I needed this, I needed to share it somehow with someone who would not be judgmental.
and the world pulse is proving to be the place for me.

Thank your encouraging feedback. And yes, I have read your post and I am very impressed - will leave a comment over there.

Salaam
Aminah

Sharontina's picture

Oh dear Aminah, I just have

Oh dear Aminah,
I just have no words dear. I see this is an outburst of all that you kept inside. Now dont hold anything, let all the left over clenching your heart and soul pour out and once its done, i believe you will see the new person in you.
I read that - "hope of gaining that inner confidence" - i tell you you have already gained that inner confidence which has revealed the power in you through your powerful words. Now no one can stop you from being yourself.
Go ahead and follow you heart and open your eyes - you are there already right exactly where you dreamt to be.

Much love

Merlin Sharontina

It doesn't feel as if I am in the place I want to be.
Sure I know what I want. I know what I should do to get what I want.
But doing what I want is the difficult part.
What is good for me could not be good for the people around me.
Do I only of myself or do I think of myself in the context of everyone around me?
These are the kinds of questions that I need overcome, that I need to answer.

Thank you for the support as always.

Salaam
Aminah

ayodele emefe's picture

I AM SURE

Hello Aminah,

Thank you for an inspiring piece.Being educated does not immune one from having doubts and you are not alone in this situation. I have two masters degrees, married with children, still i have doubts about my career as a woman, my freedom to have as much fun as i want as a mother, doubts about what I am doing right or wrong as a girl, a daughter, a wife, a mother and a woman.

What has brought about these doubts? No thanks to the society we live in that discriminates against a married woman/mother from getting the job of her choice, that discriminates against her from expressing herself in a male dominated environment, that discriminates against her from being who she is, A WOMAN.

Writing our stories, telling them, publishing them and sharing them have improved the way we feel about and see ourselves thereby helping us to eliminating these doubts and discovering ourselves.

Together we will remain strong, focused, committed and conquer.

Cheers,

Ayodele

"You are a champion and a hero. Do not think yourself any less"

I can relate to you in that being educated alone is not enough.

As you have rightly said, society has fabricated deep rooted discrimination against social groups, especially against women.

I am a very action oriented career woman. I want to go places, I want to bring about change. Yet, doubts about my role as a woman as a mother, and doubts about whether I am negligent on those "fundamental" roles has always stayed with me.
I have found that working does not necessarily stop us from giving the care and love our family needs. However, the society has these believes that a mother who works outside of home is not a mother in the full sense and that the children grow up not getting enough care and guidance... these kinds of thoughts plaques my thinking ...
it's just never ending. these doubts.

But yes. We will get through this. And we will give our future daughters and mothers a better world.

Salaam
Aminah

Debra K Adams MA's picture

Aminah

I think you are doing what domestic violence advocates name as safety planning - you have decide to make a major change, now you are seeing what needs to be in place for you to feel safe doing it! What you say in your blogs is what is 'normal' for survivors of all forms of violence against women.Many of us need to constantly hold down our negative voices, break through the unneccesary social and cultural traditions that wordlessly hold us in a place of pain. It is hard work and painful, try to feel the pain and accept it, then move through it to the side of healing those experiences..you have done so much since we began our VOF journey! fight for yourself first, then you will have strength to fight for your daughter and all daughters! sending you much love and care....keep in contact with me, please!

"Be the change you want in the world." Gandhi

Debra K. Adams, MA
See my vizify bio! https://www.vizify.com/debra-k-adams-ma-pdv-cws
Survivors In Service: Self Empowerment Strategies (SiSSeS)
Consultant/Speaker/Author & Owner/Founder

Aminah's picture

Maybe I am losing my marbles

Ah Debra

I am starting to believe that I am going through a hysterical phase.
I am also thinking that I am being very calculated. I know what I want and I am planning and scheming on reaching that place. I feel I am losing sanity. Could that be possible.
I don't know, maybe this is a phase?

I will inbox you a little more detail. I think I need professional help.

Salaam
Aminah

loretta's picture

Making sense of things.

Aminah, much as you had to endure this abusive relationship for two decades. You were trying to make sense of who you are, where are you going. Trying to measure your strength, your ability to put one foot in front of he other and move forward and never look back with any regret.

I salute you, for eventually reaching that stage, a stage where you feel empowered, a stage where you have inner strength to draw from. I can feel that strength from your words.

I have no doubt, that whatever decision you reach, would be a wise one.

Keep Pulsating, don't stop, don't give up.

Loretta.

A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

Dear Loretta

Thanks for the continued support.
Sure I feel an inner strength right now. At least I am able to talk about my dilemma.
But the doubt that stays is what is wise? What would be the wise decision when I take into consideration my kids and my mother?
If only there was a clear sign that indicated what would be best for the kids. But I guess this is just wishful thinking.
I guess I need to make a cold hard decision once and for all without stalling it any longer.

Still thinking....

Salaam
Aminah

loretta's picture

That's the spirit!

Hard cold facts, it's the way to go. A decision has to be made.

Keep well, God bless and guide your decision.

Loretta.

A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

Ruth Bech's picture

Bulls eye!

We share stories, you and I. I went through a severely abusive marriage, that left me with complex ptsd - it took me a decade to get over it. It hurt so badly when I started healing, I lost hope to regain my humanity again. But the days faded into another, and days turned to years. One day, I found myself free of my past. I could breathe again, freely. I could sleep again, and wake rested. My inner and outer scars are my beauty marks, they show my strength. Funny how we both share the same approach to gender equality - we know from our own experience that it is the stereotyping to fit culture that is sustaining violence and is keeping up the lack of will to shield us from abuse and exploitation. I am with you every step of the way. I wish to be your friend and support when you need it. With all my heart: go for it, and walk safely.
All my love,
Ruth

Aminah's picture

your strength is inspiring

Dear Ruth,

I have been living through sever abuse to emerge strong and stubborn, still in the same relationship with a lesser lever of abuse. What I tolerate has changed and as a result our relationship and his level of abuse has changed has diminished.
Therein lies the weakness within me. I have survived worse days! So I ask myself why am I complaining?

What have changed is what I want out of life. I no longer want to go with the flow. I no longer want to survive a day at a time hoping for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I want to be happy. I want to be content. I want to be satisfied. I don't want to make any sacrifices anymore. And that makes me think that I am being unduly selfish. And yet, I want to be selfish. Is this normal?

I wish my society has not conditioned us women to be patient, has asked us to put our needs behind everyone else'.

Do let me know if I would start to worry about my sanity.

Salaam
Aminah

Ruth Bech's picture

No worries about sanity!

You should not worry about your sanity - it is just fine. What you should worry about is self denial. You must do what is best for you, what keeps you safe - and what keeps you in harmony. There is no recipe for life. But I just know, that life is a gift to you - as you are a gift onto others. We all are life, we are life - life is not something we do, or something we observe. And how we choose to live it, each one of us, is making up the quality of life all together. If you are complaining, is out of a thirst for more life in your existence - or because of resentment? In your heart you know the answers. Only you can give yourself what you want. Nobody else. If deep down you want to have another life, than go for it. Our days are numbered - and our life is a gift we certainly should not throw away on other peoples expectations. We must live while we do.
Much love,
Ruth

michelle904's picture

Wow! Reading your post sent

Wow! Reading your post sent chills down my back. Your words are so powerful and true - " it should not hurt to be a woman." That is a truth that the entire human race needs to embrace, not just women.

Aminah's picture

Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for the feedback Mischelle.
I want to share this story with the world so that everyone takes heed.
It should not hurt to be a woman. Never.

Salaam
Aminah

pelamutunzi's picture

this is the story of women

this is the story of many women. all smiles outside and pain hurt inside. i feel what you are saying and leaving a relationship is difficult at times it seems we are selfish to let go of our pain but i applaud you. you have admitted things that we all feel and hide behind that veil we call womanhood. the decision is yours to make, it will never be easy because in the midst of the pain there are also good days in a relationship. all the best will be sharing similar stories on the women in my family and how they have made it or not in abusive relationships watch this space
regards
pelagia

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Aminah's picture

ah womanhood :)

That's true dear palagia.
In the midst of the pain there has been good days too. And sometimes we remember only the good days and ask ourselves why are we complaining? why are we not trying harder to get the good days back? And those thoughts makes us guilty of being selfish.

Unfortunately, right now I am at a place and space where it's hard to recall good days. But that's a very sad thought really.

Salaam
Aminah

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