Category Archives: Education

Time Management Techniques from “Your Mindful Guide to Academic Success”

 

Time Management Vs. Procrastination

The main enemy of school success is procrastination, the “unjustified avoidance of a specific task that should be accomplished.” Putting off doing work robs you of energy and confidence, and makes the task you’ve put off seem twice as hard. In contrast, getting a job done adds to your energy and confidence. Some of the causes of procrastination are perfectionism, feeling overwhelmed or unable to do the task, and not liking or caring about the task. Thinking is hard work. To conquer this enemy, decide what you really do want or have to achieve and do it in small steps. Smart time management is one of the links to academic success, along with clear goals, because we have many demands on our time. Avoid distractions like electronic screens and turn off your phone when you want to focus on studying.

Ubiad, 16, m, India, reports, “Time management and tension about studies and exams bother me. What bothers me is shortage of time. Another thing that bothers me is my lack of concentration.” Yuan agrees from China,

 

Time is really a problem! I always feel time is passing so fast before I manage to cover all the things I planned. I can’t tell whether it’s because I have too much to do or I have so little time. It is an obvious problem for people in big cities in China, like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. I read in a consulting column that more and more young people are postponing the time they go to bed, so they have insufficient sleep. The columnist analyzed that the reason is because in our current modern times we have less time to do what we love, so we compromise time to sleep to do the things we love.

 

When we need to do something mentally challenging, we think of distractions like, “I’m tired” or “I need to clean my room.” It helps to be aware that the inner child is going to try these distracting tricks so we don’t fall in the trap, but also give the inner child a reward by taking a break every hour and taking a walk or by stretching. From South Korea, Da-Uhn agrees, “Procrastination is one of my biggest problems. I always found that writing a to-do list and setting up smaller and more frequent deadlines helped.” Break a big task into small daily parts. For example, if you have a report due, research the topic for half hour each day after dinner. Set aside a regular time and place to do work.

 

All I can say is to never fall behind on assignments, read all the assigned material, and study as much as you can. Try not to feel that you always need to have fun. There will be time for that when you’re not cramming for an exam because you’re all caught up with everything. Timothy, 19, m, Michigan

 

I neglect studies to some extent. This bothers me a lot as I know that I should be studying but still I do not study much. So when I am not in mood to study, I hear instrumental songs while studying or I take up a subject of my interest. Dhwani, 13, f, India

 

The secret to conquer procrastination is to set aside daily time to study, and use your study time efficiently. Your goal is to develop your mental muscle, so to speak, so you learn a lot in a short period of time and avoid spacing out. Learning is a discipline, similar to becoming a trained athlete. It’s enjoyable to expand your mental abilities and learn more about your world. (See an essay on how to hack your brain to destroy procrastination.[i])

Procrastination robs us of lots of energy, so make a list of your responsibilities and prioritize them. If we do a little bit each day, we feel empowered, which strengthens the immune system, while fear pushes it into defense. Do a little bit each day on a big task, say a half hour of work, then reward yourself with a break, such as a walk or stretching. For items low on your list, give up expectation that you should do it, delegate it to someone else, or trade with someone to do it for you. Schedule in time for fun and nurturance on your calendar so it doesn’t get pushed aside by more pressing demands. You must recharge your batteries or you won’t have energy to do your schoolwork and nurture others. Many students set aside Friday and Saturday nights to socialize with friends.

Prioritize, thinking about what’s really important. Keep your values to the forefront, such as the belief that people are more important than things. Schedule on your calendar relaxing time for a bubble bath, reading for pleasure, exercise, or other activities that make you happy. Look at yourself as a well and fill it with what renews your vitality. If the well runs dry, it can’t offer water to thirsty people. Ask yourself what you’ll remember at the end of your life, what you value.

As humans, we need purpose. Write down your goals for the next six months, year, five years, so on. Why do you want to go to university? What’s important to you in a workplace? (Young adults typically want it to have meaning, to allow for learning and making a contribution.) Write your obituary, as you would like it to read at the end of your life. See if you need to change course to be true to your values; take an online questionnaire.[ii] Willaim Damon suggests how to find your calling in The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life. Ask, “Who am I?” What do I want to be proud of at the end of my life? Khue states, “I agree that purpose is very important, but temporary inspiration is necessary as well. Sometimes a great purpose is too far in the future to conceive, we may lose track of it. Personally, I write down some quotes that inspire me on notes and stick them at a place can be easily seen just to remind myself.” These are quotes that inspire Khue:

 

“Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among stars.” Clement Stone

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me.” Will Smith, in the film The Pursuit of Happyiness [sic] (I realize not even me means not even myself.)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinion drown out your inner voice.” Steve Jobs

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to act in spite of it. For when I’m weak then I grow strong.” My brother

 

About the above quote, my brother gave it to me when I was feeling stressful with a very competitive scholarship exam. At that time he was around 15 or 16 in Singapore, so he told me that there were times he just wanted to give up and return to our hometown. Since he knew exactly what he aimed for, he had the motivation to keep going. He read a lot of inspiring books, such as books about Steve Jobs and Hyundai [Made in Korea is the biography of Chung Ju Yung, founder of the car company]. In addition, my brother was very active in sports and debates. I think his key to overcome stress is to be aware of his motivation and really enjoy what he does.

 

It’s normal to think of excuses to avoid studying (such as you really need to clean your room or make a phone call) but stick to your schedule. It helps to set aside a regular time each day for study and exercise. If you’re like me, the more difficult the assignment, the more excuses automatically pop into your mind, but once you get started, you’ll get on a roll. Just expect the excuses to come up, tell them you’ll plan time for fun, but now you need to be on task. In his book How to Become a Straight-A Student, Cal Newport suggests keeping a work progress journal. In the morning, write down the date and the tasks you’d like to schedule. Every night check items you’ve accomplished and write about why you didn’t do a task. After a while you’ll see repeated excuses that don’t hold water and devise a strategy to overcome them.

I asked Billie Jackson in the Student Learning Center at California State University Chico, the difference between an “A” and a “C” student. She said, “A” students start ahead of time; they don’t cram for tests the night before. They do more than just the minimum requirements. They talk about what they’re learning, putting new vocabulary and knowledge to use. Being organized is the key. They write down assignments in one place and have a notebook with sections and pockets for each subject.
Ms. Jackson observes that effective students have a study schedule. This involves a quick preview of the text and class notes before class, concentrating in class, and asking mental questions to prevent daydreaming. She suggests reviewing as soon after class as possible in a Sunday through Thursday scheduled homework time, with intensive review the night before a test. The key is to review information three or four times a week.

The single most important path to school success is to break a big assignment into small pieces and complete something every day. For example, the steps to writing a research paper include: do a bibliographical search, read the most important articles and chapters, write a rough draft, revise the draft, and type the final draft. Schedule when you will take each step on your monthly and daily calendar. Some people like an electronic calendar and some like a paper scheduler/planner.

Start now. Get help if you can’t achieve a task on your own. Don’t expect perfection and do visualize yourself achieving the end goal, such as turning in a research paper that reflects your best work. As you plan, remember that most things take longer than you think they will. Carry reading assignments with you for times when you know you will have to wait, such as for an appointment or in between classes. You might want to ask successful people you know how they manage to get a job done well and still have time for fun.

 

I don’t have enough time to accomplish everything I wish to accomplish. It does not matter how hard I try or how early I start, I still don’t have enough time. All the things that I wish to accomplish are important to me and I don’t want to give any of them up.

                        I haven’t really found a good way to cope with my challenge. I have learned, though, some things help me to cope a little. Prioritizing has helped me to accomplish things, such as homework, band auditions, and college and scholarship applications. Unfortunately, there are things I never do finish. Make sure you know due dates or make due dates for things that you need to get finished. Judy, 17 Illinois

 

The most difficult challenge I face as a teenager is trying to find enough time to be with my family, friends, and girlfriend, while trying to participate in school events, do my homework, and hold a job at the same time. It can be very frustrating at times and makes me a little depressed because I can’t find time for everything and everyone.

                        I decided to work just on the weekends. [A good idea because when teens work long hours, grades drop.] This allowed more time to do homework, and get enough sleep. I started spending Friday nights after the football game going out with the guys, spending Saturday night with my girlfriend, and Sundays with my parents. Schedule your time so that you are not rushing yourself, and do not overload your schedule so that you can’t get everything done. John, 17 Wisconsin

 

Hassan agrees, “I face the same. I never find time for my family and complaints are in order.” Using metacognition, Daniel, 19, California reports, “I needed time management with all the sports and the student body positions I held, so I learned when my best study hours were and used my time to the best of my ability. Set aside a specific time for studying and stick with it. Self-discipline is hard but necessary.”

 

* Keep a time diary and make a pie chart of how you spend your time (i.e., school, homework, looking at electronic screens, family activities, chores, work, exercise, friends, social activities) and your values. Keep a log of how you spend your time in a typical day, marking down what you do and for how long. See if how you actually spend your time matches your goals and values. Make adjustments if necessary. List your values and priorities and ask yourself, at the end of my life, how do I want to have spent my time? Then stick to your priorities and learn to say no, to ask for help, and to schedule in time on your calendar for self-nurturance and doing good.

 

*Get or make a stack of different colored index cards. One color could signal a subject such as applications, for example. Write one task per card, list on the back the actions needed to achieve the goal. Then spread the cards out in front of you. They’re already grouped by theme with their color. Then take each stack of cards and shuffle to reflect your top priority; which task is most important and time-sensitive for a deadline? Enter your priority tasks on your monthly calendar, such as, Monday: Do bibliographical search.

Byeongseo, from South Korea, asks, “Even though there are priorities that you think are the most important and you try to follow them, what should you do if others (someone who can affect you like your parents or your teacher) think that the priority is not as important as you think and try to force you to follow their priorities instead?” Part of being young is being dependent on parents for our food and shelter and on our teachers to prepare us for university and career; therefore we don’t have equal power. What you have is intelligence that you can use in a rational discussion with adult authority figures to explain what’s important to you and demonstrate you’re responsible. Is compromise possible?

Remind yourself that you can take charge of your life. Two people presented with the same problem can react very differently, one by giving up or avoiding it, and the other by getting the help needed to solve the challenge. One person sees the glass as half full, the other sees it as half empty. A challenging problem can be seen as bad luck or an opportunity to become stronger. Here’s how Hassan uses his time well in Pakistan: “Time management is the easiest thing to do, in my opinion. Most of the students would not consider the transition from one class to another as “time,” but I do. I use that time to answer emails, work on my proposals and keep brainstorming for any volunteer opportunities. That’s definitely using time. “

Alexis is a college senior in Washington, D.C. She is the head of two volunteer service organizations, works in two jobs as a nanny and in student housing, and takes five classes. Like Hassan, she uses breaks between classes and work to complete short assignments and saves writing a paper for when she’s home and has a block of time. She builds in 45 minutes or so when she gets home to relax by eating dinner and watching TV, then studies. She plans social time with friends for Friday and Saturday nights. As well as utilizing your time well, she recommends that you follow your passion such as her volunteer work organizing a dance marathon to raise money for a children’s hospital. These passions balance out the study grind and invigorate her. If you’re an open-option “P” personality, all this structure may go against the grain but Alexis does build in fun time on her schedule for friends.

Study smart. If you spend a lot of time reading but are spacing out, it’s a waste of time. We don’t remember much after hours of study without breaks. If you’re tired, take a nap or go to bed early and get up early to study when your brain is alert. Study in small regular chunks of time and keep reading with you to do during the day during a commute to school or during breaks. Just passively reading over your notes and readings to try to learn them is a waste of time. Your mind must be actively engaged by writing down questions and answers, making flash cards of the important concepts, and quizzing yourself until you know all the cards.

 

*Keep “to do” lists in a planner, including sections on key goals and values monthly/daily task lists, planning calendar, and address/telephone list (www.daytimer.com, www.franklincovey.com). Post a master calendar for the month with all due dates.

 

*Take time to relax. Khue reports, “I used to think relaxation is a waste of time, but when I start to take it as an investment for effectiveness in future work, I know how to pace myself.” She suggests, “Remind yourself there is always enough time for the important things so that you don’t rush. Working longer or faster doesn’t mean working smarter.” She adds, “Give both study and play your best concentration when you’re with either one of them. Don’t mix them because you’re constantly interrupting the flow of your brain. In case you feel like you aren’t making progress, drop everything and get out of the study space to do something, but try to avoid technology, for about 15 minutes. I usually drink water, stretch or look at the scene outside the window. However, set the alarm clock in your phone and carry it with you, so that you won’t just abandon your work.”

Keep a stash of toys near your study area: kaleidoscope, silly putty, jacks, bubble blower, sock toss, yo-yo, dart board, nerf balls, crayons, hand puppets, percussion instruments, etc. to use when you get stuck or fatigued. Schedule time to relax do grounding visualizations described in Chapter 3 and hobbies such as gardening or crafts. Structure in time every day to relax and get centered, as well as exercise because it stimulates brain processes that boost thinking, according to the National Institutes of Health.

 

*Give up perfectionism

Decide what you must do, would like to do, and think you should do but don’t really have to do and how perfectly it has to be done, on a scale of 1 to 100%. Save perfectionism for important assignments. Imagine a speedometer with the numbers 1 to 100. Ask it to show you how perfectly a task needs to be done. Many chores don’t have to done perfectly, so save perfectionism for when it’s necessary. Focus on the present process as well as the end result. “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than how you think it should be,” said author Wayne Dyer. Be aware of your subconscious personalities, especially the inner critic and judge. When their judgment is too much, imagine talking with a supportive grandparent who praises what you’ve done right and what you’ve learned. You can also think of a radio dial. Tune it to the positive helpful voice that represents your higher self.

An article by Elle Kaplin suggests that perfectionists apply the 70% rule from the Marine Corps: “As long as you have 70% of the information to make a decision, 70% of the resources to complete the project, and you’re 70% sure you’ll succeed, then you’re ready to go.”[iii] It’s not realistic to expect to be fully prepared. She also advises: find a partner to be accountable to about following through on your goals, start with a small first step, reward yourself with a treat, identify what causes a block in the first place, and identify the consequences of not doing the task.

A study by Karen Arnold of 81 outstanding high school valedictorians with an average BPA of 3.6 reported that, as you would expect, they did succeed in university and professions but not in being creative, visionary changemakers.[iv] Schools reward students who conform and follow the rules: Arnold found that, “intellectual students who enjoy learning struggle in high school. They have passions they want to focus on, are more interested in achieving mastery, and find the structure of school stifling. Meanwhile, the valedictorians are intensely pragmatic. They follow the rules and prize A’s over skills and deep understanding.” She encourages students to follow their learning passions, perhaps like the over 700 millionaires whose average college GPA was only 2.9.

More about how to give up perfectionism is found in Brené Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection. Psychologist Mitch Prinstein reported in his book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World that in found that high status high school students, such as prom queens and kings, were not as successful and had more emotional problems than likeable students who might be considered nerds or theater geeks.

 

*Turn off the television and cell phone, a major “time guzzler,” and beware of “time-deepening,” doing many things simultaneously under pressure. Screen your phone calls and don’t answer them during relaxing times such as meals.

*Imagine turning down the thermostat on your adrenal glands that secrete stress hormones that rob the immune system if chronically overcharged. Deep breathing and long exhalations helps. Change expectations for what you should get done and simplify your life. Slow down to avoid “hurry sickness.” Slow down your eating, walking, and talking and don’t over-schedule. Leave plenty of time between transitions so you don’t have to rush.

 

[i] Elle Kaplan, “How to Hack Your Brain to Destroy Procrastination, According to Harvard Research,” Medium.com, August 19, 2016.

https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-hack-your-brain-to-destroy-procrastination-and-accomplish-more-in-life-according-to-harvard-adb84345892f

Also see her article on “How to Radically Improve Your Mental Willpower Through Navy SEAL Tactics.”

View story at Medium.com

[ii] https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register

[iii] Elle Kaplan, “How to Hack Your Brain to Destroy Procrastination”

http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/nine-places-to-learn-public-speaking-for-free.html

[iv] Eric Barker. Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong. HarperOne, 2017.

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High School Students Discuss Stress, Anxiety, and Political Issues

44 high school students in Chico, CA, discuss stress, anxiety, and political issues. September, 2017

I asked 44 high school students in Chico, California, about their explanations for girls being more anxious and depressed than boys, according to national surveys. One boy said that male depression is prevalent too, as he knows from personal experience, so it may be we don’t know as much about what boys are really feeling due to social definitions of masculinity. The answers of these Advanced Placement students are found on the book webpage.[i] The most common explanation is female hormones impact emotion so “their brain is a chemical maelstrom.” They’re always moody, said one boy. Another said that the motherly instinct makes girls more emotional. They mature faster; “They take things more seriously so they get anxious about a test that a male might not even study for.”

The second most common explanation is that girls are held to a higher standard in their appearance and behavior, as “society holds women on this pedestal and many women think that they aren’t good enough and feel less than their counterparts,” magnified by comparison to fake posts on social media and airbrushed photos of models. Due to high expectations of perfection, “we always have to act polite and be conservative. They expect more from us but treat us worse than males.” There’s a double standard in appearance, so that “We are worried about the way we look and guys make it clear that eating nothing and being tan is considered hot.” That leads to the third explanation that a patriarchal society makes women anxious due to sexual assault, putdowns (called “hoes” and “stupid”) in a culture where young women are “slut shamed, cat called, put down, and left to basically do what men won’t.” Women are judged by their appearance and attractiveness to men, facing more ”societal scrutiny.” A boy observed, “Society is patriarchal and their lives are significantly more difficult. As a male, everything has literally always been easy for me. That is not the case for anyone who is not like me in color, class, or gender. Our society’s truly deplorable ongoing bias towards women is a strain on our collective unconscious.” It seem that young people believe that girls are more anxious and depressed because of their hormonal fluctuations, being held to a higher standard of appearance and behavior, and faced with more judgment and criticism in a society dominated by men. There’s nothing comparable to the excuse that “boys will be boys.

Causes of stress in this order

  • School, homework, tests
  • Family problems, pressure from parents
  • Social worries, drama
  • Time taken by work and sports
  • Personal worries about the future, social anxiety
  • Bad stuff happening around the world
  • Coping Techniques in this order:
  • Logic, reason, plan, organize, perspective
  • Sports
  • Sleep, nap, bath
  • Fun with friends
  • Talk with friends
  • Music
  • Pray, meditate, breathing
  • Social Media
  • Sex
 

 

 

Q3

 

 

Q4

 

 

English

English

Q1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Advocate for Girls’ Education in Africa

“At just 15 years old, Zuriel Oduwole has met no fewer than 24 presidents and prime ministers as she carries out her mission to advocate for girls’ education in Africa. When talking to African leaders, the Los Angeles teenager stresses the need for “making policies so that girls are able to go to school until at least the age of 18 so they don’t get married when they are 12 or 13…”

https://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/09/20/unstoppable-american-teen-is-promoting-girls-education-in-africa/

Introduction to Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution

 

Thanks, Dr. Kimball, for giving us this opportunity to say what we want to say. As the old saying goes, the most ordinary people are the most beautiful.

Spring Grass, 15, f, China

 

I’m afraid of no one. Pakistani activist Malala Yusafzay

 

I never knew there were such remarkable moments where not only women alone, but some men, and more importantly youth standing up and fighting for what they believe is right. It takes courage and dedication to not simply just go with the flow or hope that someone else will step in and make that change. I was surprised and so inspired by all of these courageous people and most being younger than me really puts me in my place when it comes to believing in a lot of what they are fighting for yet I’m doing close to nothing about it.

Martha, 22, California

 

Finally, we hear the authentic voices of young women from around the globe. Listen — they are the future. Encompassing views from traditional to radical, Brave… is a work unlike any other in the field of women’s studies. Rigorously researched, and including input from young women everywhere, it is a work not to be ignored. Morgan Brynnan, MLIS

 

Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication data

 

Names: Kimball, Gayle, author |

Title: Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution (in two volumes)  / Gayle Kimball. | Vol. 1 Issues | Vol. 2 Regional Activism |

Description: First trade paperback original edition. | Equality Press. | Chico [California] ; Chico

Identifiers: ISBN 978-0-938795-57-5

Subjects: LCSH: Feminism—History—21st Century. | Women—History—21st Century. | BISAC: Feminism & Feminist Theory.

Classification: LCC HQ1155 .W686 2017 | DDC 305.4209/051

 

Table of Contents

Volume 1 Themes

Chapter 1 The Future is Female

Young Women’s Aspirations, What Motivates a Young Activist? Young Women Leaders, Why so Brave? Media Influence on Girls, Anti-Neoliberal Inequality, Young Women’s Activist Tactics, United Nations and Governments Stimulate Equality, Is the Future Female? Young Men’s Issues and Viewpoints

 

Chapter 2 Global Desire for Equality

Equality is Desired Globally, Females More Egalitarian, Claims that Women Leaders are More Peaceful, Women Politicians Make a Difference, Maternal Qualities Idealized as Compassionate Leadership, Women are Better Leaders? Do Women Organize Differently than Men? Existing Models of Feminist Societies, Opposition to Prejudice, How to Increase Women’s Influence on Government

 

Chapter 3 Global Status of Young Women

Inequality, Rural vs. Urban Sex Roles, Feminization of Poverty, Education is the Key, Health Issues, Violence Against Women

 

Chapter 4 Consumerism Targets “Girl Power”

Consumer Youth Religion?; Teen Identity Through Consumption; Social Unrest from Rising Expectations; How Youth Are Manipulated by Multinational Corporations; Negative Consequences of Consumerism; Youth Views about Materialism and Getting Rich; Traditional and Modern Beliefs: Moving Towards the Middle

 

Chapter 5 Global Media Both Helps and Inhibits Girls

Global Media is Pervasive and Changes Attitudes, Digital Divide, Teachers Compare their Generation With Their Students,

Indian Media, Mobile Phones and Social Media, The Internet Creates Global Youth Culture, Global Media Sells Consumerism, Media Addiction Creates Dumb Zombies, Media Exposure Makes Youth Opinionated and Brave, Hollywood Films Provide Global Activist Symbols, Media Facilitates Activism, Campaigns Against Sexualization of Girls, Covering Women’s News

Volume 2 Regions

Chapter 1 Feminist Waves in the West

Feminist Wave History, Second Wave Feminists, Second Wave Created Women’s Studies, Inequality Persists, Generation Gap, Third Wave Response, Rejection of Feminism? Fourth Wave, Women of Color, US Recent Feminist Actions

 

Chapter 2 Women and Development

Girls and Women’s Importance in Development, Transnational Feminism Opposes Neoliberalism, Post-Colonial Feminists and Development, Feminist Development Organizations

 

Chapter 3 Latin American Horizontalism

Latin American Young Women’s Issues, Poverty, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil

 

Chapter 4 The African Way

African Values, Poverty and Development, Health Issues, Education, Women’s Movements, Young Women Feminists

 

Chapter 5 Brave Women in Muslim Countries

The Middle East Background, The Most Gender Equal Arab Nations,

Women and Islam, Feminist Activists, Women’s Role in Recent Uprisings

Iran, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Morocco, Kurdish Rojava in Northern Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia

 

Chapter 6 Egypt’s 18-Day Revolution

Traditional Male Dominance; Education; A Pioneering Feminist: Dr. Nawal El Saadawi’s Egyptian Union for Women; Precursors to Women Revolutionaries of 2011; Young Women in the 2011 Revolution; After the Revolution; Sexual Harassment is Common; Recent Feminism

 

Chapter 7 Russia Turns to Glamour

Traditional Gender Roles, Consumerism and Glamour, Putin Teaches Youth to be Nationalistic, Attitudes Towards Feminism, Female Rebels Against Putin

Chapter 8 China Fears Feminists

Maoist Marxism, Traditional Beliefs, China’s Gender Issues, Rural vs. Urban Youth Issues, Youth Issues in an Era of Change from Maoism to Capitalism, Current Chinese Issues, Recent Feminism

 

Chapter 9 India’s Grassroots Feminism

Youth Issues, The Gap Between Urban and Rural, Violence Against Girls and Women, The Impact of Religion on Gender Roles, Changing Sex Roles, Youth Activism in Politics, Feminism

Other Books by the Author

50/50 Marriage (Beacon Press)

50/50 Parenting (Lexington Books)

Ed. Women’s Culture (Scarecrow Press)

Ed. Women’s Culture Revisited. (Scarecrow Press)

The Religious Ideas of Harriet Beecher Stowe (Edwin Mellen Press)

Essential Energy Tools book and 3 videos. (Equality Press)

21st Century Families: Blueprints for Family-Friendly Workplaces,

Schools and Governments. (Equality Press)

The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide (Equality Press)

Ed. Everything You Need to Know to Succeed After College (Equality

Press)

How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce (Equality Press)

Ed., Quick Healthy Recipes: Literacy Fundraiser (Equality Press)

Your Mindful Guide to Academic Success: Beat Burnout (Equality Press)

Ageism in Youth Studies: A Maligned Generation (Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Global Youth Values Transforming Our Future (Cambridge Scholars Press)

 

In Process

Democracy Uprisings Led by Global Youth

Tactics and Goals for Changemaking

 

 

Youth Viewpoints from 88 Countries

Our human future is precarious due to our self-centeredness and shortsightedness in not meeting the challenges of climate change and growing inequality between rich and poor. Even Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund– not regarded as a liberal institution, is concerned about these huge problems. This book explores the ideas and actions of young people from 88 countries. Their electronically connected activism is transforming global culture. My surveys of 4,149 young people from 2004 to 2016 aimed to see how they are transforming our lives and planetary future, as I summarize in a TED-style slide show.[ii] The survey questions, main answers, and list of the 88 countries are listed on the book webpage, links listed below. I aimed to survey people under age 20 because of their frankness and interviewed activists in their 20s. The surveys and interviews indicate that the new generation is uniquely altruistic, committed to peace and collaboration, and interconnected. Exceptionally brave girls and young women lead uprisings for democracy in tackling major political issues, as highlighted in the list of recent youth-led uprisings that follows this introduction.

Young people are the large majority in developing nations and the best-educated generation in history. Yet half of the new generation is poor and one fourth live on less than $1 a day.[iii] With the power given them by their numbers and their ability to communicate electronically with a global network, they catalyzed global uprisings. What I call the Relationship Generation tends to defy or ignore large bureaucratic institutions including government and religion, leading to the false charge of being apathetic, but they focus instead on direct democracy on the local level and loving their family and friends.

The dozen books I’ve written may seem to be on very different topics, but the common theme is exploring the ideas of groups who were neglected by researchers, writing among the first books on women’s culture, egalitarian couples and global (rather than regional) youth activism. I taught Women’s Studies and Sociology courses such as “Women Internationally” at California State University, Chico (CSUC) and struggled to find an interesting text on global women’s issues that wasn’t a disconnected anthology of ethnographies. Doing research on global youth activism, I especially searched for young women activists. Videos shown on TV news usually feature young men protesters on the streets but women lead or are important partners in fomenting global change. The book includes the sexist and ageist obstacles that girls face and their courage in challenging religious and political authorities. It’s part of a series of four, listed above in other books by the author.

Young people want to be heard with an open mind; this book provides a forum for the insights of the largest youth generation in history—1.5 billion ages 10 to 24, given various names such as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y and Z. In his most recent work, generations expert Neil Howe defines Gen Y as people born from 1982 to 2004. The period between childhood and adulthood is expanding as “tweens” are stimulated by media to act like teens, youth enter biological adolescence earlier, spend more time in school and therefore delay job seeking and marriage. The United Nations defines youth as ages 15 to 24 and adolescents as ages 10 to 19; I surveyed and interviewed young people younger than 20 and interviewed activists in their teens and 20s.

To learn how Generations Y and Z are shaping our future, I discovered a worldwide source of youth informants, many of them contacted through their teachers. I visited them in their homes and schools in Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, England, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Switzerland and Tanzania, and Turkey, as well as in all regions of the US. Dialogues ranged from Tahrir Square in Cairo; to Rio slums; to remote villages in Tanzania, India and Indonesia; to middle-class London and Shanghai homes; and Japanese and Turkish schools.

The best part of globetrotting was talking with young people in places as varied as Tahrir Square, tiny apartments in China, a colorfully painted home in Brazil, and large two-story homes in London and Northern India as well as email and Skype dialogues. Photographs of some of the young people can be seen on our Facebook Global Youth SpeakOut page and videotaped interviews are on YouTube’s “The Global Youth” channel (links below).

Any time I met people from another country, I asked them if they knew youth or their teachers in their country of origin. Over 80 teachers mailed or emailed their students’ responses to the 12 book questions, acknowledgements and questions are on the book webpage. I met some of the educators when they came to CSUC for a six-week study program for English teachers offered several times a year. People I meet at the gym led me to contacts in Korea, Brazil, and Mexico. I attended a Global Uprisings conference in Amsterdam in November 2013 where activists, journalists and academics presented their analysis of the upheavals that started with the Arab Spring in 2010. I interviewed activists there and continued discussion with them via email.

Snowball sampling was used when some teachers and students referred others. It’s a convenience sample rather than a statistically random sample, but respondents includes a wide variety of backgrounds: hundreds of rural Chinese students (see photos[iv]) village youth from Tanzania and Indonesia, students in a village in Northern India so remote the teacher has to walk an hour up hills to reach his classroom, kids from Rio and Shanghai slums, and demonstrators in Cairo, Athens, and Istanbul and in my hometown in Chico, California. In Tanzania, for example, a young guide I met there interviewed rural village youngsters in the north and the principal of a Muslim school I visited in Dar es Salaam assigned the questions to some of his students.

About 500 respondents came from Internet sites such as Sit Diary and Our Shared Shelf feminist book club on Goodreads, youth groups like Students Against Violence Everywhere, and educational organizations like the Yellow Sheep River Foundation that assists poor rural Chinese students. Various friends or language majors at CSUC translated the questions. I posted on all the Facebook pages listed under global youth but only got a few replies, as when Kevin in Trinidad introduced me to Taika in Ethiopia who recruited respondents at her school.

My main contact in China is Yuan whose English teacher (a former student of mine) gave the book questions to her university freshman in Wuhan. His answers were so thoughtful I followed up with more questions. We’ve been in close contact for almost a decade. He and his friends translated hundreds of surveys I got from an educational organization for rural students I found online. A friend of an Indian woman in Chico where I live in Northern California introduced me to a friend who I met in Singapore who gave me the name of his friend, a high school administrator in Southern India. An Indian student responded to an Internet post I made asking for input and he asked his father, a principal in Central India, to assign the book questions. I met principals when I was in Northern India and other principals through them, and got several Indian names from Youth-Leader magazine headquartered in Berlin.

he editor of the magazine, Eric Schneider, commented, “This huge study, with elaborate analysis of the early 21st Century youth environment is massive. We have not come across anything like it, before, and–no wonder, considering Kimball quoted voices of 4,000 youth.” Each of the 88 countries has a different access story, so this is not a uniform sample of middle-class youth answering multiple-choice questions on the Internet. For those who did have Internet, I was able to follow-up with more questions.

For the quantitative approach, over 4,000 written surveys were coded by frequency of response with 57% female respondents. All of the answers were quantified by creating categories based on frequency of the answer, summarized in the book website.[v] The questions are open-ended. Rather than starting with a thesis, I used Grounded Theory in that I collected the data, then coded it myself to be consistent as themes and patterns appeared after the fact, to develop a conclusion—globally, girls are bravely stepping out of old gender straightjackets. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. SPSS was used to see differences based on gender, age, and region—more differences showed up in the latter as gender differences were small.

Staying in family homes can be referred to as a form of ethnographic fieldwork. Qualitative insights were gained from in-person, Skype, and email interviews with young people as revealed in quotations throughout the book. Our dialogues were sometimes supportive as when a gay Chinese youth felt safe to talk to me and a Pakistani girl I’ve talked with since she was in high school emailed on her graduation from medical school, “Gayle Kimball, thank you for making me realize the light in me.” As Professor Jeffrey Jensen Arnett pointed out, we learn more from interviews than survey questions with determined responses, although current research is “heavily in favor of quantitative methods.” From the point of view of the study of social movements, I examined what resources enable an uprising to succeed. From the feminist point of view, I sought out female viewpoints and leadership in researching social movements and interviews with young changemakers. “History from the bottom” and feminist Standpoint Theory starts with the voices of un-famous young people, rather than famous “great men.” These approaches value and listen to unknown and oppressed groups, rather than studying powerful men or women who act like them such as Margaret Thatcher. Grounded theory is similar in valuing research drawn from the lived experiences of the target group. Chapters include many quotes in order to communicate the actual voices of youth who are usually discounted, as primary sources are the most innovative form of research.

 

Researchers Neglect Global Youth

Other large global youth studies often draw from young people who have access to Internet, as listed on the book webpage. Many are conducted for marketing research. For example, Don Tapscott surveyed youth from 12 countries but most of his book quotes from the Digital Generation are North Americans, mainly his children. Other marketers are Habbo and InSites Consulting virtual world surveys, Martin Lindstrom’s BRANDchild, and Elissa Moses. The Varkey Foundation released a study that claims to be the first and largest global survey of Generation Z attitudes in 2017 because there’s “very little in-depth reputable polling on the opinions and attitudes of Generation Z.” [vi]It surveyed 20,088 young people with Internet access, ages 15 to 21 from 20 representative countries in 2016. It confirmed my survey findings that youth have a global culture. The lead researcher of a global marketing survey of kids aged six to 12 replied to my question about their respondents, “The survey was an online study, which means that respondents in all of the countries have sufficient income to have a computer/mobile device and internet service. Also, our research vendor screened out the lowest incomes, because the consumer group we are interested in marketing to is not at poverty level.” In contrast, this book includes slum dwellers and rural youth who may not have electricity. Surveys are also conducted by non-government agencies like UNICEF or Fondation Pour L’Innovation Politique whose findings are not available in books. Many of these NGO global youth surveys are about tobacco use or other health issues.

Youth Studies have been published in The Journal of Youth and Adolescence since in 1972, followed by Youth Studies in 1998, the Journal of Youth Studies in 2000, and Youth Voice Journal since 2010 and others.[vii] Universities like the University of Minnesota offer a major in Youth Studies, but “youth-centered definitions of their lives remain largely absent. Young people have not been enfranchised by the research conducted on their lives.”[viii] Youth studies focused on developmental stages in the transition to adulthood, with the more recent stage of “emerging adulthood,” as young people delay marriage and careers. Australian youth studies professor Anita Harris advocates that youth researchers do “participatory action research” and become less fixated on linear developmental stages, work and employment, because youth are interested in culture, leisure and sexuality.[ix] The focus on youth development as influenced by their particular generation is called the social generational paradigm, which some scholars criticize as the “new orthodoxy” in Youth Studies.[x]

Another approach, used in this book, looks at social generations as influenced by their particular historic circumstances, such as recession and the Internet for the current “App Generation” (the title of a 2014 book).[xi] The focus on youth development as influenced by their particular generation is called the social generational paradigm, which some scholars criticize as the “new orthodoxy” in Youth Studies.[xii] Sociologist Karl Mannheim discussed “The problem of generations” in a 1923 essay. Other scholars like Canadian James Côté emphasize the negative impact of neoliberal capitalism and growing inequality with high youth un- or under-employment that impacts various generations. Along this line, British scholars like Alan France and Steven Roberts think class is an important determinant of youth issues rather than generational differences, similar to the earlier interest in subcultures of working class boys at the influential Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham in the 1970s. I don’t see any conflicts, just different focal points as class and precarious employment are both influential.

My scan of the Journal of Youth Studies from 2011 to 2014 found only 26 titles on youth activism or political attitudes out of 224 articles and 10 of the titles were about youth attitudes towards traditional politics.[xiii] Amazingly, not one article was about the uprisings that started in 2011 discussed in this book. A similar search of the Journal of Adolescence found only one issue on political engagement but not rebellions (June 2012), with no other such articles in other issues.[xiv] Current Sociology published an issue on “From Indignation to Occupation” in 2013 reporting on the 2011 uprisings but without focus on youth.[xv] Online journals–Interface: A Journal For and About Social Movements and ROAR, do provide current information about social movements but not specifically about youth. A scholarly publication about social movements is Mobilization and its blog Mobilizing Ideas.[xvi] Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR) is more international and less academic than the US-dominated Mobilization.

Psychologist Jeffrey Jensen Arnett pointed out that the study of adolescence began in the US early in the 20th century and the study of US adolescents still dominates the field.[xvii] He reports that most of the scholarly journals devoted to the age group 10 to 25 are mostly from the US with an occasional European researcher. The Journal of Youth Studies includes studies from Canada, Australia, Germany and Sweden, as well as the US and the UK. Girls Studies includes courses, an international association, online faculty discussion group, and Girlhood Studies journal, with especially active British Commonwealth researchers.[xviii] Women’s Studies has spread to over 600 universities around the world, with an National Women’s Studies Association headquartered in Maryland.

Brave focuses on countries where most young people live because many of the books about Generation Y describe how to manage them in the US workforce. Much of the generational research is done in the US and the UK. Most of the academic books on global youth are anthologies of specialized ethnographies about small groups of young people in various regions without much connection between chapters. While these anthologies have opened important conversations, one such book includes chapters on Thai makeup saleswomen, former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Latino use of political graphic art, a Sri Lankan refugee, etc. Searching through 15 pages of Amazon.com books listed under “global youth,” I found anthologies, youth ministry, how to market to youth, deviant behavior, by country (such as youth in China), or unemployment, but no overviews of global youth activism except this series.

Books that report on young feminists include Defending Our Dreams: Global Feminist Voices for a New Generation (2005), an anthology written by transnational feminists in their late 20s and early 30s.[xix] They emphasize international human rights law as the key to women’s liberation in the only book I found representing young feminists from many continents. Half the Sky, a book and video by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, tells the story of women activists of various ages in Africa and Asia (2010). Three books interviewed urban youth activists in the Americas before the global uprisings of 2011: Jessica Taft, Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas, 2010; Hava Rachel Gordon, We Fight to Win: Inequality and the Politics of Youth Activism (2010); and Maria De Los Angeles Torres, Irene Rizzini, and Norma Del Rio, Citizens in the Present: Youth Civic Engagement in the Americas, 2013. US feminists report on their activism in Mary Trigg’s Leading the Way: Young Women’s Activism for Social Change (2010). Girls’ media activism in Australia, England and the US is discussed in Next Wave Cultures: Feminism, Subcultures, Activism (2008), edited by Australian Anita Harris. She pointed out, “Very little has been said about either the political participation or nonparticipation of young women in particular,” with the exception of feminist “generation wars” and criticisms of the quieter political activism of the Third Wave of young feminists.

Similar to Harris, Taft reported in Rebel Girls that, “Despite their activism, girls are rarely considered and written about as significant political actors. They appear but do not speak.” They’re left out of academic research on girls’ studies and on youth movements. Taft says that the focus is on college students rather than teenagers. Despite the increasing interest in girls’ studies over the last two decades, Emily Bent agrees that “the research on girls and politics is surprisingly incomplete” and invisible.[xx] Most of the interest in girls’ studies, youth studies, and children’s rights focuses on their future impact on politics when they can vote rather than girls’ current activism. Youth want to be leaders now. However, several international studies cited by Bent found that girls valued political participation as much or more than boys, although some of them view it as a masculine arena. Girls were more likely to imagine themselves becoming politically involved in the future if the media discussed women politicians. Anita Harris points out that some girls are interested in politics, but consider the traditional forms corrupt and dismissive of their views. An editor of We Got Issues! A Young Woman’s Guide to a Bold, Courageous and Empowered Life (2006), reported, “Young women in this country expect to be ignored. Most young women believe that people don’t really want to know what we think.”[xxi]

The editors of a book on Student Activism in Asia (2012), like the few other researchers on youth activism, complain that despite the visibility of student protests and their vanguard actions, because it is so common, “It seems to require no explanation.”[xxii] They point out the lack of comparative research on the causes and effects of student activism, with the exception of some interest in specific local uprisings in the 1960s and 70s. I in turn wonder about their lack of mention of young women’s roles or feminism. Editor Meredith Weiss kindly emailed in 2015, “You will find women involved alongside men in activism in all states in the region, across periods, but I can’t think off-hand of any Asian (or other) state in which feminism per se has been a guiding frame or objective for student mobilization overall. “

The only books specifically about youth and the recent uprisings are about the Middle East: Maytha Alhassen and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, editors, Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions, 2012; Alcinda Honwana, Youth and Revolution in Tunisia, 2013; Juan Cole, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East (2014); and Ahmed Tohamy Abdelhay. Youth Activism in Egypt: Islamism, Political Protest and Revolution, 2015. The book is $104, inaccessible to most. I turned down book contract offers from two academic publishers who intended to charge $100 for a hardback book.

Four books published from 2012 to 2016 cover the global uprisings but not with analysis of the role of young people: Paul Mason, Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions; an anthology by Anya Schiffrin and Eamon Kircher-Allen, From Cairo to Wall Street: Voices From the Global Spring including activists in their 20s and 30s. Internet ebooks by Werner Puschra and Sara Burke are titled The Future We the People Need: Voices from New Social Movements and World Protests 2006-2013. The latest books are They Can’t Represent us! Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy by Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini (2014) and Occupy! A Global Movement (2014), a $150 anthology edited by Jenny Pickerill, et al. In Youth Rising? The Politics of Youth in the Global Economy (2015) Mayssoun Sukarieh and Stuart Tannock do focus on the portrayal of youth in global uprisings, but acknowledge that they too do not include their actual voices. Their thesis is that although youth played a vital part as activists, their role is exaggerated in order to benefit the interests of neoliberal elites to deflect attention from the structural problems in the existing capitalist system. They don’t consider sex roles in activist groups: Fascism is included in the index but not feminism. The 2016 book This is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler focuses on nonviolent direct action but barely mentions youth leadership. I advocate that researchers address ageism and change the common practice of speaking about youth without including their voices.

 

Viewpoint

This book contributes to Women’s Studies, Girls’ Studies, Youth Studies, Global Studies and International Education. My perspective fits with Women’s Studies (my teaching background), Cultural Studies, public sociology advocacy and Political Science’s Social Movement Theory. My interviews with youth are oral history, first-person narratives with people who participated in or observed uprisings. Feminism can serve to “undermine what has been the dominant tendency of academic and organization thought: a strongly objectivist tendency, uncomfortable with the modes of intuitive observation and ambiguous responses.” [xxiii] The pretense of an objective observer is replaced with an activist scholar who aims to be of use to the people she or he studies. Both the study of art and feminism “subvert the very structure of thought.”

Feminist scholarship takes seriously the lives of the undervalued and marginal, such as youth or lower classes, and facilitates working for social transformation, creating “history from the bottom up.” Feminist interest in marginalized people as the focus of study is called Standpoint Theory where the observations of the grassroots and marginalized are valued. It developed in the 1970s out of Marxist feminist thought, maintaining that research that focuses on power relations should start with the oppressed. I agree with Chandra Talpade Mohanty who advocates that feminists should focus on activism in opposition to neoliberal capitalism and use advocacy research or “militant research,” defined as the place where academia and activism meet. Rather than just observe, activist scholars participate in political movements that create new values and relationships. My research, for example, led me to start a literacy program for Pakistani girls including a fundraiser cookbook of quick healthy recipes, and assist some of the book respondents with college applications, as a sounding board for personal issues. What motivated me to research for a decade was being on a treasure hunt. With such a paucity of research on youth activism, I relished each discovery and each new activist who shared her experiences with me.

The main theoretical approaches to studying girls and young women are feminism and youth subcultures like punks or hip-hop that both involve resistance to dominant authorities.[xxiv] Youth subcultures were first studied at the University of Chicago starting in the 1920s with a focus on street gangs as a strategy to cope with poverty. Youth subcultures were made famous at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies starting in 1964. Their early studies were criticized by feminist scholars for focusing on class conflict among working class “lads” and their use of public spaces, ignoring what girls did in more private spaces at home. With the development of global marketing aimed at youth and neoliberal individualization, class became less relevant. Instead, scholars discussed nonactivist neotribes such as club scenes, lifestyles, networks, communities, etc. Anita Harris stated in 2008, “There is no longer any such thing as the truly ‘resistant’ youth subculture, because youth style and cultures have been appropriated by the consumer industries, depoliticized and packaged back to youth.”

In the focus on subcultures, youth social action was left out of the Birmingham School approach.[xxv] Sociologists have been criticized for neglecting the tactics of social movements “with their emphasis upon structural strain, generalized belief, and deprivation.”[xxvi] “Post-subcultural” debates ensued, interested in multinational and cross-generational projects. Professor Peter Kelly cautions against the influence of “governmentalized” studies of interest to government departments, corporations and NGOs, who are interested in topics like consumption preferences and youth alcohol and drug use.[xxvii]

Canadian James Côté explained that since the 1980s youth studies has focused on working class youth cultures, “increasingly preoccupied with subjectivities,” rather than approaching youth as a whole as a disadvantaged class or proletariat, to use Marxist terminology, disadvantaged economically as a class.[xxviii] He argues for “a new political economy of youth,” a conflict theory that generates radical solutions to these material problems. He opposes liberal reformist structural approaches that accept the neoliberal status quo. Côté faults youth studies for ignoring the negative impact of neoliberalism on youth who face an uncertain future while the number of very rich families that can pay for their children to attend expensive universities increases. Additionally, he warns of “growing stigmatization of youth over the past century,” especially in terms of claims of “biological inferiority” regarding the adolescent brain as being less rational and more impulsive than adult brains. Schools perpetuate subordination by teaching obedience to hierarchical authority. Côté said the flip side of this trend over the last two decades is increasingly painting adults as superior, responsible, and mature, although I would add that an objective look at the news does not back up this belief. As 13-year-old SpeakOut respondent Lia said in California, “For those who created this mess in a world of chaos, just like you said to us about our rooms, “Clean it up!”

Globalization and new media changed girls’ way of doing politics starting in the late 1980s in North America with grrrl power media, including zines, music like punk and rap, the Internet and its blogs and webcams opening up since 1991. Young women engage in culture jamming of commercial media and graffiti, creating a “new form of citizenship” and a new form of cultural politics in postmodern subcultures. The editors of Riot Grrrl zine wrote in 1992, “We’re tired of being written out–out of history, out of the ‘scene’, out of our bodies … for this reason we have created our zine and scene … be proud of being a grrrl.” Feminist girls around the world created a Third Wave partly in reaction to the Second Wave and social media, discussed in Volume 2 Chapter 1. This wave was based on a more fluid and hybrid notion of gender and resistance to multinational corporations’ power, sometimes surpassing national governments as the target for resistance.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Youth Studies has been interested in transition to adulthood; characteristics of Generations X, Y, and Z; and adolescent brain development’s influence on risk taking, as seen in Australian Andy Furlong’s Youth Studies: An Introduction (2012). The newer concerns of youth studies are the complexity of the creation of youth identity and culture, international influences with global media and migration, and identifying ways to support positive youth development, as with school-based health centers.

The developmental approach is criticized for a myopic focus on economic transition from school to workplace and for assuming that the process of individualization is similar for adolescents everywhere. Definitions of youth behavior are socially constructed, thus relative. For example, children used to be viewed as little adults and still are in cultures that send children to hard work in mines, construction, sorting landfills and other dangerous jobs. In some cultures children are treated as little animals, as explained by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her biography Infidel (2007), about growing up in Somalia. The focus on child development in stages that we accept as obvious began in the 19th century as a spin off of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

As relativists, recent theorists believe that the writer and reader are subjective rather than objective and concepts change over time. Not just class, but gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual preference shape intersecting hybrid (a frequent concept about youth cultures) youth identities, as well as the influences of an adolescent’s home, school and work. Australian Johanna Wyn observes that ideas about youth as a social category are “likely to be at odds with young people’s own perceptions and experiences.”[xxix] Hence the need to consult with youth about policies that affect them, which seems obvious, but an ageist blind spot about youth concerns often gets in the way. (More on scholars’ ageism is discussed in Democracy Uprisings Led by Global Youth.)

The postmodern subcultural approach is more interested in the individual and intersecting categories. Moving away from the dualistic notion of male and female, for example, Facebook responded by adding 50 choices for gender preference for English-speaking users, including categories like androgyny, intersex, transgender, neither, gender questioning and pangender. It’s no longer cool to do binary thinking as in female and male, he or she. “Genderqueer” or “agender” people use pronouns like “ou” to replace he and she. Youth identity is shaped by gender, class, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc. This approach in turn created criticism in a dialectical process. Critical of postmodern or poststructural approaches, UCLA philosophy professor Douglas Kellner faults academics for “subjectivism and relativism, often bordering on nihilism,” and advocates instead critical theory associated with the Frankfurt School, a German Marxist-oriented research center.[xxx] This approach aims to be applicable to social change that can emerge from contradictions and crisis in capitalist societies and faults social theory today for being in “acute crisis” with its “fragmentation, trivialization, and academicization.”

 

Format

Young people’s own words and thoughts weave through every chapter of Brave. Young people critiqued every chapter. My main intent is to facilitate their voices being heard as they requested, to reveal their lived experiences of being female in a patriarchal global culture. To give a feeling for daily life in different countries, I refer to photographs and videos I’ve taken as well as commercial media. A filmography is listed in book webpage. Each chapter ends with discussion questions to ponder, activities, and films to watch.

Student comments are organized by age, with younger ones first. Some of the ages for the same person change throughout the book as we’ve corresponded for years. They’re identified by their first name or nickname– what ever they selected, age and gender as in “Chris, 16, f, England.” I corrected spelling and punctuation. Respondents are referred to as SpeakOut youth. They’re divided into “kids” 12 and younger, and “teens” 13 and older. I avoid “American” to describe people from the US, because a teacher from El Salvador pointed out he’s a Central American, Canadians are North Americans, and so on. The youth advisory board critiqued chapters and answered my questions. Anyone I quoted was emailed a copy of how I wrote about his or her statements or a follow-up question, if an email was available

Volume 1 looks at global issues that impact girls and women such as consumerism and media and the desire for equality and equal rights. Volume 2 discusses regional issues and activism in Muslim countries, developing countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and former communist countries of China and Russia.

 

Findings

Khue, a 16-year-old from Vietnam, asked me, “I would love to know your opinion of us, of people from my generation. During your journey did you find any new perspectives? Does your journey affect you in some ways?” I told her that traveling and talking to young people face-to-face and establishing relationships touched my heart and earned my respect for their openness and willingness to question authority. Teachers and students around the world are enduring friends who answer my unending questions, including book board member Hassan. Like Yuan in China, his answers to the book questions were so thoughtful, we engaged in long-lasting dialogue. He and I started a literacy program where he goes to villages near Peshawar, Pakistan to teach illiterate kids. Maheen, a young woman student at Hassan’s university, started teaching in our Open Doors Literacy Program in 2014. I’m impressed by young people’s wisdom and insights, but there seems to be a gulf between thoughtful caring ones who criticize their superficial peers who care about material things too much and ignore critical issues like climate change and inequality.

What surprised me was the similarity of urban youth viewpoints. Geographical differences did appear, such as concern about pollution in Eastern Europe, violence in US schools, the importance of having children in Sub-Saharan Africa, and anxiety about the college entrance exam in Asia. There’s a large difference in developed and developing nations on a continuum of individuality (valued in the West) and group identity and respect for elders valued in more traditional societies. I was interested to talk with highly educated young adults who expect their families to select their spouses, as in India, Pakistan, and Egypt. However, the Internet connects a global youth culture that shares a common slang, clothes, and music such as hip-hop with local variations. Youth activists I interviewed in places as far apart as Egypt, Brazil , Greece, Turkey and California prided themselves on being leaderless, operating with a new model. Influenced by their frequent contact with the decentralized and democratic World Wide Web, the old model of a pyramid with its hierarchy of power is irrelevant to many young people. This more democratic model will no doubt change the world as we know it, as practiced earlier in the global justice movement, feminism, and anarchist societies.

SpeakOut respondents are “green,” concerned about saving the planet from global warming and other human destruction, as they mentioned in their written responses. The exception is village youth like those I talked with in Indonesia and Pakistan who don’t know about climate change. Middle-class youth share being “wired” in frequent contact using their electronic devices and the Internet. “Sometimes I spend my time in front of laptop from afternoon until night. I really would like to change my bad habit,” reports Annisa in Indonesia (age 16). Some urban youth who can’t afford to buy computers or have access to them in school use Internet cafes and rent inexpensive cell phones with Internet access. They’re more egalitarian and accepting of diversity than older generations, less trusting of politicians.

I realized more fully that many people around the world do not share beliefs I accept as given. I think of marriage as based on falling in love; in Muslim and Hindu parts of the world, “love marriages,” are not the norm. A Saudi girl told me “they don’t work” and Indian teens said they’re based on lust. I don’t think of women’s hair as indecent, while some Muslim women are harassed if they don’t wear a headscarf. I’d never known an illiterate person, but some rural Chinese and East African students commented about their illiterate parents and a compelling interview with an illiterate village girl included in Chapter 3. I spoke with a West African who grew up routinely eating only every three days in the dry period of the year, making hunger more than an abstract concept. What SpeakOut young people and I share is a desire to end poverty, protect the environment, and to have peace.

Please respond with your comments and observations on the book website or to gkimball@csuchico.edu. I’m especially interested in your ideas about solutions to global economic, environmental and social problems for a future solutions book. Photos mentioned in the text are found on Facebook and the book website and video interviews are on YouTube.

.

Media Sites

This website lists free videos about girls internationally: http://dayofthegirlsummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/DayoftheGirl-resourceguide.pdf

 

*Films about global youth: http://wp.me/p47Q76-3J

 

*Supplemental information and sites to add your add comments on the book webpage: https://globalyouthbook.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=global%20youth%20speakout

 

*My photos of global youth and their homes: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.348956001796264.91437.160382763986923&type=1

 

*Over 100 video interviews with global youth: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGlobalyouth

 

*Literacy project in NW Pakistan: http://opendoorsliteracyproject.weebly.com.

[i] Agata Lisiak, “The Ballerina and the Blue Bra: Femininity in Recent Revolutionary Iconography,” Pismowidok, February 26, 2015.

http://pismowidok.org/index.php/one/article/view/162/290

[ii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znYyB4cQ1mY

[iii] www.unfpa.org/swp/2004/english/ch9/page8.htm

[iv] http://www.ysriver.com

[v]  https://globalyouthbook.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/top-4-responses-to-global-youth-survey/

https://globalyouthbook.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/social-movement-theories/

https://globalyouthbook.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/global-youth-activism-definitions/

[vi] Emma Broadbent, et al., “Generation Z: Global Citizenship Survey,” Varkey Foundation, January 2017.

https://www.varkeyfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Young%20People%20Report%20%28digital%29%20NEW%20%281%29.pdf

[vii] Geraldine Pratt and Victoria Rosner, eds. The Global and the Intimate: Feminism in Our Time. Columbia University Press, 2012, p. 3.

[viii] Ibid, p. 21.

http://www.youthpolicy.org/research/journals/

http://arcyp.ca/archives/2421

[ix] Anita Harris, ed. Next Wave Cultures: Feminism, Subcultures, Activism. Routledge, 2008, Introduction. p. 190.

[x] Alan France and Steven Roberts, “The Problem of Social Generations: a Critique of the New Emerging Orthodoxy in Youth Studies,” Youth Studies, August 20, 2014, pp. 215-230.

DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2014.94412

[xi] Dan Woodman and Johanna Wyn, “Class, Gender and Generation Matter,” Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 18, No. 10, July 2015.

DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2015.1048206

[xii] Alan France and Steven Roberts, “The Problem of Social Generations: a Critique of the New Emerging Orthodoxy in Youth Studies,” Youth Studies, August 20, 2014, pp. 215-230.

DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2014.94412

[xiii] http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjys20?open=16&repitition=0#vol_16

Following are the topics and date posted online that pertain to young women: how to involve young Canadian women in provincial public police development (August 2012), Peruvian youth activism for sexual health (November 2012), Australian girls’ attitudes towards women leaders (January 2013).

[xiv] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01401971/35/3

[xv] DOI:10.1177/0011392113479748

http://csi.sagepub.com/content/61/4/491.short

[xvi] http://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com/category/essay-dialogues/

[xvii] Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, ed. Adolescent Psychology Around the World. Psychology Press, 2012, p. IX.

[xviii] http://www.uleth.ca/conreg/icys/call-for-papers

[xix] Shamillah Wilson, Anasuya Sengupta, Kristy Evans, eds. Defending Our Dreams: Global Feminist Voices for a New Generation. Zed Books and AWID, 2005.

[xx] Emily Bent, “The Boundaries of Girls’ Political Participation: A Critical Exploration of Girls’ Experiences as Delegates to the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women,” Global Studies of Childhood, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2013, p. 174.

[xxi] Rha Goddess and JLove Calderón. We Got Issues! A Young Woman’s Guide to a Bold, Courageous and Empowered Life. Inner Ocean Publishing, 2006.

[xxii] Meridith Weiss and Edward Aspinall, eds. Student Activism in Asia: Between Protest and Powerlessness. University of Minnesota Press, 2012, p. 1.

[xxiii] Shamillah Wilson, Anasuya Sengupta, Kristy Evans, eds. Defending Our Dreams: Global Feminist Voices for a New Generation. Zed Books and AWID, 2005, p. 205..

[xxiv] Anita Harris, ed. Next Wave Cultures: Feminism, Subcultures, Activism. Routledge, 2008, Introduction.

[xxv] Mary Bucholtz, “Youth and Cultural Practice, “Annual Review of Anthropology, June 14, 2002, p. 539. 31: 525-552, 2002. http://www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/faculty/bucholtz/node/1

[xxvi] John McCarthy and Mayer Zald, “Resource Mobilization and Social Movements: A Partial Theory,” AJS, Vol. 82, No. 6, p. 1212.

[xxvii] Peter Kelly, “An Untimely Future for Youth Studies,” Youth Studies Australia, 2011, Vol. 30, Issue 3, pp. 47-53.

[xxviii] James Côté, “Towards a New Political Economy of Youth,” Journal of Youth Studies, 2013.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257365589_Towards_a_new_political_economy_of_youth

[xxix] Samir Khalaf and Roseanne Saad Khalaf, Arab Youth: Social Mobilization in Times of Risk. Saqi Books, 2011, chapter by Johanna Wyn, p. 45.

[xxx] Douglas Kellner, “Critical Theory and the Crisis of Social Theory,” date unknown.

http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell5.htm

Your Mindful Guide to Academic Success reviews and contents

The expanded second edition (with a red cover) is now available for $10 on various eBook platforms.

Table of Contents  

Chapter 1 How to Achieve Your Goals with Metacognition

Understanding Your Learning Styles

Making Your Brain Work for You

Coping with Learning Disabilities

Identifying Your Personality Types

 

Chapter 2 Study Skills

Reading, Note Taking, Memorizing, Study Groups

Test Taking Skills suggestions by Dr. Stephen Tchudi

Effective Oral Reports

Overcoming Math Anxiety

Time Management vs. Procrastination

 

Chapter 3 How to do Research by Morgan Brynnan, MLIS

Information Literacy

CRAAP – Evaluating Sources

Research Basics

Plagiarism, Ethics and Citation

 

Chapter 4 Coping with Stress

The Physiology and Causes of Stress

How to Cope with Stress

Resilience

Balance the Left and Right Sides of the Body

 

Chapter 5 Understand Mind Power

Research on Mind Over Matter

Positive Self-Talk

How to Clear Emotional Blocks

 

Chapter 6 Emotional Issues that Impact School Success

The Power of the Unconscious Mind

Happiness

Being a Student of Color in a PWI

Self-Esteem

Worry

Anxiety and Depression

Grief

Anger

 

Chapter 7 Physical Vitality

Healthy Food

Prevent Eyestrain

Exercise

Increase Energy

Enough Sleep

 

Chapter 8 Getting into College, Career Planning

Getting Into College

Adjusting to College

Post-College Career Planning

 

Chapter 9 Student Activism and Education Internationally

What Students Want from their Education

The Finnish Model

Student Educational Activism

Youth Activism in the US

 

Biographies of the students who added their experiences to this book.

 

Endnotes

on March 4, 2017
Gayle Kimball is CSU, Chico Department of Sociology professor emerita. In her writing she blends “energy work” (using acupressure, meditation and visualization “to harness the power of the mind”) with a deep passion for reaching students around the world who are trapped in conditions that make it a challenge to succeed.

Challenges may come from without (poverty, social discrimination) but also from within (procrastination, fear, aimlessness), and in her new book Kimball provides hundreds of resources that help students become overcomers, even activists. She also includes “the advice and experience of young people from various countries to discover how they succeed and to provide insight into the global youth culture….”

The book focuses on cultivating good study skills, developing strategies for taking tests and writing essays, “clearing emotional blocks to success,” using the internet to increase educational access, and joining youth movements around the world to “fight for a more just and equitable world.”

Kimball draws on a wealth of information about, for example, learning disabilities, “balancing the left and right sides of the body,” positive self-talk, depression, being a student of color, and more. (The section on how to research is written by former Butte College librarian Morgan Brynnan.)

Kimball advises students to “structure regular time for exercise, socializing, quiet time, and volunteer work that you feel passionate about so you don’t burn out. I’d also like you to think about the influence of sex-role socialization in your choice of major and career objectives. Try to think outside the typical, the normal. In a world that’s increasingly global and unequal, my other hope is that you’ll be an activist in whatever cause is most important to you.”

Copyright Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record. Used by permission.

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on March 22, 2017
This is an excellent read, simple, interesting and informative. It helps shed light on what global youth is interested in and their education on every level and field. Gayle does a wonderful job illustrating what techniques work best and how young people learn most effectively. Whether you are en educator or simply have children and young adults you care about, this book is a valuable resource. Once again Gayle has offered us practical, relevant wisdom condensed in a book. Education is empowering and births positive transformation. Thank you, Gayle!
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this book is useful for international as well as American students in learning how to study efficiently – the author also teaches best ways to use the brain in learning and stress reduction techniques (many of those are unique) – & I liked the many profiles and quotes form students from various countries who are trying to mange school and grades — if you have a junior HS’er thru college age, I think your student can benefit from this book
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on February 7, 2017
Dr. Kimball’s impressive access to such a diverse pool of students – international and national – ensures that the advice provided in this book caters to all kinds of individuals. Whether you’re an ambitious senior looking to navigate the convoluted admissions process or someone just aiming to update conventional studying techniques, these first-hand tips and experiences, as narrated by current students, will prove most insightful to your own academic encounters ahead.
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on March 8, 2017
The book contains detailed analysis from students belonging to countries around the world and has useful insights into the minds of youngsters and how they should deal with contemporary education systems.
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recent US presidents on sexual assault

Under President Bill Clinton, the State Department created the Office of Global Women’s Issues. President Barack Obama said he was what a feminist looked like and created the White House Council on Women and Girls, because, “From sports leagues to pop culture to politics, our society does not sufficiently value women. We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should.”[i] Obama asked parents of young men to teach them respect for women as part of the 2014 campaign “It’s on Us” to prevent campus sexual assaults.[ii] . President Trump can’t say much because many women have accused him of sexual assault, including a list of women who have publically spoken up.[i]

[i] Catherine Pearson, Emma Gray, and Alanna Vagianos, “A Running List of the Women Who’ve Accused Donald Trump of Sexual Assault,” Huffington Post, October 28, 2016.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-running-list-of-all-the-women-whove-accused-donald-trump-of-sexual-assault_us_57ffae1fe4b0162c043a7212

[i] Michael Shear and Elena Schneider, “Obama Unveils Push for Young People to Do More Against Campus Assaults,” New York Times, September 19, 2014.

[ii] http://itsonus.org/#pledge

Catherine Pearson, Emma Gray, and Alanna Vagianos, “A Running List of the Women Who’ve Accused Donald Trump of Sexual Assault,” Huffington Post, October 28, 2016.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-running-list-of-all-the-women-whove-accused-donald-trump-of-sexual-assault_us_57ffae1fe4b0162c043a7212