Glitter – Empowering Women in the Barents Region

Mid-July 2019 I was invited to Tromsø, a beautiful city in Northern Norway, to hold a yoga workshop at Barents Youth Councils’ event on Female Empowerment and Gender Equality. A camp dedicated to improving women’s social status and finding solutions to ever existing problems created by gender gaps, education and unequal availability of services.

by Riina Laitinen, originally published at Ivalo Yoga 

 

3 Days of fascinating talks, workshops and connecting with women all over our Barents Region was an eye-opening experience for myself, too.

Meeting people with different backgrounds from different countries – all sharing the same experience of living and working in remote, northern parts of our countries – brought in many emotions and thoughts.

We discovered ourselves through yoga, centered into our feelings and emotions. As a teacher, I always find teaching just as rewarding as the practise. Being able to see and feel the immediate effect on others is something very special, that inspires me to keep going and developing myself. Yoga doesn’t make everyone fall for it immediately – but for some it is love at first sight. And this is partly what makes it so amazing. Same practise, same place, same time – can bring out so many different results, feelings and outcomes.

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View over Tromsø city, surrounded by incredible nature, sea and mountains it is one of the most spectacular cities i’ve visited -holding in such special energy.


Through sharing and workshops we brought our attention to the world around us. How women in the arctic experience their status? What effects the remoteness of our home has on our possibilities of life choices – careers, families, ambitions?

These are all incredibly interesting topics and even more inspiring it is to share and hear different stories from women across the arctic. Where do they get their passion from and how does each individual embody that passion in their daily lives? What obstacles they face and how they get past them? What role communities play in supporting (both women and men) towards their passions?

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The land here is ascetic – and sometimes so is the way of life. Long distances, harsh winters and unequal education compared to southern parts of our countries all affect the future of young people growing up in the Barents Region.


There are as many life paths and choices as there are us humans living on this planet. As many purposes, dreams, desires. Yet finding what sparks the light in your heart isn’t always easy at all – taking years and years of learning and figuring things out.

It takes many life lessons, fall-backs and obstacles, but will be so rewarding once achieved – if ever achieved. I believe this journey will take a life time and once one goal or dream is achieved, another one is often knocking right behind the door to be explored and brought to life.

And that’s what makes life so continuously exciting.

We can all help each other on this journey, give support and love and offer understanding so that finding our purpose would become a little bit easier. This is why events like Barents Youth Council is organising are so important for us youth – and everyone else.

They offer a way for youth to get their voice heard, working directly with governments. A way to discover themselves. A way to feel important. They offer a safe space for participants to be who they are, get inspired and grow as individuals, through a community.

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Meeting so many inspirational women and connecting through sharing, workshops and outdoor activities.

Thank you to Barents Regional Youth Council for having me along!

by Riina Laitinen, originally published at Ivalo Yoga 

 

GLITTER 2019 - VIDEO SUMMARY

Watch our short video summary of Glitter 2019, made by our amazing communication manager Kaisa-Reetta Seppänen!