Inspirational Woman Interview: Tilde Holm

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Tilde Holm is an 18-year old Swedish girl, currently studying social sciences with a specialization in international relations. As a hobby activist and spare time writer she wants to make a change, and believes that using her words on the internet is a good way to do so. Tilde is the director of the PR Team for Nordic Study Abroad Conference, Co-Founder of Let’s Talk Equality and a blogger for Girls’ Globe. Her biggest passion is gender equality and women’s rights, and her goal is to work with global matters to be able to make a change for women and girls.

What is your background?

Tilde Holm: I am currently in my senior year of high school in Sweden, where I study Social Sciences and International relations. Education is one of the most important things to me, which is why I am currently working as the Director of Public Relations for Nordic Study Abroad Conference. My aim is to pursue a bachelor’s degree abroad, within International Relations, Sociology or Gender studies. I’ve been involved in several different social sciences-related organizations, and last year I joined Girls’ Globe, where I get to write about my deepest passion – Gender Equality. Since then, I’ve participated in Women Deliver in Copenhagen, and UN General Assembly week in New York.

You are also currently in the progress of producing a documentary on maternal health in Indonesia, entitled Project Let’s Talk Equality. What is your vision for the project, and what is your expected process?

Tilde Holm: I’ve always cared a lot about women’s’ rights, but I wasn’t quite aware of the current maternal health situation before I joined Girls’ Globe.

However, as I learned more about the midwife crisis, I realized that something had to be done. In our senior year, my friend Anna and I were supposed to start an entrepreneurial project, and decided to do something for the sake of mothers worldwide. With Project Let’s Talk Equality, we want to shed light on grassroots movements that are doing incredible things for mothers and families, and inspire others to do the same thing. We are planning on visiting White Ribbon Alliance in Indonesia to document their important work, and just launched a crowdfunding campaign to gather the money needed for the documentary.

Why did you specifically choose to focus on maternal health in Jakarta? What are the biggest drivers of high maternal mortality in Jakarta?

Tilde Holm: Although there is a midwife crisis in a lot of countries, we decided to focus on Indonesia. Not everyone have access to birth control and family planning, especially not in the rural cities. Only 73% of the births are attended by skilled personnel. We were fascinated by the fact that everyone working for White Ribbon Alliance Indonesia are volunteers, they dedicate their lived to this because they believe in what they are doing. Together they work with families in what they call the Alert Villages, where in 2003 two women per hour died in child labor. We wanted to highlight their important work.

Can you discuss the state of maternal health in Sweden?

Tilde Holm: Although Sweden is generally considered one of the best countries for maternal health, we are right now facing a midwife crisis. Our welfare system generally equals good health care, but a current lack in skilled personnel and available rooms has caused increasingly poor conditions within health care the last couple of years. In order to regain our great and well-deserved reputation as being one of the best countries for mothers, we need improve the situation for midwives, and educate more people within this area.

Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?

Tilde Holm: My grandmother! She passed a couple of years ago, but she was the most kick-ass woman I’ve ever met. No matter how ill she was, she would get up and do everything she would do on a regular day. I’m still waiting for the day I’ll meet a man as tough as my grandmother.

On a personal level, why does women’s empowerment matter to you?

Tilde Holm: Oh, there is so much I could say about this. I’ve always been ambitious and confident, traits that aren’t always appreciated when you’re a woman. To me it’s insane that I might end up doing the same job as a man and yet get paid less. I am sick of being restricted by gender norms and sexism, and hope that the next generation won’t have to grow up feeling like they should act in certain ways just because of their gender. My biggest hope right now is that we can reduce sexism in media, which I think causes a lot of the other problems we have related to the gender gap. There are a lot of things we have to do, but I definitely feel that we are making progress!

What advice do you have for those interested in social entrepreneurship and international development?

Tilde Holm: Find your passion and go for it! Things are a lot easier if you love what you are doing. Believe in yourself, and look to the possibilities instead of the boundaries. And also, find other people that are interested in the same things as you- together it’s easier to make great things happen.

What are your favorite books, films, websites and resources related to international development, women’s empowerment and social justice?

Tilde Holm: Of course, Girls’ Globe is a wonderful website for everything that concerns gender equality. But I also love reading about different theories within international relations. I am currently reading Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson, a very interesting book on nationalism and why it exists, another issue I am very interested in. Really, I’ll read anything on international matters that comes my way!

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