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Interview by Grace Schleck


Name: Chloe

City you currently reside in: Sydney, Australia

Ethnicity: Chinese



Chloe’s story stuck with me because when asked who taught her the importance of empowerment––she answered the Internet. This is surprising because when so many young girls see images of other celebrities who are photoshopped, that can affect their image of themselves. Through this Internet, girls see unattainable standards of beauty, but it is also a place where girls can speak to one another and challenge these views together. Honestly, I feel like the internet is a great platform of empowerment––if we look in the right places. And Global Girlhood speaks to this essence itself of empowering women through the Internet.

I also felt connected with Chloe as she is from an Asian household. She explained [that] in China people are more judgmental about what girls wear over there. I have the same experience of being judged for how I choose to dress and express myself as I come from a Desi household. I think what she said about being a woman studying business was really impactful because there is a clear gender gap. She mentions the glass ceiling and how it prevents women from reaching an executive level. I do feel this coming from a business school myself where the running joke is about "finance bros". That term in itself is sexist because it limits the women who are in finance. Her story is a common one [that] many girls experience. And we should be reminded that we’re not the only ones facing such issues.

- Sheik Floradewan

While I wasn’t sitting across the table from Chloe on a cafe balcony in Sydney, Australia, I feel as though I was. Her soulful eyes and the careful articulation of her words suggest my profound wisdom [and] femininity that has been shaped by her unique girlhood.

I remember the first time that I realized “the whole gender thing.” [How] boys and girls were supposed to be different. The word tomboy was spat at me, and suddenly I knew. I remember the first time I felt the need to be beautiful. Kindergarten graduation: a celebration created only for the parents. I wore my painting clothes stained with rainbow paints and felt shame standing next to the carefully braided girls, the bows, and the tutus. I felt the weight of my appearance for the first time, standing in my painting clothes, in kindergarten.

I only wish that Chloe had been there in those moments to give me her advice, “You and your future are not defined by your appearance." You should see, "Rather than let yourself be changed by other people's words –– what you can do to change the future.” That is empowerment. Because at the end of the day, women’s empowerment doesn't begin and end with the shattering of the glass ceiling but instead turning everyday moments into moments of empowerment. Chloe and I have both met the glass ceiling. But rather than let myself be changed by other people’s words–– I am going to take Chloe's advice and see what I can do to change the future.

- Meg Anderson

After hearing this story, I learned a new factor of the culture she was raised in. I learned that in China––it is seen as a taboo to show small amounts of skin. She described how in Australia––it is more socially acceptable for womxn to wear whatever they want. This woman and I are similar in the fact that she was insecure about her appearance when she was a teen. She seems much more confident in her skin as a young adult, while I am still a teenager struggling with acne and insecurities.

I am also interested in business. And [I] am intimidated by the glass ceiling in male-dominated professions. As a woman in business, she needs to have confidence in order to be respected. On a more pessimistic thought, it is unfortunate that women in male-dominated workplaces have to modify their personalities in order to be liked by their male counterparts. They cannot be too controlling, or they will be seen as bossy.

Her story inspires me to stop focusing on small things (such as my appearance) and to see the bigger picture in life. It is more important to focus on my future and success than what boys and other people think of me. Society pressures teen girls to focus on the wrong things. We need to push women to be as successful as they can be and to support other women, not to tear each other down. I will try to practice more self-love and actively work towards building my confidence. Her comfortability [comfort] in her own skin is very inspiring; it gives me hope that I will gain self-assurance with age as she has.

- Ally Godsil


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