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{FOF Woman of The Week} June Steenkamp

2014 April 11

Sitting in a Pretoria, South Africa, courtroom every single day, just feet from the man who murdered her beautiful and smart 29-year-old daughter, Reeva, June Steenkamp is hoping to learn the real circumstances of the death.

“I look at Oscar [Pistorius] the whole time, to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I’m obsessed with looking at him. It’s just instinctive. I can’t explain it,” said 67-year-old June.

She doesn’t have to explain a thing. Any mother understands what is motivating June. Losing a daughter is the most horrific thing that can happen to a woman. “I think he has to see me, the mother, the person who gave birth to her, that he’s taken that away,” June said. “That’s what I want to see, that’s why I want to look in his face and he must look in mine. He must see now that I am there for justice for Reeva, no matter what happened, and the truth, obviously, which we don’t know we’ll ever get. But I hope for that.”

June has seen countless photos of the bloody crime scene and her daughter’s catastrophic head wound. She’s watched Oscar’s hysterical crying and retching. Through it all, one question haunts her, she says. Is he acting? Did he indeed think an intruder was in his bathroom, as he’s repeatedly claimed, or did he know it was Reeva, go into a rage and kill her?

June says Reeva told her she and Oscar were arguing frequently in the weeks before her death, and that she was afraid of being with him. We’ve read e-mail exchanges confirming this. We’ve heard Oscar was a jealous, hot-tempered man and once even berated Reeva for talking to another man for too long. If I were June, I couldn’t help but think he was guilty.

June is a special woman. “I’ve lost everything that’s important to me,” she said, “but, still, I can forgive. I’m being strong for Reeva. I have to be there. It’s hard for me to do it, but I’m representing my child. I’m there for her, as much as it’s hell for me, I know that I have to be there. I’m not a person who wants to punish him. I want my daughter back, but it’s never going to happen.”

Since their daughter’s murder, the Steenkamp’s have moved to a quiet village, where June opened a pub and her husband, Barry, is training horses.

For her fortitude, June Steenkamp is FOF Woman of the Week. We hope she finds the peace she deserves.

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Women Over 50 Taking It To The Extreme

2014 April 9

1. Would you do this for your daughter?


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{FOF Woman of The Week} Sister Judy Vaughan

2014 April 4

The church hasn’t always looked kindly at Sister Judy, a 68-year-old feminist nun, whose activism has ruffled more than a few feathers, and on more than one occasion. But even if the rules of the Catholic Church sometimes restricted her, the Sister’s commitment to God remained true and she recently celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Catholic nun.

Sister Judy’s Catholic upbringing in Los Angeles left her with three career choices when she graduated high school: Become a nurse or a teacher, or join the convent. She chose the third, making her vows months after graduating from St. Mary’s Academy High in the early 60s, at the height of the civil rights marches, antiwar protests, and emerging second wave of feminism.

Sister Judy joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and graduated from Mount St. Mary’s college in 1968 with a major in sociology and a minor in psychology, before she earned her master’s degree in sociology from San Diego State University and doctorate in social ethics from the University of Chicago. Grasping the momentous social and political movements around her, Sister Judy began to challenge the church, declaring that abortion could be a moral choice. After she became the director of House of Ruth, a homeless shelter for women in East L.A., the L.A. Archdiocese was so upset by her defiance it forbid Catholic social workers from referring women to her and House of Ruth.

For the last 18 years, Sister Judy has been running Alexandria House in L.A., a transitional center for homeless women and children, which she considers her most important project.

She continues her work as a nun and as an activist and is raising her adopted daughter, now a teenager. Her commitment to her beliefs and her years of helping women make her the FOF Woman of the Week.

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{Giveaway} A 30-minute horoscope reading and an astrological scarf

15 Habits of Women Over 50

2014 March 20

Count the number of these habits you possess and see what your score says about you, below!

1. Taking sneak peeks at your neck
in the mirror


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{FOF Woman of The Week} Annelie Nordström

2014 March 14

Annelie Nordström, 57, has discovered the answer to Sweden’s gender wage gap—switch genders! Chairwoman of Kommunal, Sweden’s largest municipal workers’ union, Annelie released a powerful video, How to Get a Raise in 47 Seconds, on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Part of a ‘Be A Man’ campaign, it shows a team of makeup artists brilliantly transforming Annelie into a man before our eyes. While the video is a clever public service announcement created to expose the country’s wage disparity, Annelie means business and wants equal pay for women and men, now! Women in Sweden earn about $346,000 less than men over their working lives. Women in the United States earn about 77 percent as much as their male counterparts.

Annelie’s blog says she’s “a nanny by profession,” but started working in human resources and politics, ultimately landing her powerful position at Kommunal. Over 80 percent of its members are women. The ‘Be A Man’ campaign features an app inviting women to submit photos and transform themselves into men, dressed in a variety of outfits from business suits to construction gear. Try it yourself!

Annelie lives in Stockholm and has a son named Jens. For the movement she’s started in her country, and its potential impact around the world, Annelie Nordström is FOF Woman of the Week.

[Read: {FOF Woman of The Week} Helen Mirren]

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{FOF Woman of The Week} Helen Mirren

2014 March 7

FOF names Helen Mirren, 68, the Most Fabulous Woman Over 50!

We started with 64 incredible FOF women, from four categories—acting, singing, writing and the political arena—and asked all of you, over a period of weeks, to vote on your favorites. Helen Mirren and Tina Turner were the last two women standing. Although Tina made it to the end, Helen triumphed with over 75 percent of the final vote. So this week, we’re paying tribute to the Dame and Oscar-winning actress, who’s been blessing the world with her talents for nearly 50 years.

Helen began her acting career as a teenager in school productions and got her big break at age 20, when she was cast as Cleopatra in a production of Antony and Cleopatra at The Old Vic Theater in London. During the last 48 years, she’s brilliantly acted on stage, in the movies and on TV and has won 88 awards and 66 nominations. The only actress ever to play both Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II on screen, she took home awards for both roles.

Besides her acting, Helen is known for her impeccable style and was named one of the 50 best-dressed women over 50 in 2013 by the British newspaper, The Guardian. She’s also one of the models for Marks & Spencer’s Womanism campaign. Known to push style boundaries every now and again, Helen once dyed her hair pink after admiring pink tresses on a cast member of America’s Next Top Model.

Queen Elizabeth II, in 2013, named Helen Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, to recognize the actor’s contributions to the world of performing arts.

Married to American director, Taylor Hackford, since 1997, Helen lived with actor Liam Neeson in the 1980s. She’s never had children and once told an interviewer she doesn’t have “motherly instincts.”

Dame Helen, we all adore you.

[Read: {FOF Woman of The Week} Jan Brewer]

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2014 March 6

1. Your day-old grandchild


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Five Little (But Powerful) Ways To Befriend The Environment

2014 February 27

A cruel winter that still won’t quit has repeatedly reminded us how important it is to become more eco-friendly by making changes in our lives. Here are five simple ways to have a positive impact.

1. Walk, don’t drive

If you can, ditch the car for shorter journeys and walk—or even cycle—instead. In high-traffic areas, you could actually get to your destination faster than in the car, plus you’ll save fuel and reduce the amount of pollutants you put into the air. So take out your waterproof jacket, get on your trainers and leave your car keys behind. If you don’t own a proper all-weather jacket, check out the great range available at Cotton Traders.


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{My Old House}

2014 February 26

“The house where I was raised from the age of 6 was a special place. It was on three acres; it was a large two story stucco. We moved in in 1948 and my mother stayed there until 1988… just a few shy of 50 years. There was nothing really special about the house itself but it had four bedrooms and two baths, one up and one down, which was unusual for that time. What my sisters and I loved were the woods and all the little critters that lived there.

I learned to identify about all the trees of East Tennessee by leaf and bark, learned to identify all the birds by sight and sound.


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{FOF Woman of The Week} Mary Barra

2014 February 7

Appointed CEO of General Motors just a few weeks ago, Mary Barra, 52, was in the news again yesterday, when she was named the Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune magazine.

Not only the first female CEO of any major global automobile maker, Mary was the first woman in her family to go to college. She earned her MBA from Stanford in 1990, and worked her way up the corporate ladder at GM. Prior to her current position, she was in global product development, purchasing and supply, responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM vehicles worldwide. She will use her engineering and business-savvy to cut costs and develop GM’s global presence, especially in China.

Known for her no-nonsense attitude, Mary was responsible for the demise of GM’s 10-page dress code while she managed the GM Human resource department, replacing it with two words: “Dress appropriately.” She credits her parents, who both grew up in the Depression era, for her strong work ethic and belief in the importance of teamwork. Mary says that she has never asked for a promotion or raise. Instead, she worked hard at every position she held and the job offers came in on their own.

Mary is married to Tony Barra, a consultant, with whom she has two children. She should be proud of her accomplishments.

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