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As parents, we find often find ourselves in a situation where we have to put our feet down and completely disagree with our teenage wards. It could be due to their late-night habits, rude retorts or simply avoiding daily chores. Have you ever wondered what your teenage daughter would choose if she was presented with the options to stay with you, or be emancipated?

Ariel Winter, an American actress and voice actress, popularly known for her role as Alex Dunphy in the comedy series Modern Family, earned her legal right to emancipation at 17, in 2015. As stories of her emancipation due to a complicated and somewhat strained relationship with her mother swarmed the media, it was sure to give mothers a great cause for concern.

Teenagers had a new weapon, they could threaten to file for emancipation and get away with mischief; Many parents wondered if they were getting it right with their teens; What I’m I doing wrong? I wish she would talk to me and not a stranger; some thought their daughter would choose to be emancipated if presented with that option.

In this article, Lauren Paige Kennedy Journalist and author of Keeping Mum: On Mothers & Mortality, tries to allay the fears of these mums with tips on 10 Things to Say to Your Teenage Daughter Who Wants to Be Emancipated. She writes:

We moms can’t help but recognize the all-but-universal dynamic between freedom-chasing teenagers and harried parents. Generations consistently clash over the obvious and mostly mundane: broken curfews, obnoxious boyfriends, snarky attitudes and that hidden stash of weed beneath the bed.

Still, you know what they say: God made teenagers so mothers would want to cut the apron strings – joke. Here’s how to answer your darling high school senior when she threatens to walk. (Try to restrain yourself from telling her to run.)

  1. You realize you’ll be doing your own laundry now, right? No more Mom to help sort, wash, dry and fold. So there, welcome to running out of clean underwear. Get used to it.

– Make her understand walking away means taking absolute responsibility for her wellbeing and giving up all that she is dependent on you for. Mummy cannot be all that bad, and chances are, she doesn’t have Ariel’s unlimited resources.

  1. Bills are not boys with the full name ‘William’. Guess what sweetie; those totally chic open-toed boots you love? The ones we remortgaged the house for? How ’bout those oversized nerd glasses that come in cherry red? Yeah. Guess what; they cost money. A credit card statement arrives each month. And someone’s got to pay it. That someone is now you.

– Now this may sound a bit exaggerated, Lauren is simply saying, refer her to the bills. Money does not fall from trees, it is earned.

  1. Just because you can write a check does not mean you can write a check. Yes, you do have hundreds of blank checks! No, this is not the same thing as having money in the bank!

– So, she thinks she has an unlimited supply of blank checks, she needs to know the money is drawn from someone income, and those blank checks ae sure cease when she becomes emancipated.

  1. Who will you scream at when I’m not around? Do I really need to elaborate on this one?

– Mum’s may sometimes seem like a neurotic bunch who just love to get on their nerves, but truth be told? They will miss you if they left.

  1. No, you can’t take the car. See No. 4. Ditto.

– They do borrow your car, jewelry and Gucci purse, let them know they can’t do that when they are gone. You are an adult, get yours.

  1. Sorry, I’ve got nothing in my wallet. Your allowance days are over, kid. You’re an emancipated adult now, remember? This means you must do every necessary task for yourself—for free.

– Again, let her know they days of extras from mum’s pocket are over.

  1. Does this mean I can finally turn your room into an office? I hate to say it, but I’ve been eyeing your corner bedroom for years now. The western exposure in the afternoons is to die for!

– Throw that in her face, you have other use for that corner room.

  1. The contents of the refrigerator cannot go with you. Oh! Wait. I take that back. You can have the Frescas.
  2. If you honestly believe managing Forever 21 at the mall is a better career move than going to college, by all means, suit yourself. I know. You’re almost 18. Almost old enough to vote, and certainly old enough to have a say in your own future. Yes, those amazing discounts you’ll soon get on lacy cami rompers and southwestern-style jumpsuits will help your bottom line, for sure. And it’s true, parking is free at the Galleria. I think you might soon grow bored earning minimum wage and eating Cinnabon every day for lunch, but what do I know? I’m only 30 years older than you, and your mother.

– This is very important, direction is the word; remind her who she wants to be, right now, she probably thinks being free of you would make her happy, paint a mental picture and ensure she understands it.

  1. Oh! Wait! You weren’t serious, were you? Sweetheart, don’t go. I only have a year or so of you before you really walk away and toward adulthood. And even when you roll your eyes at me and sigh heavily in my direction, please know this: You’re my favorite teenager in the world. And that’s really saying something because you’re 17 right now.

– Finally, do not forget to remind her, that you love her, and even when you do not agree, she is special and will always be. Let her understand that discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

Lauren passes the message in a rather snacky way, but I bet the message is clear. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” – Helen Keller

What better way to show someone that something is achievable than to point them in the direction of someone who actually did? Not just anyone but someone with a similar background as their own.

Despite the efforts of the women’s movement across the globe women are still largely marginalized in terms of their participation in political, economic and social processes that affect them the most. The 21st-century woman has found her voice yet the percentage of women having a powerful role in different sectors is not reflective of her efforts. She is still not paid enough and there are still sectors she is nervous to approach and this is partly because she has believed that certain goals are not possible to achieve.  At the same time venturing into a certain profession with no real guidance, no known success stories, no knowledge of what is required to succeed and no real motivation is a challenge for many young women. This is where role models such as Michelle Obama come in yet one of the biggest obstacles young women face is their absence.

What is a role model? A sociologist Robert K. Merton was the one who coined the term to describe the ways that people model sets of behaviours they admire in others. A role model is a person whose behaviour, example, or success can be emulated by others, especially younger people.

So why should women have female role models?  Research has led to the conclusion that women benefit more from same-gender role models as compared to men. These are the people whom young women use to define their own identities, gauge their own potential and whose behaviour they will emulate. Let’s explore this idea in greater detail.

Confidence. It often feels intimidating to venture into new territory that no one (you know) has ventured before. It is easier to believe in the possibility of positive change if it happens to someone who had circumstances that are similar to your own. Female role models are important because they instill confidence in young women. Evidence has shown that exposure to female role models may be an effective way to induce more women to major in male-dominated fields. Accomplishments of women such as Barbara Askins – (an American chemist, known for her invention of a method to enhance underexposed photographic negatives, an invention used by NASA and the medical industry) in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) have instilled confidence in young women that they can successfully venture into the same field. A woman needs to see confidence, leadership, and accomplishment in other women in order to envision herself ad finally attain those qualities from these powerful, positive role models (Meier 2018). Jenny Willott; a British Member of Parliament was quoted by the Chartered Management Institute (2014) saying: “Role models encourage women to believe in their own abilities – from girls at school making decisions about their future, to young women starting their careers wondering how far they can get.” Hence female role models are important because they instill confidence in young women in that they quench the need these women have to see people like themselves succeeding in similar fields.

Inspiration through the provision of practical knowledge. “It is achievable. It is not too late for me.” This and similar positive outlooks are born from the inspiration that comes with female role models for young women. Hope is what keeps us alive. It is what drives us and determines our goals, plans subsequently our actions. Female role models such as Oprah Winfrey who rose above major hardships to become very influential are giving young women hope for a better future in different sectors. In the Lockwood and Kunda’s research (2006) demonstrated that an important part of the value of role models is that they are symbols of possibility and offering inspiration. Without female figures such as Serena Williams in the field of sports to look up to, girls miss out on the encouragement, inspiration, and exhilaration that can come from looking up to, and cheering for, a sports idol. (Huggins and Randell 2007) Examples of success stories provide young women with more easily imaginable visions of the success experienced by the role models hence in their minds it becomes attainable and replicable.

Learning from experiences. Female role models also provide the methodology towards success. Their experiences can answer the “How did you get there?” question. Young women can draw a lot of lessons through hearing how their role models came to face challenges and found the right solutions. These are the women who have successfully navigated the career these young women eventually hope to achieve. Looking at role models such as Thai Lee – the Korean American billionaire businesswoman, and president of SHI International, one can learn a lot from her life story and deduce lessons as to how she found herself at the top.

Enforce a positive view of women. Female role models are important in the changing of societal perceptions of women. With the birth of influential female role models, there has been a favourable shift in the societal perception of the role of women, which has led to increased participation in the formal labour employment and other economic activities. Female role models have often been the catalysts that challenge gender stereotypes. For example, through their achievements, elite female athletes dispel the misconception that sport is not biologically or socially appropriate for females. When more and more women are seen in the top of organizations and running high growth technology businesses, the more this will be regarded as the standard and a perfectly normal, and logical, path to choose.

Work beyond inspiring. Michelle Obama kick-started health, education, and other programs as soon as she got into the white house. This is but one of the examples of how female role models have been directly having a positive influence on the fight against poverty, exploitation, and oppression through their advocacy efforts. Nowadays most female role models advocate for opportunities for girls and other women.

Promotion of Ethical Leadership. Recently there has been a focus on the creation of ethical young leaders as part of developmental efforts with special attention being given to efforts in encouraging ethnic leadership in young women. Female role models are commonly expected to behave in an ethically extraordinary manner. It is often assumed that SRMs must be moral exemplars worthy of emulation.

Increased participation of women. Ultimately female role models lead to increased participation of young women. It is argued that ‘The use of high-profile female sports ambassadors and role models can [also] be effective in promoting female participation. More visible women as decision-makers as well as displayed female leadership skills may motivate women and girls, thus increasing female participation at all levels in sport (UN 2007).

Not all role models have a positive influence. Unfortunately, however, the term role model does not always entail positive influence. Young women encounter both positive and negative role models. Success does not necessarily translate into being a role model. Young women are then faced with a task to evaluate virtues, values, and expectations when looking at potential role models. 

The importance of female role models indeed cannot be undervalued. Female role models are important in the context of achieving gender equality and generally in the context of positive social change in society. In the end, there is nothing more powerful than the impact of a woman’s effort to uplift another.

By Karen Whitney Maturure
Harare, Zimbabwe

I recently visited Accra, Ghana in West Africa. I live in Lusaka, Zambia which is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, so I was excited about my first ever visit to West Africa.

Being a foodie, I was excited to taste different foods and experience the different cultures and I was not disappointed.

Zambia being landlocked, did not really take part in the spice trade with the Arabs and Europeans and most tribes were nomadic in nature as they were running away from various wars around Africa and finally settled in Zambia so our local foods do not have many additional spices. Others would argue that our local food is so full of natural flavours that there is no need to add spices to the food. So, with that in mind, my palate was a bit taken aback by the generous amounts of pepe (chilli) in every meal that I ate. I literally had to have a bottle of water next to me at mealtimes.

First night in Accra, we were hosted by Sierra Leone Chef Binta who specializes in Nubian Fulani cuisine and is known for her ‘dine on a mat’ food experience.  What I love most about African cuisine are the stories that go with each dish and how our ancestors came up with the different recipes and decided what is edible and what isn’t.  The Fulani tribe in west Africa are nomads so of course, each dish had lots of stories to keep us entertained throughout the dinner. As an African, experiencing a different African culture, it was interesting to see how we are so similar in our cultures but yet so different. 

Our first course was Kuti (which is fried cassava balls) with a chilli powder. For our main dish, we had Maffe Tigga (which is lamb cooked in peanut sauce with rice, sweet potatoes, okra and garden eggs). In Zambia, garden eggs are a large part of our local cuisine and referred to as Impwa. We usually serve it mixed with other green leafy vegetables with nshima (which is like fufu, banku or kenke but made from pounded maize meal or cassava) and a protein dish to complete the meal.   For dessert, we had millet in sour milk. What amazes me is the fact that most ingredients used in the meal we ate are all readily available in Zambia, but we would never cook up recipes like that in our local cuisine.

Our host, Chef Binta, told us the stories surrounding the food we ate, and how according to Fulani tradition, you can only eat with your right hand.  For the main dish, all the food is dished out into one big plate and everyone eats together.  You have to eat the food with your right hand while holding the plate with your left hand. As with most African traditions, elders get to eat most of the meat and it is very bad manners to leave unfinished food on the plate. Everything must be eaten.  I am glad our host didn’t take offense when we didn’t finish the food, as we were all still shocked with the generous portions of Jollof rice we had been served at lunch at a popular restaurant in Accra.

After such a delicious meal, I will be sure to go out and buy ingredients to share these exciting new west African recipes with my friends back in Lusaka. My favourite food on this trip has definitely been fried plantain – something else that I will introduce to my Zambian friends. After a lot of research on the fried plantain, I discovered that it is a favourite dish in most parts of the world like north and south America, the Caribbean and parts of Europe. Great to know that African cuisine has made its way across the world. In Zambia, our climate is similar to West Africa but the plantain doesn’t grow as big. Let’s see how we could make some Zambian fusion cuisine with West African influences.

I got to try out Ghanaian jollof rice, fufu, okra soup, banku and a local drink that became my favourite – bissa or sobolo (made from hibiscus and ginger). It is really tasty and nutritious and will definitely make its way onto the African Sunsets Restaurant menu.

With all the wonderful west African food I got to try, I was glad I also got to showcase some Zambian cuisine at the indigenous TV show launch.  Indigenous is a TV show about African cuisine and the effects of westernization and climate change which begins to air in Ghana. It’s made interesting by the interactions with the different chefs from across Africa and the recipes they share.

On the Zambian food menu, we had:

Vinkubala- (which is our local caterpillars sometimes referred to as Mopani worms in other Southern African countries). This is a Zambian delicacy, and can be eaten as a snack or served with nshima and vegetables.

Chikanda – which tastes and looks like meat and is affectionately referred to as African polony. It is made from the chikanda plant, which is a tuber which is washed and dried and pounded into powder form. It is then cooked together with pounded groundnuts and is on the fire until it is hard. It is left to cool and cut up into pieces to be served as a snack. It is perfect for vegetarians who still want to feel like they are eating meat. I still wonder what on earth our ancestors were doing when they discovered chikanda mixed with groundnuts made a delicious snack!

I also served Lumanda in peanut sauce or visashi as we call it in our local language.  Lumanda is actually a weed that grows wild in most parts of Zambia and can be cooked in vegetable oil or peanut sauce.  Most of the west African dishes can easily be made in any part of Africa as ingredients are so readily available across the continent.  I think we need more of these cultural and food exchanges within different African countries just to showcase how diverse and at the same time similar, we actually are. If we are ever going to get our indigenous food out into the world and recognized as potential five-star cuisine, we need to band together to market our food and culture.

My trip to Accra was fun, delicious and exciting.  I met some wonderful people and the ocean air was just what this girl from a landlocked country needed. Learning about the history of the Ghanaians and seeing how entrepreneurial they are even in their packaging and exporting of black soap and shea butter, gave me inspiration on how we all as Africans need to export our local food and culture around the world.

 

By Abigail Mbuzi
Mastercook Zambia

 

 

 

“Too many people spend money they have not earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like”.  This wise saying by Will Rogers kept resounding in my subconscious as I walked towards the grade 1 class of Deepens Elementary school to teach the pupils on this very important but neglected topic “Financial Management”. 

It is not wrong to say that one of the challenges people face nowadays is the inability to secure resources for pressing future demands and needs, and the source of this problem can be traced to improper financial management. In a society where being in debt has become a norm and an unavoidable means for survival, the importance of educating the upcoming generation about financial management cannot be overemphasized. Children who have learnt how to navigate the world of debt and credit will grow into adults who have more money for savings, which can help them pay for large expenses without relying on credit, and they can set aside money for retirement accounts.

Most times Parents find it easier and more comfortable to talk to their little kids about Time Management, keeping the right company, Table etiquettes and so on but they often don’t see the need to talk about financial management. Since the kids are young and do not earn a living, they consider talking about Financial Management as a topic for when they are grown into adulthood – but adulthood creeps in fast; because they tend to forget that financial management is not a skill that is built overnight, but a habit that is cultivated through constant practice.  

As parents, one of the great ways to lay the foundation of a strong financial background for your kids is starting right on time to teach them about financial management.  Kids can only become money smart when they have the right coaching.  Since Money has become one of the vital yet scarce resources on earth, a smart parent must make effort to produce money smart kids who can keep them rest assured that this scarce resource will be used optimally. Here are some tips:

Give them an allowance. In order to teach your kids financial management, you should be willing to give them an allowance.  You might decide to give money every week to the youngest children, at two-week intervals for preteens and monthly for teenagers. Gradually spreading out the timing will help your children understand the need to manage their spending. Since they know they have to spread a small number of resources around their countless wants; they will have to learn how to prioritize their wants and sieve out the needs from the countless list of wants. Giving allowance to your child gives her a chance to control her own money; also remind her that she would not receive any other cash until the next allowance date.

Make use of Piggy Banks. A piggy bank is a money box where people save money for a certain period of time until they are ready for use. Introducing your kids to a piggy bank is another easy way to teach them financial management. Piggy banks can help your children imbibe a habit of saving money for bigger projects. You can help your kids increase the money in their piggy banks by insisting they save something out of every money they get as gifts or allowance.

Children love to be rewarded for their good works, while building in your kids a lifestyle of proper financial management, tell them that although the goal is to fill up the piggy bank with dollars and coins, until there is no room, but the main intention is to use the money to purchase the gift they have long desired. 

Teach them to earn a little extra. Another great way to raise money-smart kids is by teaching your children how to earn a little extra.  This goes a long way to prove to kids that money is not just plucked on trees but it is earned through timely smart work. You probably expect your kids to clean their room, help with the dishes and do other daily chores but consider offering them a financial reward for going the extra mile to take on other jobs that go beyond their normal routine.

Getting paid for extra work will help instill good habits and give children more control over saving and spending since they realize how hard they had to work for the money. This will also help them build the habit of going the extra mile when assigned a task since they know each extra mile attracts a cash reward.

Help them understand the true value of money. In order to raise money-smart kids, you must help your children understand that the impact and the true value of money is recognized when it is used to help others. A great way to raise money-smart kids is by letting kids know that the money they get is not just for them alone but that is also needed to help other lives. This will motivate them to save more since a part of their money will also be used to assist the less privileged children around them.

You raise money-smart kids when you help your children earmark part of their allowance to donations for the less privilege.

Mirror a Proper Financial Management Lifestyle. Children see their parents as their first models if you do not showcase the right financial management skills; your children will definitely follow suit. If kids see you spending wisely, they’ll be more likely to follow your example. As a parent, when you stick to a budget during shopping it becomes easier to train your teenager to stick to a budget while spending her allowance.

While educating your child on financial management, you must not forget that children learn by example. Have your own jar of money that you put funds in regularly and let your kids know that you practice what you preach, this means you must save also. Reiterate the message that every time you get paid, you save a portion of your check to help prepare for the future. Let your kids know that you have priorities which you save for and that this includes their education. They should know about why and how you are saving for their college education. 

As parents, you should be willing to let your children know when you have a financial crisis. This is not to frighten them or to be used as an excuse to deny them of their basic needs, but it should show a sought of financial openness to your children. Let them know that money does have a constant flow always. You must help your kids realize that most times “mum does not get all her needs met as planned”.  Let them understand that there are days you squeeze through scarce resources in order to meet vital needs in the home.  This will teach them how to use their little resources to meet their endless needs and also how to forgo some wants for other needs to be met.

In Conclusion, teaching kids to save money will not be an easy task; of course, it demands discipline not just from the child but also from you as a parent but the benefit and comfort enjoyed from exhibiting proper financial management skills are limitless. In this modern society, it is not difficult to see adults who are poor money managers who find it difficult and stressful to make vital financial decisions. This often happens because they did not learn at the right time, how to be proper financial managers. Some parents try to avoid money conversations with their kids; this is very wrong. Parents need to realize that money conversations from childhood help children grow into adults that have a healthy relationship with money and therefore face little or no financial crisis.

By
Eloke-Young Splendor

 

 

The next United States Congress will have at least 123 women in the House and Senate, including two Muslim-American women, two Native American women and two 29-year-olds. Ten more women could still win in midterm races that remain too close to call.

Starting in 2019, women will make up nearly a quarter of the 435-member House of Representatives – a record high. Currently, there are 84 women in the House.

The female newcomers’ women will make waves in government – and not just because women legislators often bring greater attention to wage gaps, family leave policy, sexual harassment, child abuse and other critical issues that disproportionately affect women.

As scholars who study political leadership, we believe more women will be also good for Congress for a more fundamental reason: They may just get a broken system working again.

Women try to collaborate.

Washington has been ferociously polarized since the 2016 presidential election, but Republicans and Democrats across the nation have been moving further apart ideologically since the 1990s.

There used to be overlap between the views of Democrats and Republicans, at least on some issues. Now, there is almost none. Ninety-two percent of Republicans now sit to the right of the median Democrat, while 94 percent of Democrats sit to the left of the median Republican, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center reports.

In Congress, the two parties thwart each other’s legislation and demonize their political opponents as unpatriotic or untruthful.

Americans now see the conflicts between Democrats and Republicans as more extreme than those dividing urban and rural residents or black and white people, Pew surveys show.

The 123 women elected to both houses of Congress – 103 Democrats and 20 Republicans – have the potential to work across the partisan divide.

Numerous studies on gender and problem-solving show that women are often bridge builders, collaborating to find the solutions to tricky problems. Research confirms these findings. In one 2017 study on leadership styles, we found that women are more likely to use inclusive “both/and” thinking, meaning they see conflict and tensions as opportunities for input rather than problems.

Men are more likely to adopt “either/or” thinking – attitudes that advance their own agendas and denigrate those of the other side.

Women build bridges

Women have played this role in Congress before.

When the federal government shut down for 16 days in 2013 over a budget impasse, for example, it was a group of five female senators – three Republicans and two Democrats – who broke the stalemate. Together, they launched a bipartisan effort and negotiated a deal to end the budget showdown.

“The women are taking over,” joked the late Arizona Sen. John McCain.

These days, it seems, McCain’s commentary is less of a joke than a political need.

Numerous studies on teamwork show that groups with women in them function better, in part because women are more likely than men to build social connections that enable conflict resolution.

In other words, female workers in organizations become friends, mentors and helpful colleagues, which builds the trust necessary for solving problems.

Women are not the only people who work like this. In large organizations, minorities tend to seek each other out and form support networks that span hierarchy, job description and even political divides.

Men can build bridges too, of course. Gender does not dictate personality or decision-making style.

McCain, for example, was known for his bipartisan legislative efforts.

But research and history show that women leaders collaborate more often – and better.

A human rights system based on consensus

Eleanor Roosevelt, an outspoken human rights advocate and wife of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, offers a classic example of such behavior.

She led the United Nations working group that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after World War II. That landmark 1948 document recognized, for the first time in history, that all people on the planet are guaranteed certain rights, regardless of religion, race or political creed.

The declaration, which was approved by 48 of the 58 countries then in the United Nations, launched the contemporary human rights movement that overcame dictatorship in Latin America, isolated apartheid-era South Africa, enshrined the rights of LGBTQ people worldwide and, today, works to protect refugees and asylum-seekers.

These lasting achievements did not come about because Roosevelt strong-armed other countries.

Instead, the American first lady famously worked to keep her UN colleagues focused on the urgency of devising and passing the declaration, despite criticism, doubt, cultural difference, ego trips and distractions.

After the agreement, Roosevelt insisted that her leadership subcommittee elect a new chair to show the world what effective democratic process looks like.

Women craft better deals.

Women typically adopt more democratic leadership styles, seeking out more participation from everyone in a group. The evidence shows that solutions crafted that way are longer-lasting.

The Council on Foreign Relations has found, for example, that peace talks with women at the negotiating table were more likely to reach an agreement – and that the deals passed were more likely to endure over time.

That kind of inclusive deal-making could change the House of Representatives.

Congress often swings wildly on major policy issues as political winds change, with the new majority party shredding the partisan advances of a previous administration.

Collaborative, bipartisan legislation allows for more durable progress on issues like health care, immigration and the economy – all sure to be a focus for the next Congress.

California Republican Young Kim won in a very tight race against Democratic philanthropist Gil Cisneros. AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Women in a polarized government.

But Congress may not work any better with 123 women than it does with the 84 who serve there now.

Lawmakers are elected to represent their constituents’ interests. And with American society so extremely polarized, a two-party system discourages collaboration.

Many of the newly elected women in Congress additionally came to power on strong, oppositional platforms – promises to fight fiercely against the problems they see in American society.

If Congress’s newest members really want to make an impact – passing laws that aren’t undone after the next election – they will have to do more than push their own agendas. They can work together.

Given what research shows about female leadership, more women could push Washington in that direction.

Authors:
Wendy K. Smith
Professor of Business and Leadership, University of Delaware

Terry Babcock-Lumish
Visiting Scholar in Public Policy, University of Delaware

Chamonix is a vibrant, edgy town known as both a world-class ski resort and a mountaineering destination. Situated in the Haute-Savoie region of eastern France, Chamonix is bordered by Switzerland and Italy and dominated by the incredible Aiguilles de Chamonix mountain chain which peaks at the top of Mont Blanc (4810m).

With these vast, jagged mountains towering over the town, the scenery is arguably the most spectacular in the French Alps. The snow-capped peaks soar into the bright blue sky, ancient glaciers sweep down towards the valley floor and waterfalls cascade through pine-covered hillsides. Old rustic farmhouses and barns can be found in the Alpine meadows, whilst new luxury chalets stake claim to the best locations on the valley floor. Take in the views from Chamonix itself or ride the cable car up to the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak at 3842 metres. Pretty mountain huts only accessible by foot are hidden along the mountain trails providing welcome refreshment stops for hikers and often offer the best views around. The natural beauty of this valley is the main draw for those who love the outdoors whether you be a skier, a mountaineer, a hiker or a sightseer. There is a real international feel to the place, not just from tourists, but from individuals and families who have decided to settle here from all over the world. Come and find out why!

Skiing in Chamonix

Chamonix is most famous as a ski destination. It has five separate ski areas spread above the 20km of valley floor that provide terrain for skiers of all levels, from beginner to advanced. The skiing is often talked about as ‘challenging’, this is because 70% of the pistes are classified as red or black as they tend to be long and steep descents.

However, each of the ski areas has nursery slopes and blue pistes that will keep beginners happy for their week’s holiday. The high altitude of the skiing (most pistes are over 2000m) means that snow is assured through to the end of April. In addition, there is an incredible amount of off-piste and ski touring terrain that draws experienced skiers and snowboarders from all around the world.

Sights & Attractions in Chamonix

The main attraction that brings tourists to this picturesque town is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe at 4810m.

Visitors either come to reach the summit themselves, view it from the station at the top of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (3842m) which also enjoys spectacular views of the Mont Blanc range, or take it in from the valley floor. At the top of the Aiguille du Midi, you’ll find “Step into the Void”, one of Chamonix’s most recently added attractions. You literally step into a glass-sided box with views of Mont Blanc to your left and a 1000 metre drop under your feet.

Another hugely popular place to visit is the Mer de Glace glacier (the “Sea of ice”) which is accessed by the Montenvers train. From the top, you can descend to an ice cave excavated into the glacier via a cable car and a series of walkways and steps. Markers along the rock walls on the descent show you just how much the glacier has retreated in recent years.

You can also take the Tramway du Mont Blanc from Les Houches down into the neighbouring town of St Gervais and back again up to the Nid d’Aigle (2372m). Many mountaineers use this as the start of their access to routes up Mont Blanc but it’s even more popular with hikers and sightseers in the summer months.

Events in Chamonix

Chamonix hosts a wide range of sporting events throughout the year. The biggest ones include the Freeride World Tour in January where you can see pro skiers and snowboarders making extreme tracks down the mountain, the various Mont Blanc Marathons in June, the World Climbing Festival in July and the UTMB trail running race in August.

It’s not all about sport though, Chamonix also has a strong music tradition. The lively Fete de la Music takes place on 21st June every year where dancing in the streets until the small hours is standard – even if it rains. The Cosmo Jazz Festival at the end of sunny July has venues in different mountain locations as well as the town centre (all concerts are free) and Black Crow’s ski and music event, Chamonix Unlimited, takes place in March.

Things to Do in Chamonix

Many visitors come to Chamonix simply to admire the scenery. Nevertheless, a big draw is to take part in one of the many adventure sports that are available, or even one of the many sports endurance races/events organized each year. The resort is open and busy all year round, including the lifts, which makes Chamonix a fairly unique destination in the French Alps. Apart from the big draw of alpine sports, the area has a number of more leisurely pursuits, including forested trails, adventure playgrounds for kids, shopping & markets, and a number of spa facilities where you can enjoy a well-earned rest at the end of an activity-packed day. There’s so much to do here you’ll have to read our guide, as a summary introduction just can’t cover it!

Restaurants in Chamonix

Chamonix is a town inhabited by and visited by a large international community and its cuisine reflects that. As well as the much-loved fondue, raclette and traditional French restaurants, you’ll also find Indian, Scandinavian, Chinese and fusion cuisine on offer. There are plenty of restaurants in Chamonix, most on the valley floor, but also a good selection at altitude which you can access by the ski or summer lifts. Many of these mountain restaurants offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Nightlife in Chamonix

The Chamonix valley offers visitors a range of nightlife from live bands, boisterous après ski parties and nightclubs to more sedate jazz nights, the occasional music festival and film nights. In the centre of Chamonix, you’ll find the broadest selection of things to do, with each of the villages along the length of the valley offering their own unique selection of nightlife.

Where to Stay in Chamonix

There is a vast selection of accommodation, covering all budgets from hostels to luxury chalets. There are very few ski-in and ski-out properties because of the low altitude of the valley in comparison to the high-altitude skiing but you can find some in Les Houches, Chamonix and Le Tour. Many hotels and apartment rentals have a flexible approach to holiday bookings so you don’t need to be tied to a traditional Saturday to Saturday, seven-day holiday.

Chamonix is more than just a ski resort, it’s the beating heart of the valley. This is the place to stay if you are looking for the biggest selection of accommodation, shops, restaurants and nightlife. There are two lift stations in the town, the Aiguille du Midi cable car (for views and the off-piste ski route La Vallee Blanche) and the Brevent gondola (for sunny skiing suitable for all abilities).

Argentiere & Les Praz

The smaller, more traditionally Alpine villages of Les Praz and Argentiere lie further up the valley. Les Praz is served by the Flegere cable car, taking you to a beautiful ski area suitable for all abilities. It’s also where you will find the golf course. Argentiere is a lovely village with a good selection of accommodation, bars and restaurants and is right next to the Grands Montets ski area. This is where to come if you want challenging skiing as it’s renowned for its steepness and long descents. It’s also north facing, and so holds on to the best snow all the way through to May.

Les Houches

Les Houches is a larger village just below Chamonix with its own ski area. It’s a pretty town and the ski area is a favourite with families thanks to its mix of pistes and kid’s play areas. Chalet holidays are popular here, with many companies offering minibus services so you can also explore the rest of Chamonix’s skiing area.

Servoz, Les Bossons, Les Tines and Montroc are quieter hamlets, dotted along the valley, where you will need to take a bus/train or drive to the slopes.

Where is Chamonix?

Chamonix is situated in the French Alps, at the foot of the Mont Blanc. The resort is nestled up against the border of Italy and Switzerland, giving access to three countries (sometimes within the same day!).

It takes a little over an hour to get here from the nearest airport at Geneva, making it a popular destination for quick weekends away and short trips. Its location and accessibility to neighbouring countries make it a great destination for people touring through Europe in summer as well as to ski the varied terrain in winter. A 15-minute drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel will take you to Italy, and the Swiss border is a 30-minute drive if you continue on up the valley.

So, if you are planning a trip this holiday, you should consider Chamonix.