Swagger IS:

It is looking inside to find your own true voice and gifts and sharing them in pursuit of a better life and a better world.


What swagger is NOT:

It is not arrogance or power over or dominating or being better.

Healing Power of Nature: Women’s Wilderness Institute

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  “The wilderness is healing and forgiving, if you’ve been hurt or feel awful or just need to BE; it always welcomes you. I feel safer in the wilderness than in a parking lot – there are snakes and spiders around the parking lot, too. If you let yourself get out in nature, there is incredible potential to heal old and new wounds and discover how amazing and strong you are.”                                Shari Leach, Executive Director, Women’s Wilderness Institute   [.....]

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Swagger on a Mountain Bike

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Been thinking about getting out on your bike? Next up in our series on Girls and Women who Swagger in the Outdoors and Sports is Willa Williford, mountain bike racer. Willa tells us why she loves to mountain bike and gives us some advice on how to get started. Willa’s day job is Housing Division Director for Boulder County in Colorado. She has a three month old son, and a dog named Kona. She is 34, and began riding and [.....]

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Help for Sibling Abuse

Nancy Kilgore

An estimated 40 million people in the United States have a secret – they have been abused by a sibling. Nancy Kilgore is one of those people. In order to recover from her trauma and help others who have experience something similar, Nancy established her organization Hope4Siblings. She has written a book and speaks nationally on the topic and through her work hopes to raise awareness of this largely un-discussed form of abuse. Nancy explains that “Many are silent about [.....]

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Swagger: what is it and why do you need it?


Over the past five years, more than 500 women have responded to the Swagger Survey and have told us about their swagger – what it looks like and why they want it. One respondent said” What does swagger look like? When I’m helping someone else – it looks like sunlight radiating from within me.” Another said “I would like to cultivate a feeling of swagger generally so that I have high comfort in my own skin everyday no matter what [.....]

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Unconscious Sexism at the Movies

movie Bull Durham

I love movies from the 80s. If I think of a movie I love, it was usually made then. One of my favorites is Body Heat, the sexy film noir made in 1981, starring Kathleen Turner and William Hurt.   Also on my list is Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) with Madonna and Rosanna Arquette, who are seeking each other and The Big Easy (1987); another sexy crime thriller set in New Orleans. If there was a theme – it was sexy [.....]

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In swagger at work, we offer an approach to resolve the barriers to self-confidence that women face at work and to offer a third way – different than exhibiting only traditional feminine values or trying to copy men’s values. Through stories of women who swagger and exhibit healthy self-esteem, Swagger at work demonstrates ways to build confidence and invites women to tell their own stories of empowerment.

At work, it’s knowing my stuff cold, a confidence that I can blend with compassion. I certainly don’t spend a lot of time playing getting warmer. I am known for being direct, which I like.


Swagger in sports showcases women who are strong in body and mind. Not necessarily stronger than someone else, just strong in their own body. Having self confidence, loving your body and growing your self esteem by being active, healthy, doing sports, spending time and being confident in the outdoors, and even competing are all ways that we as women learn to swagger in sports.

I didn’t care about marriage and children – because of my childhood. I was fulfilled in career and athletics. I’ve turned emotional trauma into strength – I’ve traveled; I’ve been successful.

Teresa Rider, Age Group World Champion Triathlete

Spirituality and faith are important aspects of who we are as women. Having the self confidence to express ourselves, learning about who we are and what we believe in are all aspects of what make us unique and whole. We’ll share with you how other women have developed their swagger in their spirituality and we hope you will share your stories with us.

I admit that the Bible does not specifically mention Aretha Franklin. But when it comes to thinking about God, most people’s minds are full of all those familiar images and they just get stuck…So why not Aretha? She’s big, she’s bold and you’re going to have to listen to what she’s saying.”

Column by Terry Mattingly

swagger in schoolSwagger in school is having the courage and confidence to learn what you want to learn in school and becoming what you want to become. Having the self confidence to find your own way and not letting society or others dictate your path to success. Swagger is trying many different things throughout your journey, being strong in your opinions and open to new ideas.

When asked where she got her swagger, author Joan Borysenko said “For me, it was do or die. My first job was teaching medical students. I had to prevent them from falling asleep. I developed my swagger in a situation of challenge.”

Swagger isn’t about power over others in relationships, it’s about knowing who you are, being strong enough and confident enough in yourself so that you can share yourself and your gifts with others without losing yourself. It’s having the self esteem and self confidence to know that you don’t always have to be right or win in every situation, it’s being strong for others and knowing how to nurture yourself at the same time.

A lot of my friends have swagger – that pushing the edge quality, thinking and living outside the box.


There are many fabulous women who swagger on the world stage. These are strong and confident women who have worked hard to compete in what is often a male-dominated environment. They have defined themselves, their opinions are valued and they have forged their own path to be a part of the world stage. In them, you will see a strong sense of self, confidence in their ideas and actions, and a unique approach to showcasing their high feminine confidence.

What are the risks of swagger? The risks are always visible in our society. Any woman with the least amount of swagger is doomed. Like any Hollywood star, they will build her up, so they can tear her down. Think Hillary Clinton. Katie Couric, Angelina Jolie, Condi Rice. Doesn’t much matter the profession.