As published on LinkedIn Influencers on October 11th, 2017.
It is estimated that right now on earth, there are approximately 1.1 billion girls. Yes. You read that right. 1.1 BILLION girls aged 0-18. They are not only tomorrow’s leaders, scientists, explorers, artists, and innovators, but today’s as well, and their collective power is limitless. Girl Power is not just a catchphrase or a sound bite. It is real, and its impact will be felt around the world. Today, as we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, let’s take a moment to reflect on the power of 1.1 billion girls, and how we can equip this next generation with the tools needed to reach their full potential.
The International Day of the Girl Child was first observed on October 11th, 2012, and has since become an annual day of celebration, activism, and awareness, with thousands of events planned all over the world. This year’s theme is “EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict”, and will focus on the stories of adolescent girls around the world facing innumerable challenges as a result of humanitarian crises and the ways they are overcoming these obstacles. It promises to be an incredibly inspiring day, so I encourage you to visit www.dayofthegirl.org to find an event in your area. Also, if you are interested in the issues facing girls and how to address them visit by BEST REPORTS on women and girls. There are over 25 of the best studies listed.
As for myself, I will be spending the day planning for the upcoming SUREFIRE Girls Conference here in my home state of Utah. On November 11th, girls aged 15-18 will gather together for a very special one-day event created just for them. This event model is the creation of SUREFIRE’s Founder, Heather Mason. Heather runs an event production company that produces large-scale events around the world, including the SKOLL World Forum. She started SUREFIRE because she believes, as I do, that attending amazing gatherings and meeting amazing people at a young age has the potential to be a game-changer. Our Utah girls have the option of being paired up with mentors from Utah’s Wonder Women community, of which I am a proud member and CoFounder. It is unprecedented investment in intergenerational women’s leadership.
Additionally, this conference will play host to an incredible special guest – Sonita Alizadeh. I first met Sonita in 2016 when I had the opportunity to meet her following the premiere of the documentary film about her life, Sonita, at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary. Sonita first gained attention in 2014 with the publication of her music video “Brides for Sale”, and she has since gone on to become a world renowned activist on the issue of ending child marriage and the selling of young girls to men often twice their age. In 2017, the Asia Society recognized Sonita as one of their recipients of their Game Changer Awards, and now we are honored to have her at the SUREFIRE Girls Conference. Overall, this event promises to be an incredible opportunity for Utah’s girls, so if you know of a girl aged 15-18 who would like to attend, please click HERE for more information.
However, statistically speaking, most of you reading this do not know a teenage girl living in Utah, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support International Day of the Girl Child. While there are so many incredible organizations out there working to advance young girls around the world, I would like to single out three, listed below, that are worthy of your support, whether that support is through your time, talent, and/or treasure. And finally, to the 1.1 billion girls out there who are ready to change the world for the better, know that we are here for you and we will work to make this world a more fair and just place for you until you are ready to take over. Happy International Day of the Girl Child everyone; girls and boys, men and women the world over.
Girls are powerful. When they’re educated, healthy, and safe, they transform their communities. When girls stand up for girls in need, they empower each other and transform our world. As the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, Girl Up engages girls to take action. Led by a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates raising awareness and funds, their efforts help the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.
The Lower Eastside Girls Club connects girls and young women to healthy and successful futures. Their state-of-the-art center offers a safe haven with programs in the arts, sciences, leadership, entrepreneurship, and wellness for middle and high school girls.
Adolescence is a challenging time for girls. Self-confidence and physical activity levels drop while at the same time peer relationships become more complicated. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. Their mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.
Do you have a favorite organizations that serves girls? Feel free to share it below.