If chants and cheers of “Girl Power!,” “Girls Rule!” and “Women Rock!” are sentiments you’ve left in the past, this post is your excuse to loosen up and let the girl pride fly. It’s also your ticket to heightened global awareness, volunteer opportunities, and potential partnerships with organizations and businesses around the world using social media for social good. And, to a whole new roster of female role models.
This last detail being the perfect way in to inspire your daughter to actively engage with girls in other countries or cultures, for whom the right to go to school, or to hold a job, are not a given—a conversation that I recently told my own daughter “was pending,” after coming down from three days-worth of female perspective on a range of contemporary topics at Social Good Summit 2013 (SGS). (This after doing cartwheels over TIME magazine naming its first female managing editor.)
If you’ve been on Twitter over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed a lot of tweets tagged #2030NOW. This hashtag represents a collective intent to positively impact the world’s prevailing education, economic, environmental, gender, children’s, health and hunger issues by 2030. This is an initiative we can all get behind, regardless of gender… However learning that so many women are part of this massive pursuit, and how they’re going about it, left me with a desire to run up and down the auditorium and high-five every woman with whom I came into contact.
The worldwide event (I attended the Summit in New York City, but others were held across the country and at international locations; live-streaming also was available), is a collaboration between Mashable, United Nations Foundation, 92|Y, Ericsson, United Nations Development Programme and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The mission: to stir conversation and action regarding the ways that new technology and new media can create solutions for those community issues stated above. Nestled within that messaging, is how these digital tools amplify everyone’s (not just high-profile individuals and entities) voice and empower us to, indeed, “Be the change we want to see in the world.”
I wasn’t the only baby boomer left in a state of younger generation-awe after listening to Emma Axelrod and Malala Yousafzia, two young women from very different cultures bound by a common desire to help their peers find and use their voice. This Tuesday (10/8), Yousafzia’s new book, “I am Malala”, hits bookstores, and with all the pending media appearances, this is the perfect opportunity to draw your daughter into meaningful dialogue. Though Axelrod’s story is less difficult to process, it is equally powerful and underscores the notion that one person really can make the difference—especially with the help of digital tools.
Yousafzia and Axelrod certainly got the crowd’s attention, but the entire list of female speakers, and their accomplishments and messages, filled me with an incomparable sense of pride for my gender. Of greater significance though, is the sense of duty it instilled, to ignite this fire within my daughters and nieces, and to show limitless support to the women I encounter in every area of my life. It’s impossible to absorb information about current local, national and global initiatives aimed at improving girls’ lives at every level, or to review women’s history, without feeling indebted. Or, overwhelmed by how much more work there still is to do. As much as it’s never been a better time to be a woman, this still isn’t the case for all of us.
I encourage you to dive into the SGS website, search Twitter using #2030NOW, and read this Forbes Q+A with the Summit’s host organizations, that highlights the event’s raison d’être, because as women connecting here on a blog for women, we all need to educate ourselves on challenges facing women (of all ages) around the world.
You’re also going to want to learn about the women shaking things up in the boardroom and beyond at GirlUp.org, World Food Programme, Upstream International (at Shell), HopeLab, Change.org, Johnson & Johnson, ExxonMobil, Water.org, Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative, Tiossan, The Coca-Cola Company, Caterpillar Inc., World Bank, Unchartered Play, mHealth Alliance, and many other businesses and organizations. Again, their names and the panels that they participated in are listed here.
After you do your homework, I challenge you to successfully suppress that urge to run around high-fiving your female peers with an emphatic, “Women rock!”
While you’re at it, sit down with your daughters and read about International Day of the Girl Child, taking place Friday, October 11. This year’s theme is “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, and among related celebrations is Day of the Girl Summit (now in Day 6 of its 11 Days of Action), which you can follow along via Twitter @DayofGirlSummit and at DayoftheGirlSummit.org.
And for the grand finale of gender appreciation, an oldie but goodie (Jan. 2, 2013) post on 21 Women Leaders for the 21st Century.
Now c’mon: Girl Up!