Who leads the way? girls.
Today is the 10th celebration of International Day of the Girl. Today is a day that was created to celebrate girls, mobilize girls, and bring awareness of the inequities facing girls globally.
The mobilization of girls may seem a strange goal for International Day of the Girl, and many might say today is a day to instead mobilize allies and leaders–but make no mistake the real groundswell and global movement will be owned, informed, and promulgated by girls.
Girls are leading the way in every social movement.
From climate change and resource allocation to gun violence and domestic assault, girls are on the frontlines advocating for their rights–even when the world seems to be pushing against them.
One woman or girl is killed by someone in her own family every 11 minutes.
Globally, more than 1 in every 10 women and girls aged 15-49 were subjected to sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in the previous year. And at the current rate of progress, it may take another 286 years to remove discriminatory laws and close prevailing gaps in legal protections for women and girls. (Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2022)
I don’t expect progress to come from intimate partners, family members, laws, or legal protections. Instead, change will come as the result of progress from the hands, hearts, and minds of girls.
The energy, the unstoppable will, and the chorus of change all come from girls because they know what they need in order to thrive. They lead with their visions for the world and act to change a society stacked against them–bringing real change to millions of girls with big dreams for their own futures.
Girls don’t need to be reminded of the inequities they face – they live it.
Instead, girls can always use reminders about their power.
Progress has only been made when devalued voices gained ground. And no oppressor grants freedom. No tyranny ends because of sudden benevolence. The most affected are the most likely to drive change. That’s why on this day, and every day, we should be lifting up those who are most affected–and coalescing as allies to their ideas, their needs, and their visions of the future. It’s then that we inspire exponential community progress toward equity.