09/23/2013 12:37 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2013

Let Girls Lead

According to the UN, there are 600 million adolescent girls around the world who live in poverty, are unable to complete school or see a doctor when they need one, and are victims of violence and exploitation. But they don't have to be.

Girls can become powerful leaders for social change, and the time has come for us all to hear and share their compelling stories.

Recognizing the power of girls' collective voices to ignite change, Let Girls Lead is launching the Global Girls' Conversation during Mashable's 2013 Social Good Summit in New York City. The Global Girls' Conversation is an interactive media platform and video contest for girls around the world to share their inspiring stories of leadership in their own voices. These 1-2 minute videos -- recorded on cell phones, cameras and computers -- will capture how girls are transforming their own lives and the world, in ways big and small.

We are thrilled to partner with The Huffington Post to share girls' voices, achievements, and dreams with a global audience. Starting today, HuffPost will highlight one video from the Global Girls' Conversation each week, sharing the power and diversity of girls' leadership with all of us -- encouraging us to not only recognize the challenges facing girls, but also their tremendous power to create change.

Since the Let Girls Lead website went live five days ago, we have already received more than 30 videos from girls in the US, Africa and Latin America. These videos demonstrate girls' strength, success, and power to create change. Many of these girls have overcome tremendous obstacles and inspire us with their passion and commitment to helping other girls in their communities and around the world.

Take, for example, this 1-minute video submitted by Gladis Gomez, a 15-year-old indigenous girl from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. By involving religious leaders, teachers and other community leaders, Gladis and her friends led a community dialogue on the needs and rights of children and youth. And when elected officials didn't take the girls seriously, Gladis created a radio program so other young people could learn about their rights and join the community campaign. In her video, Gladis says, "It's very important for me to be a leader in my community so that elected officials can take into account my vote and my opinions."

Through the Global Girls' Conversation, girls will inspire one another (and the rest of us!) with their own compelling stories of social change. The contest, which runs until December 31, 2013, welcomes girls, their allies and girl-focused organizations to submit videos. A panel of filmmakers, global experts and girl leaders will select the best video submitted and award $10,000 in funding, training and equipment so that the winner can create her own short film.
To amplify girls' voices and build global commitment to investing in girls, Let Girls Lead is partnering with influential institutions and media outlets around the world, including The Public Health Institute, Women Deliver, The Huffington Post, Girl Rising, 10x10, The Documentary Group, Girl Up, The UN Foundation, Every Mother Counts, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Latino Broadcasting and others.