When we think of those disenfranchised by the corruption of capitalism, war and civil corruption, seldom do we narrow it down to girls, but in recent years it has become understood that one of the most direct ways to raise a population out of poverty and give voice to those who most need representation on the local and world stage, is to educate young women.
October 11th officially marked the first annual Day of the Girl, as designated by the U.N. Plan International, an organization that has been working for over 75 years to reduce child poverty around the globe, as well as girls themselves, helped secure this day for prioritizing the rights of young women. Around the world communities celebrated and spoke earnestly of making change real for young women who are being forced into marriages, denied education and who often deal with violence and abuse that disrupt their chances of living healthy and well rounded lives. The London Eye, the Empire State Building, Niagra Falls and the Pyramids in Eygpt were all lit in bright pink as a gesture to remember and respect the lives of our young women.
10x10, a global action campaign comprised of compassionate journalists seeking to use their skills and connections to make lasting change in the world, spent the eve of International Day of the Girl promoting the cause at the Paley Center in New York City. The event was hosted by Christiane Amanpour, CNN chief international correspondent and host of Amanpour.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Holly Gordon, Executive Director and Executive Producer for 10x10 media to speak with her about her inspiration for this project. For Ms. Gordon, it boiled down to the power of storytelling. Storytelling, she believes, is the most powerful tool there is to share information. That is why on the eve of International Day of the Girl, the Paley Center was filled with stories, stories about women from around the world, their sorrows, their triumphs and how we can support them. Storytelling, Ms. Gordon believes, spurs people to action and is the passion of any great journalist.
Ms. Gordon went on to list a few of the lovely women that were in attendance of the event. Cathie Black, Abigail Disney, Pat Mitchell, Susan Lyne, Holly Peterson, Ann Shoket and Darren Walker were among but a few who gathered to hear inspired stories of those who have catapulted over cultural hurdles to become educated women with freedom to choose their life path.
10x10 has also produced a new feature film, Girl Rising, which acts as the corner stone to their global campaign for girls' rights. You can view a trailer of the film here. Each time the film is shared, a $1 donation is made to the 10x10 Fund for Girls Education.
While much of the discussion about liberating women may focus on cultures where it is inherent to silence the voices of women, even in the west many of our women are kept silent, manipulated by violence, poverty and shame. The minority child living in a ghetto in south Chicago or East Harlem is as disenfranchised as a young girl halfway around the world. We must not forget how close to home this problem hits.
It's for this reason that Holly Pavlika, President of MOMentum Nation, hosted a 12-hour tweet-a-thon on Twitter on October 11th. It was her vision to bring together women from all walks of life to share experiences, wisdom and support for educating our girls. "I spoke to people from all over the world. And it was incredible to see so many coming together on behalf of this important issue," said Ms. Pavlika. However, the most precious moment for Ms. Pavlika, was to see her college age daughter tweeting along side her in cyberspace. After all, what more could any mother want than to see her daughter supporting other young women.
If you would like to read more about the cause, head over to Plan International and learn more about helping our young girls rise up across the world. The site is host to many stories about the day, as well as films and even a new song composed by African musicians about the important impact our young women have on our global community.
Perhaps this will inspire each us to think of our girls for the next 364 days, bringing awareness and support to the other half of our world population.