As an executive board member of TCNJ’s curricular and co-curricular Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) Program, the Girls Speak Out Session at United Nations on the second annual International Day of the Girl was eye-opening.
It was amazing to hear girls from all over the world, as young as 13 and no older than 17, talk about how they are changing their communities. There were girls working on issues such as improving girls’ education, eliminating early marriages, advocating for undocumented youth, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and so much more.
Girls ran the Girls Speak Out, introducing the speakers and the girl activists, ensuring that the day focused on girls. And in addition to the girl advocates and activists, there were members from the United Nations taking part too – responding to the girls, saying how they could use their positions to help the girls further their projects and help them reach beyond change in their local communities.
As a WILL student, someone who is actively trying to better the world (or, at the moment, the TCNJ campus) for girls and women, this experience made me hopeful that our work does have an impact. The girls’ work is encouraging, and it renewed my passion for my work with WILL, as I am now more excited than ever for all of our upcoming events this year.
The Girls Speak Out was a wonderful experience, and I was humbled to be in the same room with such powerful, driven, poised girls.
By: Erin Shannon, The College of New Jersey, WILL Program