They walked into the United Nations with a sense of confidence and excitement. They were asked to help welcome attendees to the Girls Speak Out at the United Nations. All three girls, ranging in age from 12 to 16, felt empowered to help the Girls Speak Out shine a light on the global, girl’s point of view.
Julia, the Girl Advocate from Working Group on Girls, and moderator of the Girls Speak Out, welcomed these three girls and made them feel truly welcome.
The girls could tell it was a big deal. And it was. For the first time, the United Nations allowed 500 youth to attend, moderate and WELCOME guests. It was an honor for these girls to have been invited to help and they couldn’t wait.
When they entered the ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations, their emotions intensified. Humility replaced confidence. Awe replaced excitement. They met the panel of amazing girls who would tell their stories of activism. And in the back of their minds, they started to wonder, “how do I fit in here when these girls are doing such important and amazing things.”
They began greeting the United Nations dignitaries, guests and girls who were excited to attend this ground-breaking event, with friendliness and poise. They passed out the Social Media cards and helped people find the bathroom. And then, when the door opening was delayed for another 15 minutes, they started joking and chatting with the girls in line. They learned about the many different ways that the girls waiting in the hallway were helping advocate for girls’ rights. From the Girl Scouts to groups like Girls Learn International, American Association of University Women, Brave Girls Alliance or even like their own community, iTwixie, they recognized that this group represented a huge and diverse amount of work that was being done around the world, all in support of Girls’ Rights. And they began to feel like they did, indeed, fit in. They felt welcome. And they felt united with everyone that day — in that ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations, in the hallway waiting to go in, and later in Times Square — because everyone shared a single goal: Girls’ Rights. The message, while simple, was powerful: no matter how a girl’s rights get challenged, girls can advocate for girls and change the world.
Once all guests were allowed in the ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations, they found a seat to listen to the heart-felt presentations. The words each girl spoke about her need to act and how her action changed her world, again, inspired gratitude and humility. They saw how passionate the girls from the Girls Speak Out were, as the stories spurred the audience to stand up and give 4 standing ovations. Each girl told a story that sparked a realization that each girl has purpose; a voice. They congratulated the girls on the panel for bringing their stories, so impactfully, to the rest of the world and they wished that the day wouldn’t end.
“We need the Day of the Girl because girls really can do anything, if the world wouldn’t be so afraid to let them just do it,” said Julia.
“Girls can do anything boys can do, that’s why we need Day of the Girl,” said Abby.
“When girls get an education and can pursue their dreams, their city, state and country are better off. That’s why we need the Day of the Girl. Every leader needs to know this so that our communities can do a better job of helping all girls succeed. It’s good for communities to invest in girls,” said Madeline.
They said that the 2013 International Day of the Girl changed them and that they each have things they want to speak out about in their community to help make their world better for girls.
How did the 2013 International Day of the Girl change you? Tell us right here and keep the inspiration going!