What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is about influence. It’s organizing and working to align decision-makers to create change. There are many ways to advocate, on many levels — locally, nationally, and even globally.
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Why is Advocacy Important?
Advocacy is the best tool for social, political, and economic change.
Some of our Club advocacy actions have led to meetings with Parliament in Brazil, prominent government officials in India, raising the legal age of marriage in Malawi. Girl Up Clubs have influenced U.S. Foreign Policy in the United States resulting in the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act to protect refugee girls, and the prevention of early and forced marriage as part of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA).
These are examples of political advocacy, but advocacy is broader than politics. Advocacy is actually influencing decision-makers to create any change.
Girl Up leaders around the world advocate by asking those in power to promote policies that positively impact the lives of girls. Girl Up provides ongoing opportunities for girls to create change through social action campaigns and advocacy efforts in their own communities.
Girl Up gives girls the resources and platform to start a movement wherever they are. Our members are creating the change they want to see in the world, starting in their local communities.
Together, our network of girl leaders is a force for global change – organizing and advocating for gender equality.
Girl Up is part of a community of organizations and individuals that have played an important role in advocating for girls’ rights. Together, we celebrate progress and achievements in advancing policies that promote the well-being of girls around the world.
Global Advocacy Impact
Girl leaders have influenced policy around the world, petitioning decision-makers, working with local and national organizations, even hosting their own advocacy bootcamps.
- Girls are leading the way, mobilizing and supporting United Nations campaigns that advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Girl Up has supported UN and NGO programs that trained girl leaders to advocate on a national level, which in turn, helped increase the legal age of marriage for girls in Guatemala from 14 to 18 years and from 15 to 18 years in Malawi.
- In Liberia, Girl Up supported United Nations efforts to ensure the passage and implementation of the Liberian Children’s Law.
- In India, Girl Up has supported UNFPA on the development of a comprehensive State Strategy and Action Plan to prevent child marriage in Rajasthan.
- Girl Up leaders around the world have raised more than $10 million for UN programs that help girls gain access to education, healthcare, avoid child marriage and have a chance at a brighter future.
Girl-Led Policy Change
Since 2010, Girl Up girl leaders advocated for girls’ education and safety globally, have taken action to advance national policies, and have used their platform to build a meaningful movement for gender equality.
- In 2013, advocates across the international girl community, including Girl Up Club members, reached a key milestone when the U.S. Congress enacted foreign policy to help prevent early and forced marriage as part of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA). Girl Up supporters rallied around the issue, coming together to take 17,000 online actions and hold dozens of meetings with their members of Congress.
- In 2015, the Girls Count Act was signed into law by United States President Barack Obama, thanks to more than two years of advocacy by Girl Up leaders.
- In 2019, bolstered by the efforts of girl leaders’ more than 20,000 advocacy actions over two years, the Protecting (Refugee) Girls’ Access to Education bill was signed into law by United States President Trump.
Advocacy for Menstrual Dignity in Brazil
In 2020, groups of Girl Up leaders from 3 regions across Brazil advocated for menstrual dignity and education resulting in:
- State Representative Renan Ferreirinha presented a bill to reduce taxes on sanitary pads in Rio de Janeiro. The bill was approved in 2020 and ultimately increased consumers’ access to the products.
- At the federal level, a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Tabata Amaral proposed the free distribution of sanitary pads in public spaces.
- In São Paulo, a bill introduced by State Representative Marina Helou tackled the issue on several fronts: in addition to free distribution and tax cuts, it also called for initiatives related to menstrual education, for incentives to the production of low-cost sanitary pads, and for the promotion of research.
As of 2021, girls are working to spur the preparation of bills in another 7 states across Brazil with the potential to impact thousands of lives.
Become an Advocate
To get started advocating for change, get educated to understand the problem, learn who the decision-makers are, and how to collaborate on a solution.
Advocacy can look different in different places around the world. Follow our friends on social media to learn how to be a global advocate.
U.S. and Canada
What advocacy looks like in the United States and Canada.Learn more
What advocacy looks like in Mexico.Learn more
What advocacy looks like in Brazil.Learn more
What advocacy looks like in Europe.Learn more
What advocacy looks like in India.Learn more
What advocacy looks like in Africa.Learn more