Every October 11, Girl Up leaders and partners around the world celebrate International Day of the Girl to address the challenges girls face – including access to education, nutrition, medical care, protection from discrimination, gender-based violence, and more – and to promote youth empowerment. From social posts to virtual events and local acts of service, Girl Up’s global movement of Club members used their platforms to mobilize their peers, organize for change, and take action for gender equality. We’ve rounded up a few highlights of the inspiring activations from girl leaders across the globe.
Girl Up Youth Leaders Take Over Social Media
From October 7-8, Girl Up leaders did social media takeovers from the accounts of high-profile gender equality advocates as part of the #EqualEverywhere spotlight with the UN Foundation. The girls were able to highlight their vision for the future, and how we can get there. Among those handing off their social media accounts were high profile gender champions, from the fields of philanthropy, politics, sports, entertainment, business, and more.
- Southeast Asia Regional Leader Isabella Veronica Silalahi posted a series of informational videos about her work with Girl Up on the UN Foundation’s President & CEO, Elizabeth Cousen’s, Twitter. Isabella leaves some final words of advice for fellow youth leaders, “Practice your activism not just in spaces where you feel comfortable, but where you know you can make an impact. Do not get frustrated and give up because the road to antiracism and equality is a lifelong journey. Have hope and take action.” Find the full Twitter thread here.
Shared on Elizabeth’s Twitter, Isabella discusses why she decided to start Girl Up Indonesia.
- Delicia Maria Mwanyika, Tanzania Coalition Leader, teamed up with Janet Mbugua, a period poverty activist, gender equality advocate, and Kenyan media personality, to take over her Instagram account of 1.2m followers. Along with US-based global girl advocate Uma, they hosted an Instagram Live where they discussed the importance of girl-lead activism and gender equality. Here is a snippet of the IG Live with Delicia. “What we are doing right now is trying to mobilize – which is what the Generation Equality Forum is all about – not only people, but young girls and bringing them up as leaders for them to just take over the scene and create change within Tanzania. And to just use their resources, whether it be education or I’m leaning more towards empowerment and education for the young girl, so they can just take a stance and create change. Because as you said, what we are leaning towards, under the Generation Equality Forum, is women are no longer afraid to express themselves,” said Delicia. Watch the full IG Live here.
- Valeria Colunga, the founding president of Girl Up Monterrey, worked with Former President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa to discuss her work on the Common Agenda on Espinosa’s social platforms.
- Angela Jiao, Club Leader of Girl Up Science Kits in California, collaborated with Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard and Global Co-Chair of the 30% Club, to post about girls in STEM on Ann’s Twitter. Find the full Twitter thread here.
Angela shared this fun science activity for Ann’s Twitter followers.
- Upstate NYC Coalition Leader Martine Dosa took over @crocs’s Instagram for the day, sharing her thoughts on gender equality via their stories.
- Teen Advisor Rocío Mejía partnered up with Michelle Milford Morse, the UN Foundation’s Vice President for Girls and Women Strategy to take over her Twitter account. Michelle also interviewed Rocío about her personal activist journey. During the interview, Rocío discussed how, “Women are definitely the future, and if we‘re not investing in our future by letting women have leadership positions, go to school, and have the opportunity to dream, then we’re doomed. We need to change the way the world is built right now, but how are we going to change it if we just keep having the same perspective?” Read the full interview here.
Michelle in conversation with Rocío about her life as a youth leader.
UNA-USA Commemorates Indigenous People’s Day and International Day of the Girl
In recognition of both Indigenous People’s Day and International Day of the Girl, UNA-USA held a live virtual event as part of their Global Engagement Online Series which amplified the voices of indigenous women and girls doing incredible work in their communities. Moderated by 2021-2022 UNA-USA Youth Observer to the UN Cynthia Yu, the event featured multiple speakers, including a Girl Up Teen Advisor, who shared their personal stories.
- Mirian Masaquiza, a Social Affairs Officer for the United Nations’ Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch-Secretariat of Indigenous Forum, has worked as an indigenous activist, a staff member of the United Nations, and a diplomat and advisor for the Government of Ecuador.
- Amelia Marcum, a 2021-2022 Girl Up Teen Advisor who was also honored to represent Indian Country at the 2020 inaugural Youth UN General Assembly on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
- Xavi Wagner, an 8-year-old Old Style Jingle Dancer of the Blackfeet, Blood, Ute Mountain Ute, and Navajo tribes.
- Sikimiohkitop Wagner, a 6-year-old Old Style Chicken Dancer of the Blackfeet, Blood, Ute Mountain Ute, and Navajo tribes.
With the struggles indigenous women face outlined throughout the discussion, Mirian gives a few action items allies can take in their future activism efforts to support these communities.
“I would like to turn to you and say that yes, we continue to need your solidarity and support because our struggle is long and difficult. Non-governmental organizations and academia students can do a lot of things. You can for example include concerns of indigenous women in your advocacy work and your projects – in other words, mainstream women in your work. You can invite indigenous women in your conferences to have the benefit of their direct participation,” said Mirian.
To hear more from our Teen Advisor Amelia, watch the full event here.
International Day of the Girl Summit 2021
For this year’s International Day of the Girl Summit, girl activists and advocates joined a virtual roundtable for an unscripted and authentic dialogue between girl leaders and policy makers. The discussion revolved around this year’s IDG campaign, ‘Digital Generation Our Generation,’ to highlight the importance of ensuring that women and girls do not get left behind as the digital revolution rises.
During the event, Girl Up members, like 2021-2022 Girl Up Teen Advisor Akshaya Pai, and other youth activists were able to ask candid questions to policymakers about how to make resources in this digital-dependent world more accessible for women and girls around the world.
A candid screenshot from the ‘Digital Generation Our Generation’ dialogue.
For instance, when moderator of the event, Kimy, asked Pamela Mallinga, the Head of Impact of non-profit organization Girl Effect, the question, “What are your takes regarding these issues of digital literacy,” Pamela replied with precision and depth.
“When it comes to the digital divide and how this impacts adolescent girls what’s most important is we start from a very tangible place of understanding and insight from adolescent girls directly. For Girl Effect this means data. This is where our Girls and Global 2.0 Research comes into play as a key solution in gathering insights directly from adolescent girls in order to feed into the solutions and policies being built for them, and addressing the gender data gap in this conversation about gender digital divide.”
The girls were also posed questions by leaders and policymakers to share their insight as young girls experiencing the effects of this digital literacy gap, and how to make change.
“So from my experiences, many girls in rural areas are not even aware that there is a gap in digital literacy and access to technology. Girls with the resources and the awareness that this issue exists can take the lead and helping disconnected girls become aware of their rights that they’re missing out on, and understand who they can connect with,” said Vonesha, a Summit participant.
Watch the full discussion to learn what Akshaya had to say here.
Google’s Body of Knowledge Event
Google’s International Day of the Girl campaign, ‘Body of Knowledge,’ highlighted medical experts and young women fighting for girls’ health, and the well-being to empower girls with the knowledge needed to make decisions over their bodies.
In a TikTok video, Selin Ozunaldim, a Club Leader of Girl Up Turkey, spoke on what consent is, “Saying yes or no is giving yourself autonomy over your body. It doesn’t make you a prude in any way. You don’t owe your partner anything. Consent means saying beyond just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ It is communication.”
Bethel Kyeza, a Girl Up Leader and Coalition Leader of London, England, shared a fun acronym, “FRIES,” to help viewers remember the key elements of consent in her video.
“So, what does FRIES actually stand for? FRIES stands for: Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific. This is a fun, easy, and clear way to help you remember what consent is and help you stay safe,” said Bethel.
You can watch all of the campaign’s videos on YouTube using ‘#bodyofknowledge’ to learn more about consent, self-care, mental health, menstrual health, sexual health and more.
WOW Young Women Leaders’ Directory
Girl Up teamed up with WOW for their Convening of Young Leaders sessions on International Day of the Girl. The sessions were focused on strengthening activism and giving opportunities to young leaders to hear from each other and be able to talk about their own leadership journeys. Mofiyin Onanuga, a Girl Up Teen Advisor and London Coalition Leader, and Joanne Lee, a Regional Girl Up Leader, were chosen to participate in the event, networking and strategizing with future women leaders through the sessions.
All of the young leaders who participated were girls and non-binary youth leaders working to change the world across issues like social justice, LGBTIQAI+ rights, climate action, education activism, disability rights, and gender equality. While the event was private, learn more about all of the participants by checking out WOW’s Young Women Leaders’ Directory here!
Girl Up Clubs Activate
Finally, our Girl Up clubs showed the importance of building awareness of girls’ issues and doing local acts of service within their communities through their many activations this day. Here are what a few of our clubs from around the world were up to!
Girl Up Houston: As part of their annual International Day of the Girl tradition, the members of Girl Up Houston took to social media to share some of their favorite women role models. From their own mothers to British tennis player Emma Raducanu to current Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, the girls spotlighted important women who were, and continue to be critical to the movement for gender equality.
Girl Up Brasil: In celebration of International Day of the Girl, the members of Girl Up Brasil put together an advocacy bootcamp so that girls could learn how to mobilize people and put pressure on public authorities leading relevant agendas.
Girl Up Karu-Abuja: In tandem with the 2021 International Day of the Girl Summit, the members of Girl Up Karu-Abuja in Nigeria shared the importance of increasing access to digital awareness with their followers!
Girl Up Latin América: The members of Girl Up Latin America celebrated Day of the Girl with their #HeroínasGirlUp Campaign, where they highlighted one Girl Up leader every day from Oct 11-21 with a custom portrait.
Want a little more inspo? Check out our 2021 #GirlHero Awards where our Girl Leaders share their personal stories and discuss gender equality issues with celebrity activists like Laverne Cox and Abby Wambach. Watch it here!
While International Day of the Girl 2021 might be over, Girl Up Club members are activating for equality every day of the year. Click here to start your own Club and join the movement!