I first heard about Girl Up at last year’s DWEN conference in Istanbul. I immediately thought it was a program that would be just as relevant to Australian girls as it was to the hundreds of thousands of American girls already involved. Once I got home, I road-tested the idea on my daughter Sascha. She loved it and went off to tell her friends about it. They also liked the idea and were keen to get started.
The rest of the Australian DWEN delegates supported the idea of incorporating the promotion of the Girl Up program in Australia as part of our Pay It Forward commitment, and so I reached out to the contacts made via DWEN and started talking with Girl Up.
The team at Girl Up were excited about the program being promoted in Australia via the DWEN network, and we quickly realised there were very few barriers to overcome. The website already supported girls and clubs located all over the world so all that was needed were activities to raise awareness of the program in Australia.
Sascha and her friends kindly agreed to go first and officially set up their club in March in time for International Womens’ Day. It was here that I saw for the first time how much I’d underestimated what incredible capabilities our girls have, even at the age of 12.
They planned and organised five activities to run in the week leading up to International Womens’ Day, with a mix of fundraising and awareness. They allocated responsibilities, created task lists, booked speaking slots at assembly to publicise their events to the rest of the school and executed the whole thing seamlessly. The role that the adults took in these events was limited purely to carrying out tasks given to us by the girls.
Sascha’s school has been incredibly supportive of Girl Up, and in return, the teachers have been thrilled with the confidence and organisational capabilities that participation has unleashed in the girls.
We were also thrilled when Jane Scott from Brisbane News contacted me and asked if they could do a story about Girl Up. You can read the lovely article written by Elissa Lawrence by clicking here.
Girl Up is a great way for our girls to develop an awareness of the challenges their peers in other countries face in their everyday lives, while at the same time empowering them to be agents of change. After getting my first taste of what this group of 12-year-olds can achieve, I know they are not going to accept the status quo and will go on to make the world a better place. Unleashing the power of girls globally has the capacity to deliver tremendous results, and I look forward to the future that will result.
If your girls would like to launch their own Girl Up club, the quick, easy to follow instructions are available here.