The official theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) this year is Inspiring Change, a theme that Ladies America fully embraces all year, every year. Through articles, networking events, seminars, and so much more, we strive to inspire women to reach for the best in their lives.
We also love to inspire change by partnering with others and supporting their work. One such organization we love to highlight is Girl Rising, a global movement using the power of storytelling to convey the critical importance of girls’ education. In 2013, the world became familiar with Malala Yousafzai, who defied the Taliban to continue her education and was shot in the head for it. Her miraculous recovery and subsequent willingness to speak about her experience left us in awe.
But there are so many other young women around the world also facing daunting challenges to pursuing their educations. Girl Up’s springboard is their 2013 feature film of the same name, a beautiful documentary that tells the stories of nine girls from nine different countries and the struggles they overcame to get their education. They include Suma, who was forced into bonded labor at age 6 and is now in school in Nepal, and Asmera, who defied her family’s attempt to arrange her marriage and is now in university in Ethiopia. Each of the nine girls featured was paired with a writer who got to know her and her story, and who then turned it into a narrative for the film. The trailer is a beautiful introduction to these stories.
So how can you celebrate IWD and these remarkable girls? Throughout the month of March – not just today – the Girl Rising team encourages us to think creatively about our celebration, whether by organizing a poetry reading or volunteering to mentor. By registering to host local celebratory events or organizing screenings of Girl Rising (whether for a home viewing party, or for your local screen-on-the-green —yes, warmer weather is coming!), we can spread awareness, start important conversations in our communities, and share the remarkable stories featured in the film. The process of inspiring change starts with us!