Today I take a break from books to blog for International Women's Day. As some of you who know me offline know, gender issues are close to my heart in my career aspirations. I'm joining bloggers all over the world in discussing “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” this year.Education is most certainly the key to positive influence over girls as they grow and develop into women. As a culture, we need to teach girls to respect themselves and others. A way to do that, while involving girls, is to encourage them to participate in activities, debates, and/or events that broaden their experiences with other girls and women AS WELL AS men and boys. Girls need to learn that men and boys are an important part of our global community and that they can be partners in gender equality.
What kind of activities or events, you ask? Looking back, the activities that shaped me most into the feminist global citizen that I am involved strong women role models. Girl Scouts, for example, exposed me to a huge variety of things probably never would have done otherwise, or might not have done until I was much older. Now that I am older, I strive to be a role model for the girls and young women I know (Not sure how effective that is...). As for events, take girls to any event imaginable. If it involves international, educational, or just a look at a different part of your culture, girls should be there. Particularly in larger cities there are always things to do: cultural festivals, conventions, museums, fairs, volunteering - you name it.
Exposing girls to all of these different experiences will naturally inspire them to get involved in their world, whether through all-girls activities to boost confidence and knowledge, or just through exploring and learning naturally.
As I mentioned above, Girl Scouts got me involved and educate me (and other women I know) as a global citizen and feminist. For any young women or girls reading this, my best advice for a better future and a positive impact is to find a woman you admire - or, even better, a woman who intrigues you because you don't agree with her. If she is someone you know, spend time with her. If she is someone you don't know, find a way to get to know her, through reading or networking. Learn what makes her tick. Find a lot of women like this. Get involved in your community. Ask questions. Challenge things that you don't understand or that you disagree with. This is how we change the world.