How to Support Girls in Your Community
Refinery29 interviewed former first lady Michelle Obama about the Obama Foundation’s focus on girls’ education throughout the world. She summarizes their mission thusly: “I want every girl on the planet to have the same kind of opportunities that I’ve had, and that my daughters are having, to fulfill their potential and pursue their dreams.” Mrs. Obama interviews four young women from different parts of the world about their background, their dreams, and how they viewed their own education experience. It’s a striking look at how access to education and opportunity is often a function of where you’re born. But it’s hopeful, and we encourage you to give it a read:
It got us thinking about what we, individually, can do to help make sure girls thrive in our own communities. So we brainstormed a list:
Advocate for girls’ programs in your community
Is there a program, club, or organization that would benefit girls in your community? Advocate for it. Start a Girls on the Run council. Start a fundraiser for a girls-centric club at your school. Community-oriented efforts tend to have an outsized impact.
Volunteer to be a mentor
Are you (or do you know) a successful member of your community that happens to be a woman? Great! There are many programs that match girls who need positive role models with people just like you. [Big Brothers Big Sisters is one. Your local Girls Club chapter is another.
Do the little things
Is there a high school girl in your extended family? Take her out to lunch and ask her how she’s doing. Do you have friends with a preteen girl? Offer to take her on your next volunteer outing. Equal access isn’t always about having the same number of programs as the boys have. Sometimes it’s about just reinforcing the notion that girls are awesome, that they bring unique viewpoints, and that they’re valued. See it as your civic duty. The satisfaction you’ll feel is just a happy byproduct.