The First Ever International Day of the Girl & Other Good Stuff for Girls

International Day of the Girl October 11 2012 Egypt Pyramids Pink

Yesterday I had the honour of celebrating the first every International Day of the Girl with hundreds of amazing women and girls at London's Southbank Centre. I was one of a group of around 180 mentors including physicists, authors, fashion designers, airline pilots, radio presenters, Team GB olympians, entrepreneurs, reverends, activists, bloggers and more – a very diverse and interesting group of women! We mentored 11-18 year olds while on the London Eye. Elsewhere in the world, nations showed their solidarity with girls by turning their landmarks pink (including the pyramids in Egypt).

 

Because I am a Girl

The event was related to the Women of the World (WOW) festival which you'll have read me go on about earlier this year. It was driven by charity Plan UK who are campaigning for the education of girls to be a top development priority (you can find out more about Because I am a Girl and sign their petition).

For the occassion, I thought I'd share some other girl-dedicated initiatives:

 

The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect is a MOVEMENT. It's about about ending poverty. And it's about doing so by investing in girls: "The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads and villages and towns and countries"

 

 View more great Girl Effect videos.

 

Afri-Girl

Here's a girl (a woman actually) I know who's on a mission to inspire girls and young women in Kenya that they can pursue their dream careers with confidence. Afri-girl aims to open girls up to the opportunities available to them by sharing the stories of those who have gone for it already.

Watch this space for more.

 

Parting words

I had a few interesting discussions yesterday, about feminism, activism and an observed apathy towards pushing for change. It's been the theme of my week actually. We get frustrated about things and sometimes we ignore the things we wish were different, sometimes we just complain but, why don't we get up and DO? Why don't we act on creating the change we want? I've been reflecting about how I can be more active in the interest of the things that I stand for.

What's been frustrating you lately?

Pyramids photo 

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Related reading:

Don't miss an installment – different ways to get your Afri-love delivered. You can also stay up to date by liking the Afri-love Facebook page or following Afri-love (@afrilove) on Twitter or on Google+.

Dispatches from WOW 2012 (& TGIF!): Emeli Sandé

Emeli Sande

Emeli Sande Our Version of Events

Along with all the talking, there was music! On the Friday, Annie Lennox, Katy B, Jess Mills and Emelie Sandé got together for Equals Live – a night of music that steps up the call for equality. Here's a little bit of Emeli for your Friday afternoon.

Some interesting facts: Emeli was born in Scotland to a Zambian father and English mother. Speaking of passion and having faith to follow yours – Emeli left university just before completing her Medicine degree, in order to pursue her music career. 

 

Photo 

Dispatches from WOW 2012: On fashion and being who we want to be

Maggie-Semple-Folake-Kuye-Huntoon-StylePantry


It's easy to be distracted from the fact that fashion is about creative expression the joy of dressing up. The industry – as represented in glossy magazines and billboards – often intimidates rather than liberates women to be adventurous and have fun with their appearance. 

Fashion for all

Continue reading “Dispatches from WOW 2012: On fashion and being who we want to be”

Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries

I was asked to participate in a WOW Bites session during the Southbank Centre's 2012 Women of the World Festival. Bites are short talks, inspiring ideas, achievements, obsessions, stories, performances, manifestos and more. I thought I'd share the essence of my bite with you.

Women-of-the-World-Digital-Tapestries-Pinterest

 

One of the most satisfying outcomes of spending so much time online is discovering interesting people doing exciting and amazing things. In my time internetting, I have discovered several women, around the world, using the digital space to tell their stories and through this: creating relationships that transcend barriers such as geographical distance and class; building supportive and collaborative networks and communities; and making things happen for themselves, for others and ultimately, for us all.

Continue reading “Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries”

Dispatches from WOW 2012: Highlights from the 2012 Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre

Highlights-from-Women-of-the-World-Festival-2012-Southbank-Centre

I spent this past weekend at the Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre and enjoyed the most satisfying two days I've had all year. I left a little knackered and overwhelmed but also, and more importantly, inspired, rejuvenated, excited, blessed, grateful and generally feeling that I need to be spending more time around lots of women.

When I got home, I spent a couple of hours downloading all of this information to my partner and thought that breaking it down into chunks would be a better approach for the blog. Every day this week, I'll be sharing highlights from my time at the festival. You can look forward to:

  • Some great discoveries: organisations, artists, sites and people that you need to check out
  • Highlights from my WOW Bites presentation, Digital Tapestries
  • Celebrating fashion and why it's not frivolous
  • Female sexuality (from gender violence to being a lady, from racism to reclaiming the magazine stand!)
  • Food, identity and feminism

 

A funny anecdote antidote

One of the best moments I had at WOW was participating in a Funny Women workshop. Imagine a room full of 50 odd women, from different continents and varied backgrounds, probably ranging in age from 10 to 70. Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker, challenged us to drop our inhibitions for one hour, to be whoever we wanted to be and to look at ourselves through the eyes of the women who know us best. It was frightening, liberating and ultimately reaffirming. 

In one exercise, we had to impersonate our mothers, sisters or best friends and talk, in that character, about ourselves. To a complete stranger. It was amazing to find out that pretty much every woman in the room saw these mothers, sisters and friends as being proud of them. Enlightening how stepping outside yourself makes it so much easier to really see yourself. 

The candour and the vulnerability that was shared between this group of strangers shows just how much of a safe space a group of positive women can provide. A platform for you to jump forth, past doubt, fear and imagined barriers, through to making the life you want. As Lori Halford shares in things she learned this weekend, over on the official WOW blog:

"The best way to recover from the hardest times in your life is by finding support from those who truly understand what you’re going through."

 

Many narratives, one anthology

Throughout the weekend, it was interesting to see similar themes popping up at very diverse events. Themes like how our societies allow very narrow spaces in which we are 'allowed' to exist. Themes like the need for more awareness, especially when it comes to the subtle prejudices (to do with gender, race, religion, heritage and so much more) that so many of us (people, including women) can be complicit in propagating. It all reinforces that, as different as our backgrounds, experiences and lives may be, ultimately, we have a huge amount in common. And if that isn't a reason for solidarity … 

Stay tuned for more dispatches this week.

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