At this moment, many girls are experiencing trauma in the United States. Worldwide, nearly one in four girls between the ages of fifteen and nineteen are neither employed or receiving the same education or training that boys do. It's estimated that by 2021, approximately four hundred and thirty-five million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 a day, including forty-seven million pushed into poverty as a result of the pandemic.

"When we look at the needs of girls living on less than $1.90 a day, that goes beyond curriculum work at the individual level," Simone Marean, Cofounder and Co-CEO of Girls Leadership, said. "Those are the systems and policies that need to change. We are starting to look at those policies and build schools and community-based organizations, making a difference for girls. Understanding and addressing these barriers is liberating for all girls, including those who are not directly impacted."

In the past couple of years, we've been fortunate to see a new leadership model emerge — young women like Greta Thurenburg, Emma Gonzalez, and Malala Yousafzi have been taking center stage, and none of them wear suits. They each look different and embrace exactly who they are as they stand proudly in front of others on topics they are ready, willing, and able to lead on. "When we, girls, women, and gender non-conforming people, come into our voice and our power, it won't look like the model of power that came before us. It will be entirely our own." Ms. Marean observed.

When asked what advice she'd give to parents who believe in supporting this objective at home, Ms. Marean offered three points:

  1. Prepare her to go into an unfair world where she will face bias, stereotypes, and systems not designed to serve her.
  2. Talk about not just sexism, but also racism.
  3. Stop passing on gender expectations that never served us.

Read the full article about actions for International Day of the Girl by Jennifer "Jay" Palumbo at Forbes.