Blog written by: Elyssa Campodonico-Barr
As fall creeps around the corner, Girls Inc. Indy invites you to join us in celebrating the 2018 International Day of the Girl on October 11. What is International Day of the Girl, you ask? The Day of the Girl is a United Nations effort to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face today. Girls all over the globe and in every corner of the Greater Indy area have the right to be healthy, educated, and independent. We should challenge ourselves not only to provide for girls’ basic necessities, but also to give them an opportunity to thrive in our communities. Girls have the power to change the world. We must empower them to do so.
A brief anecdote: Last Saturday during Girls Inc. Day at Corteva Agriscience, we had a fabulously fun hands-on day learning about botany, DNA, and bugs and grubs with 87 of our girls. After extracting DNA from a strawberry, I was approached by one of our girls. “Ms. Elyssa,” she said, “I want to be a neuroscientist, an artist, and I want to own a business.” She was expecting shock and awe followed by a “you can’t do that.” Instead, she was faced with a smile, a high-five and the exact opposite response: “That’s awesome! You can do all of those things—we just have to figure out a plan.” My response was without hesitancy. Girls have the power to change the world. We must empower them to do so.
The 2018 theme of International Day of the Girl is With Her: A Skilled GirlForce. I think it is an incredibly powerful theme, one that is relevant and timely for our Indianapolis community. As we continue to grow, rising to the top of many nationally recognized lists to attract companies, dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest,” and home to some of the best educational institutions in the nation, we must include a diverse, capable workforce in the equation. Girls are part of that equation. We must acknowledge that an investment in the power of girls promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of tomorrow.
Today’s generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people around the world, most of them female, are currently neither employed or in education or training. The leadership and workforce numbers (especially in STEM) are staggering:
- Only 1 out of 4 CEOs in the U.S is a woman
- Women comprise only 20% of the 115th U.S Congress
- Women are underrepresented in STEM postsecondary programs, as well as high-paying STEM career fields, earning fewer than one-fifth of computer science and engineering degrees (18% and 19%, respectively).
I am literally shaking my head. Every time I read those numbers, smh.
Then, I smile.
Why? Because we have so much opportunity to bridge the gap. Because I know Girls Inc. is strategically investing to empower the girls of our city, readying them to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Not just in October but all year round, Girls Inc. advocates for the rights and opportunities of all girls. The numbers speak for themselves:
- 92% of Girls Inc. girls feel they can use what they know to solve “real-life” problems in their communities.
- While only 48% of girls in the United States have high body esteem, a majority (77%) of Girls Inc. girls are confident with their bodies.
- 92% of Girls Inc. girls (ages 9-18) find science or math interesting and 80% believe they could handle harder science or math.
Girls Inc. Indy is inspiring girls to be financially independent, explore non-traditional careers, and to be confident in their own skin. Our Young Women in Leadership (YWIL) program is shaping the next leaders of our city, our state, and beyond. To date, 100% of YWIL girls eligible to graduate do so, create a personal development plan with short and long-term goals, and are enrolled in a four-year college with scholarship funding. We are making a difference with your support.
So, how can you help?
- Give a gift in honor of International Day of the Girl.
- Our programs could not exist without the support of generous financial donors. Your support goes a long way for our girls.
- Use your voice and share your story on social media.
- If you’re not a current Girls Inc. Indy volunteer or time has passed since you last volunteered with us, now is the time for you to join us! Complete your volunteer application today.
Equality begins with us working as a collective to make a change. Together, Indianapolis, we can make a difference for our girls and our community as a whole. Happy International Day of the Girl!
Thank you for your support.
#girlsbillofrights #IDG2018 #GirlsInc