It's time to Girl Up.
It was a perfect summer day in D.C. The sky was blue, the humidity was low and the sun was shining as I made my way to the 5th annual Girl Up Leadership Summit. I went in knowing only that this was an organization committed to helping girls on a global scale and came out knowing that this is an organization I want to help grow. It seems fitting to share Girl Up with you today because today is the International Day of the Girl (#IDG2016). Girl Up, "the United Nations Foundation's adolescent girl campaign, engages girls to stand up for girls, empowering each other and changing our world. Led by a global community of passionate advocates changing policies and raising funds to support United Nations programs," their "efforts help the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl." Places like Guatemala, Ethiopia and Liberia. Put another way, Girl Up is a passionate global group for girls, by girls, with a vision of building a generation of girl leaders around the world; of connecting people, ideas and resources to help girls grow -- from getting an education to having a platform to share their powerful voices.
Why is educating and empowering girls on a global scale so important? Because girls grow into women. And, as the newly rebranded SheRunsIt (formerly AWNY/Advertising Women of New York) states in their mission statement:
- Women are proven leaders.
- Today, women run companies. Communities. Countries.
- They are growth-oriented leaders and focus on steady, sustainable growth.
- They're good for business. Companies with more women as leaders are also more financially successful.
In fact, according to Kathy Calvin, the President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, who keynoted the Girl Up event on that lovely July day, we will leave $28 TRILLION on the table if we don't invest in girls. And here are some sobering statistics:
- Today, there are over 50 million children worldwide with no birth certificates, the majority of them, girls.
- Today, there are 62 million girls who want to be in school but aren't. 17 million of them will never even start.
- Today, 15 million girls under 18 are forced into marriage each year; that equates to 40,000 a day!
Closer to home, the statistics are more hopeful. In the U.S.,
- Women hold 60% of college degrees - and half of the legal and medical degrees.
- Women represent 52% of the professional workforce.
But it's not all rosy. Women in the U.S hold only 14% of executive office/C-Suite jobs and only 4% are CEOs.
So, today, there is a lot of work to be done. Today, we have an opportunity to make a difference. So that more girls have birth certificates, can get an education, and marry on their own terms - things we often take for granted.
As the folks at Girl Up summed it up so well at the Summit, when you invest in a girl, you invest in a community and you invest in the world.
So how can you help? You can start by doing what you do so well as a member of the House Party community. Spread the word. Use your voice for good. Tell your friends and family about Girl Up.Check out their site. See what they're doing on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Get informed and then, if you're like me, it will be hard not to get involved.
This post is written by fellow House Party colleague and avid blogger, Kerry Lyons. When not juggling the many responsibilities of being our SVP of Sales & Marketing, Kerry enjoys time with her wonderful family and blogging at with Huffington Post. So, be sure to check out more about Kerry!