Why Girls?

It is so great to be able to participate in communities that are taking hold of their legacies and shaping them. It is a gift to be inspired by the positivity of what is good and bright about America that is being championed by colleagues, friends, and co-workers, who want to create a positive path for their neighbors and beyond. It is encouraging and brightens my spirit to know that we are always but just a few friends away from taking an idea to a life-changing reality. We don’t need Washington to do this for us; we are fully capable. How about Sarasota, Florida, who has put its stake in the ground as the new future home of the Women’s Sports Museum. Shall we talk about something that is long overdue especially as conversations about statues and monuments and the importance of public messaging that reinforces for all what is important and what we value? Honored to be included in this year’s festivities, it brought into sharp focus a question a recent interviewer asked me as to how can we create more opportunities for girls without them coming at the expense of boys?

I did take a quick inhale but appreciated him giving voice to a concern that is being quietly whispered at bars, and amongst male friends and colleagues. Why is leveling a playing field that offers girls and women more opportunities a zero-sum game?

Last month in Louisville, we partnered with the magnificent Muhammad Ali Center to launch our first national Generation WOW. 400 girls from the Jefferson Public School system attended and were joined by 200 rock star women mentors. The press was there to cover it, and once again the question was raised, Why Girls? Yes, the question rankles. We do not ask Why Boys?

So here it is…Why Girls:

  1. Because in a world where the message of being less than is delivered in so many ways to girls, it is time to surround them with the messages of positivity and possibility and that they can be the best kick ass selves that they can be.
  2. Because why would anyone even think they could field a competitive team when only accessing 50% of the available talent?
  3. Because they are our future leaders, inventors, scientists, innovators, not to mention for many, our mothers to be, who carry powerful and ongoing influence in the lives of our next generation.
  4. Because of what Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, recently reminded us in her article in the New York Times, that girls “display a sense of moral clarity, an instinct for inclusiveness and a commitment to making the world a better place for people of all ages and genders.”
  5. And of course, as I said on the TEDx stage….WHY NOT GIRLS?

Although we’ve made great strides in gender equality, it still tends to be a He vs. She conversation. And that needs to stop. True gender equality benefits us all, including boys, and when we work together to create those paths of change in our own little corners of the world, we leave a legacy of positivity for the next generation. It can begin as small as changing our messaging, making sure we are moving away from language that depicts only boys as being strong and only girls as being nurturing, holding our companies and organizations accountable for equal representation on management teams and in boardrooms, and supporting initiatives—locally, national, and globally—that encourage the conversation and support the mission of truly leveling the playing field. 

And when you see a girl looking to create her own path in this world? Walk alongside her, connect her to others, embrace WOWsdom! and show her that this big, wonderful dream she has can become a reality that will make this world a better place for us all. 

Want to join us at Generation WOW?  We will be in Orlando on November 7th and Jacksonville on November 14thclick here to become a mentor and join us in making a difference in the lives of girls.  

xoxo,

 

Donna
@DonnaOrender