• Victoria Olanrewaju Benedict

My Voice, Our Equal Future.

Written by~ Okunola Comfort, Girl Advocate. This year’s International Day of the Girl theme celebrates the possibilities of a better world inspired by girls and young women. Girls around the world are lifting their collective voices to impact social change. As a generation of activists, they are leading the rallying cry to create a world that is equal for all. Girls' voices initiative is dedicated to giving girls the skills and resources to make the world a better place for every girl, everywhere. This means making sure every girl sees a place for herself in the version of the world we are working together to create. Diversity is a critical component of this work—and our true strength comes from engaging the power of many voices to enrich our schools, societies, and the world and from developing communities that value justice and inclusivity. Each and every girl has something unique to offer that makes our institutions stronger. If even of our girls do not see themselves as part of our communities, we have failed not only that girl but the heart of our missions, as places founded to address inequality. It is not enough to simply include a diversity of people if we are not listening to, learning from, and honoring their breadth of experiences. Inclusion builds a culture of belonging and it starts with acknowledging that all girls are not the same. It is understanding that girls come to us from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, and when they suppress parts of their authentic selves in order to conform, we all lose. We must keep actively working to create places of belonging for our girls that reflect the world and future they envision. As we help our girls actualize their leadership potential, they challenge us to consider our own notions of what it means to lead and what equality and equity really mean. The work of creating inclusivity and equity is never done. It is not a box to be checked. It will happen little by little, every day, over the years, in the choices we make and the policies we enact. Like we teach our girls, we must listen and learn, grow, and adapt as we support our girls in using their voices to create our equal future. Happy international day of the girl child 🌹🌹🌹

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