In his address to the Rotary International Convention in June 2021, Shekhar Mehta urged Rotary members to put improving girls’ futures at the forefront of their work.
He said: “It is important that we empower girls as we all find that, more often than not, the girl is disadvantaged.
“We will serve all children, but our laser focus will be especially on the girl.”
Listen to this article
Shekhar made empowering girls one of his presidential initiatives, and his focus is particularly timely.
Women continue to face economic hurdles, declining levels of political participation, and challenges in the workplace, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
Our call to action is to leave no girl behind.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is among the factors which have extended the amount of time that experts estimate it will take to close the gender gap from an already daunting 99.5 years to 135.6 years.
“Especially for girls, creating opportunities that enhance their education, safety, health, and well-being has the power to transform their futures — and also to transform their families and communities,” explained Elizabeth Usovicz, a member of the RI Board of Directors.
“Rotary members worldwide can make a difference in transforming communities by empowering girls.”
Elizabeth is also the chair of the Empowering Girls Task Force, which was established as part of the Rotary President’s initiative.
Within zones and regions, Rotary has designated Empowering Girls ambassadors who can provide resources for districts and clubs and suggest ways to incorporate support for girls into existing projects or make it the basis for new ones.
“The Empowering Girls initiative is a club and district-level service opportunity,” she noted.
Annemarie Mostert is one such ambassador. A member of the E-Club of Southern Africa D9400, Annemarie is also a member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers.
“Educated women are more likely to have greater decision-making power within their households,” Annemarie wrote for Rotary Africa-South last August.
“Let’s encourage our girls to be smart, to study science and mathematics, to have a positive body image, to step into leadership positions.
Rotary members worldwide can make a difference in transforming communities by empowering girls.”
“As people of action, we will be helping communities to break the cycle of poverty.
“By helping girls access quality education, we ensure economic independence, food security, resilience, environmental sustainability, and a better world for all.
“Our call to action is to leave no girl behind.
“Every Rotary and Rotaract club should implement at least one Empowering Girls activity this year.
“Set up a global grant by focusing on health, education, or economic independence. Partner with a Rotary Action Group, share best practices, collaborate with other clubs and civil society.”