February-March 2022 | Features

Taking action to empower girls

Taking action to empower girls

Guernsey Rotarian, Jannine Birtwistle, describes her role heading up Rotary’s Empowering Girls initiative, as an ambassador for Great Britain & Ireland.

Equality is a fundamental human right that is critical for a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Today, girls and women face inequities in areas including health and education, and experience significant violence and disproportionate poverty.

Rotarians can help enhance their safety, health, education and well-being. Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta, has asked all Rotary clubs to get involved.

This could be highlighting what is already being done, adapting existing service projects and identifying new ones which, in some way, address the inequities that girls face on a daily basis.

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Wherever we live, whatever the socio-economic landscape is, whatever local and national governments and other organisations are already doing and whatever Rotary clubs are already involved in, including a focus on the empowerment of girls will have a short, medium and long-term positive impact.

Be the catalyst and conduit for working together.”

That positive impact is not just for the girls, their families and their communities now and in the future but also globally. So let’s take action together.

In this edition you will read just a few examples of what clubs in Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland are already doing to create positive change in the lives of girls both internationally and in their local communities.

A few possible first steps:

  • Realise that this is something that we can each take responsibility for whatever our gender, age, or passion.
  • Look at what your Rotary, Rotaract, Interact or RotaKids club is already doing with an empowering girls lens.
  • Listen to young people.
  • Reach out to your community using your existing networks and establish new connections to identify the real needs locally, what is working, where are there gaps and where could there be improvements.
  • Collaborate with other groups in the family of Rotary and your community to share understanding, expertise, resources, and ideas to better meet those needs.
  • Be the catalyst and conduit for working together.
  • Reach out to me for more information and support, and to share your success stories.

Rotarians can help enhance the safety, health, education and well-being of girls around the globe and in their local community.

So, whether you are involved in:

  • Setting up an after-school mentoring and tutoring programme for girls;
  • Providing menstrual hygiene education to boys and girls in the community;
  • Advocating for mental health services specific to young girls and teens, such as those that focus on preventing suicide and dealing with substance abuse and addiction;
  • Improving access to education for girls so they can make informed choices later about issues that can have an environmental impact, from family planning to sanitation to food security;
  • Promoting projects that develop a girl’s confidence to use her voice and to assume leadership positions or to create more role models and mentors for girls;
  • Advocating for programmes aimed at improving the safety of girls in their home, their school, and their community;
  • Facilitating projects that provide skills and experience to girls so they can improve their future access to jobs;
  • Putting a focus locally on stories from your area about how COVID-19 has affected women and girls; you are helping to empower girls and build a better future.

As Rotarians, these are steps we can all take in our communities to create brighter futures.

If you would like to know more, please contact Jannine Birtwistle.

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