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Cultivating a Girl Force: International Day of the Girl 2018

The world has a serious gender problem. According to the Global Gender Gap Report, the girls of today will have to wait a staggering 217 years to achieve gender parity. Just think of that: without a serious investment in girls and young women, without a systematic change, their great grandchildren will be the first in their family to see a time when women are equally represented in the workplace and in the world.

Today, October 11, is celebrated as The International Day of the Girl. This year’s theme—With Her: A Skilled Girl Force—asks that everyone stand with girls globally as they rally together, creating and celebrating a potent force for change.

At Lincoln School, I see each and every day what a difference girls can make, what happens when you reinforce potential with possibilities. Lincoln students will no doubt make up a strong and significant portion of the Girl Force and workforce of tomorrow—and that fact is one of the things that gives me great hope in the face of statistics like these:

As a friend of Lincoln School, Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, said in a recent New York Times article entitled “Maybe Girls Will Save Us,” “Girls cannot be what they cannot see.” At Lincoln, they see teachers stand up for what they believe in; alumnae who cross back through the red doors to tell them Lincoln is where I found my voice and learned how to use it; they see a parent community rich with strong women succeeding in fields they love.

So yes, we have a problem, but we also have a viable and vibrant solution. It is not an outside force, it is not something we have to do or say or adopt. The solution is Lincoln girls themselves and girls like them around the globe. Here, they are heard, believed, surrounded by examples of what they can become, and told they are not just good enough, but more powerful than they’ve ever imagined.

As a group, they are indeed A Skilled Girl Force, one to be reckoned with, and one I know will no doubt change the world. In the words of Lily Burchfield ‘17, on last year’s International Day of the Girl:

"Of course I love celebrating a day like International Day of the Girl, but to me it's a little bittersweet. For the last 16 years, everyday has felt like today. Everyday we were celebrated, empowered, inspired and praised for the strength, accomplishments and possibilities that females not only in our school, but all over the world, attain. Everyday we challenged the norms, pushed the boundaries and strived for success #LikeAGirl, because in our bubble, we did not need a day like today, we simply lived everyday as if it were International Day of the Girl. Though I have moved on from Lincoln, I still carry the lessons, values and passion for women empowerment with me today and forever moving forward and for that, I am eternally grateful. So today and always, 'Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.'"

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