The G(irls)20 summit is a Google funded global symposium for girls 18-20, with a representative from each G20 nation, with a mission to advance the full participation of girls and women globally through their economic and political empowerment. The annual event takes place three weeks before the G20 summit, and addresses cultural, political and economic issues that reside close to home and heart, for these girls.
Annually, Googlers from around the globe volunteer to mentor G(irls)20 Ambassadors, sharing ideas, creativity, energy and experience, as they (the Ambassadors) begin a journey of empowering girls into women of significant leadership. Just before the applications were due for the G(20)irls 2013 summit this year, Googlers mentored 38 selected delegates from 21 countries that ranged from Turkey, US, Mexico, Russia and Kenya, to name a few. I was paired up with a South African delegate, Thato Mokoena.
Thato Mokoena shared her proposal with me titled “Presidential Girl, empowering the next generation of women leaders”, co-authored with Veronica Cho, South Korean delegate. In this proposal they aim to politically engage adolescent girls, resulting in economic successes in the local communities. The proposal also suggests structuring an environment for women to thrive through girls’ club, parliament and mentorships.
A quote by Congresswomen Betty McCollum inspired Thato to recognize the challenges girls face in developing areas, and motivate us to support the action.
“Every girl deserves to have her voice heard and the realities of her life understood because for too long girls have been forced to be silent, invisible and subordinate. Now is the time for these creative, smart, beautiful voices to tell the world how they feel and what they think. And, I want to hear what’s on their minds.”
-- Congresswoman Betty McCollum, U.S. House of Representatives
The proposal goes on to indicate that there are three components to building the environment appropriate to foster girls into leaders: Parliament, clubs and mentorships. Parliament provides a ‘forum’ where girls can learn how to become leaders and practice these skills. Parliament is also ‘an environment’ which fosters growth and enables a dialogue for positive solutions that will impact each community. The completion of parliamentary session and workshops may result in ‘micro-grants’, allowing for implementation of the ideas and design. The result is two-fold. These girls will experience growth and gain confidence to move on and mentor others. The community also reaps the benefits of the project’s rewards.
Thato’s proposal acts as a solid reminder of how the planet’s hopeful youth imagines a better, more evolved world. Their passion of thought & idea exists from what is true in the heart and mind. This vision is proposed in an 8 page document describing how their leadership can help change the world. For more information on the The G(irls)20 Summit, please visit the website here.