Like so many who seek gender equity, women’s rights, and inclusion for women everywhere, I find myself simultaneously optimistic and concerned about the future we’ve bequeathed to our girls.

Why I’m Optimistic About Girls

I’m optimistic because of the energy, enthusiasm, talent, dedication, and passion I see in young women every day. A brief example: Not two weeks ago I was privileged to meet the volunteers shown above at Harvard’s Global Women’s Empowerment organization. GlobalWE is an alumni network “dedicated to the empowerment of women through education, dialogue and connection among individuals working for women’s rights and freedoms worldwide.”

Look at the energy in these intelligent, confident, engaged faces—and you’ll understand the source of my optimism. These young women are committed to empowering women and girls around the world.

Why I’m Concerned About Girls

I also am concerned—because far too many girls still grow up in a world that restricts their freedoms, devalues their contributions, limits their opportunities (including access to education) and treats them as second-class citizens. Even where good fortune does bring them freedom and opportunity, girls routinely suffer physical and sexual abuse, discrimination, and unfair treatment. Yes, we’re making progress in changing these intolerable practices and inequities. But righting these wrongs—at home and abroad—is taking far, far, too long.

“When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country.”

— Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama Announces Global Girls Alliance

Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show as part of “International Day of the Girl” ceremonies, Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced The Obama Foundation’s program to empower girls through education. Not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

Called the “Global Girls Alliance,” this organization aims to support more than 1,500 grassroots organizations addressing the specific challenges girls encounter in their communities. “The evidence is clear,” Obama said. “Girls who attend secondary school earn higher salaries, have lower infant and maternal mortality rates, and are less likely to contract malaria and HIV.And studies have shown that educating girls isn’t just good for the girls, it’s good for all of us.”

Contribute to the Global Girls Alliance

Want to contribute to this worthy effort? In partnership with GoFundMe, The Alliance has created a new social fundraising platform at the Global Girls Alliance Website. Through this site, Obama wrote, “anyone, anywhere around the world, can support girls in places like India, Guatemala, or Uganda.”

While you’re at it, I encourage you to check out Malala Fund—whose pathfinding efforts seek “to give back to girls what poverty, war and discrimination tried to take away.” Malala Fund promotes education for girls throughout the world.

Remember: Girls everywhere need our help to build a brighter future and a more just world.You can be a part of the solution.

Girl Power!

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At 2018’s college graduations, girls received a lot of wisdom from female commencement speakers. Read my post: “America’s Alpha Women Offer Advice For These Turbulent Times