“There’s nothing more dangerous to the patriarchy than a girl with a pen in her hand.” —ROBIN MORGAN, activist & author
“You never realize how powerful mentorship is until you have been a beneficiary of it.” —TAYSHA CLARK, Girls Write Now Youth Board Co-Chair
Over the last few months, Girls Write Now has been in conversations with The Malala Fund, Chime for Change, with The Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings, with VIDA’s: Women in Literary Arts, and with AOL and MAKERS: Women Who Make America around the issues facing women and girls today. In the end, we all agree about the importance of a girl’s story — no matter how scared she or others may be to hear it—and that we need to work together to protect and support a girl’s right to write — which is a luxury around the world and right here in New York where only 22% of students graduate high school equipped with the proficient writing skills they will need to succeed in college and beyond.
At Girls Write Now, International Day of the Girl was about taking a moment to celebrate how far our girls have come and acknowledging how far we all still have to go, together. Our event launched early Friday morning, October 10th, with the exciting news that 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, activist for girls’ education around the world, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That afternoon, Girls Write Now’s music video “Ode to Malala” — inspired by a poem mentee alum Priscilla Guo wrote two years ago when Malala was shot on her way to school — enjoyed its international screening at the United Nations. Girls Write Now mentees presented their original work to officials from UN Women, UNICEF, and an audience of more than 600 girls.
The festivities continued into the evening, with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and an inspiring panel of women writers, activists, and leaders. Moderator Beena Kamlani, Senior Editor of Viking Penguin Random House, began the evening with her own story of mentorship and triumph. After Beena’s father told her she would not be attending university because “an educated woman is a liability,” Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly, changed her father’s mind and Beena’s life.
Our powerhouse panelists included Rachel Fershleiser, Author and Publisher Outreach at Tumblr, novelist Bridgett M. Davis of the recently released Into the Go-Slow, Farrin Jacobs, editor of I Am Malala: Young Reader’s Edition, our very own Taysha Clark, mentee alum and Girls Write Now Youth Board Co-Chair, and last but certainly not least, author and activist Robin Morgan. Exploring the intersection of writing and feminism in their own lives, panelists delved into questions as timeless as writing’s power of catharsis and as topical as Emma Watson’s HeforShe campaign speech at the UN and the role of men in the movement.
Girls Write Now & Chime for Change: Partnership (Chime for Change)
Let’s Keep Empowering Women Writers (The Rumpus)
Required Reading (VIDA: Women in Literary Arts)
To Do This Week (New York Observer)
Girls Write Now Celebrates International Day of the Girl (Augury Books)
Interview with Maya Nussbuam and Taysha Clark (Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan)
Girls Write Now at the United Nations
Several of our mentees were proudly involved with the 2nd annual Girls Speak Out event at the United Nations, an event showcasing the stories of girls around the world. Their work was published online and selected to be performed (see the Livestream of the event). Our teens were invited into their acting troupe, performing for over 650 attendees. Also, our music video, “Ode to Malala,” premiered on a global stage.
The evening was made possible by our generous supporters and vendors:
Megan Henry (Creative Designer)
Muneesh Jain (Photographer)
Tom Hunt (Videographer)