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Emma Hamilton-Clark

7 wins for girls’ empowerment in 2016

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Emma Hamilton-Clark

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As we look back on 2016, we continue to see the resilience of girls in all parts of the world. In North America we see more women participating in politics and athletics, but globally we see a growing focus on girls’ rights and putting girls at the centre of development issues. Here are our some of our favourite girls’ empowerment moments:

1. 7-year-old Syrian girl tweets from Aleppo

While the scenes Bana Alabed describes are difficult to read, she shows the power and resilience of girls through her commitment to revealing the reality for families still living in the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria.

2. Women shine at Rio Summer Olympics

This year’s Summer Olympics in Rio saw the highest participation of female athletes in Olympic history! In fact, the number of female athletes outnumbered the male for both Team Canada and Team USA. Not only that, but they brought home more medals for their respective countries – with the Canadian women winning 87% of Canada’s medals. From swimming, to soccer, to rugby sevens there was no shortage of empowering moments – even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took notice:

3. Hillary Clinton empowers girls across the globe

Now, despite what you may be thinking, 2016 did prove as a step forward for women in politics. Although Hillary Clinton did not win the 2016 U.S. elections, she was the first woman to be the nominee of a major American political party. She continues to be a positive role model for young girls everywhere – even after her loss she reminded us of the importance of girls’ empowerment.

“To all the little girls who are watching this: never doubt how valuable, how powerful, and how deserving of every opportunity you are to pursue your own dreams.”

Although the U.S. hasn’t shattered the highest glass ceiling, over 79 countries have already welcomed their first female president or prime minister!

4. The return of 21 Chibok school girls

It has been 2 years since the abduction of nearly 200 school girls from the town of Chibok in Nigeria. Global outrage gained momentum on social media with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls and world leaders and influential figures like First Lady Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai campaigned for their release and safe return. After much effort from the international community, Boko Haram released 21 of its captive girls – a win for girls’ rights. Although more girls have yet to return home safe, it is a significant step towards justice and freedom for the school girls of Chibok.

5. Girls’ progress = Goals’ progress: A global data movement

This was the United Nations (UN) theme on this year’s International Day of the Girl. On this day, the UN announced that in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its promise to leave no girls behind, there must be greater data collection on the status and issues facing girls in developing countries. After all, we can’t fix what we can’t see! This commitment to greater measurement of girls in developing countries will drastically help us to create a brighter future for girls around the world!

With over a million views, this video produced by Project Everyone helped raise awareness around the SDGs and more specifically Goal 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The video calls on the new generation of girl power by asking what do YOU really want for girls and women in developing countries– like ending violence against girls, a quality education and ending child marriage!

6. Canadian government’s commitment towards missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada

In August, the Liberal government honoured their commitment to address the disproportionate rate of violence against indigenous girls and women in Canada by launching a national inquiry into the nearly 1,200 cases of murdered and missing indigenous girls and women. Those commissioned to find the underlying causes of all forms of violence, hope to bring clarity and create a better life for First Nations girls and women in Canada.

7. Over 250 girls lead for the day – showing the world that ‘Girls Belong Here’

On this year’s International Day of the Girl, the world stood up and said ‘girls belong here’, in classrooms, boardrooms and anywhere they choose. Leaders from around the world gave up their seats to over 250 girls and let them lead for the day – empowering girls to see themselves in positions of leadership and empowerment!

These are our favourite moments from 2016, but we’d love to hear about yours! In the comments below, share which girls’ empowerment moments inspired you this year.