When looking toward the future world our daughters will inhabit, things look pretty bleak right now — it doesn't seem like those 79 cents on the dollar will be ticking up any time soon. But, there are lots of people (maybe you?) working tirelessly to help our little girls gain some momentum so they can be everything they want to be when they grow up. In celebration of the United Nation's International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, we've compiled some empowering Instagram captions that will honor the girls in your life, and maybe inspire others to keep fighting the good fight until girls around the world have all the opportunities they're entitled to have.
In 2011, the United Nations declared Oct. 11 to be International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls' rights and the challenges they encounter around the globe, according to the UN website. By declaring that girls have the right to a safe, educated and healthy life, the organization takes the stance that girls have the power to change the world — both during their childhoods and later on, when they take the reins of adulthood as workers, mothers, political leaders and mentors. This year's theme is centered on creating a skilled work force among the 600 million girls who will come into adulthood in the next decade so they can avoid low wage jobs and exploitative labor. It's a huge movement that will take tremendous amounts of work, to be sure. In the meantime, however, can slap one of these captions up on Instagram so everyone knows where you stand when it comes to girls around the globe.
1"Who Runs The World? Girls!" — Beyoncé
You have to give Queen Bey some serious credit when it comes to spreading the word that females are fierce.
2"Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce" — Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Speaking of females being fierce, it was actually Shakespeare who first used the expression (at least, as far as anybody knows). Ever since, this line has been a comfort and inspiration to "little" and not-so-little girls alike.
3"She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." — Proverbs 31:25
Who wouldn't want to be described this way? Strong, dignified, and brazenly unafraid of whatever life has in store... print this one out and tape it to your mirror!
4"Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, it’s all the same day." — Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin was a force of nature whose groundbreaking career paved the way for countless female musicians to come, and she knew that staying true to herself was the only way to make it in an exceedingly male-dominated field.
5“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” — J.K. Rowling
Another woman who faced plenty of obstacles on her way up, J.K. Rowling was a single mother on welfare whose original manuscript for Harry Potter was passed up a dozen times, according to New York Magazine. Good thing she had a lot of nerve, because we all know what happened next!
6"To all the little girls who are watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams." — Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton's words continue to give girls and women everywhere hope, even through this dark chapter of history.
7“Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.” — Mary Wollstonecraft
This line from Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was a call to action back in 1792, when it was written (per Goodreads)... and it still is today.
8.“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” — Hillary Clinton
Yes we are! Though this is slowly, slowly, slowly beginning to change...
9"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." — Maya Angelou
There's nothing I love imagining more than Maya Angelou saying these words out loud (and she really said them, too, according to Mashable). So yes, you have permission from Maya Angelou to go out and kick ass.
10"You don't have to be pretty... Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'" — Erin McKean
Preach! Often attributed to Diana Vreeland, these profoundly important words actually came from author Erin McKean in 2006, according to Business Insider. And she absolutely deserves attribution, because this quote is truly brilliant.
11"Ok Ladies, Now Let's Get In Formation" — Beyonce
Hear that? It's the Queen again, and she's calling for backup. Get ready to march in Bey's army of strong, independent women, because there's a long road ahead.
12“Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself.” — Malala Yousafzai
From Malala's memoir, according to the Washington Post, the sheer poetry of this line serves as inspiration on the days when we feel most defeated.
13“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” — Gloria Steinem
In just one brief quote, Gloria Steinem shows how the slightest shift in perspective could be the starting point for monumental change.
14"Women, like men, must be educated with a view to action, or their studies cannot be called education." — Harriett Martineau
In other words, what good are ideas if we don't put them into action? What good are principles if we don't act accordingly?
15“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”— Sheryl Sandberg
We all want to make this vision of the future come true. And that's what International Day of the Girl is all about: Empowering the next generation to build a better world.