At a time when the news cycle feels more like a real-life episode of
The Handmaid's Tale, it's easy to feel disheartened. But it's important to remember that there are so many people working toward a better tomorrow. As these inspiring quotes for International Day of the Girl prove, there are still countless people engaged in vital, life-changing work all over the globe. Keep reading to feel a little bit better about the world.
Established in 2012, International Day of the Girl addresses the needs and challenges that girls face around the world. It promotes empowerment, education, and employment skills, alongside the attainment of basic human rights. This year's theme,
My voice, our equal future, wants to see the world “seize the opportunity to reimagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls – energized and recognized, counted and invested in,” according to the United Nations website. International Day of the Girl 2020 is helping girls lead the world in social change by learning new skills and discovering ways to avert gender-based violence. We all want girls across the globe to have a more equal and just life, and the UN is seeking out innovative ways to make the world more equitable for women and girls. International Day of The Girl is the springboard to the initiative, an annual reminder to everyone that the work is by no means complete, while providing actionable resources to those who want to join the fight.
There are countless ways to get involved with
International Day of the Girl both in real life and online. In the meantime, let these brilliant quotes inspire the younger generation as well as yourself.
"All across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today, just maybe, they're seeing themselves for the first time in a new way. As the stuff of presidents and vice presidents.” —Kamala Harris
If your heart didn’t leap out of your chest hearing this, I don’t know what to tell you.
"I feel like so many people invalidate the experience of transgender girls thinking they aren't regular girls, but I am a normal girl." — Jazz Jennings
Jennings offers her own unique perspective while affirming that all girls — are girls — if they say they are.
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” — Sheryl Sandberg
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
As the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of
the LeanIn movement, Sheryl Sandberg knows a thing or two about leadership. She's a highly influential executive and activist.
“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable, powerful, and deserving of every opportunity in the world and every chance to pursue your own dreams.” — Hillary Clinton
Secretary Clinton has been on the front lines of women’s issues for decades, and even in her darkest times, has chosen to elevate the plight of girls.
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” ― Coco Chanel, "The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman"
A woman should always have the authority to chose to be what she wants.
“What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected. It is no good saying: ‘You are a little girl and therefore you ought to like dolls;’ if the answer is, ‘But I don't,’ there is no more to be said.” ― Dorothy L. Sayers, "Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society"
Dorothy Sayers was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford. Her words on girlhood ring true for so many of us.
“You are so much stronger than the world / has ever believed you could be. / The world is waiting for you / to set it on fire. Trust in yourself / and burn.” ― Clementine von Radics, Mouthful of Forevers
This bit of poetry just gets you to your soul, doesn't it?
“...ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of themselves.” ― Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
The Hessian and Ichabod might be the main characters, but Katrina kept them all in line.
“You cannot, you cannot use someone else's fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.” ― Audre Lorde
Author and civil rights activist Audre Lorde was a powerful voice for all women, but especially BIPOC women. Her strength is missed, her vision still a work in progress.
"I am now confident that I can bring about change in my own life as well as in others." — Jabeen, 15
"I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Jack Taylor/Getty Images News/Getty Images
“But what Mom never told me is that along the way, you find sisters, and they find you. Girls are cool that way.” ― Adriana Trigiani, Viola in "Reel Life"
My life wouldn’t be as lush or interesting as it is without my women friends. My daughter is in the process of learning this for herself, and it’s amazing to behold.
"For most of history, anonymous was a woman." ― Virginia Woolf
British writer Woolf is widely praised for the early feminist appeal of her modernist works.
"Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination." — Mae Jemison
The first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison has worked as a NASA astronaut, engineer, and college professor. She knows all about dreaming big, in other words.
"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world,” — Malala Yousefzai
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Activist and Nobel Prize laureate Yousafzai hardly needs an introduction. Her work for female education has gained global acclaim.
"Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength." – G.D. Anderson
"Girl power in my mind is to let girls be exactly what they are. Let them be angry. Let them be resentful. And rebellious. Let them be hard and soft and loving and sad and silly. Let them be wrong. Let them be right. Let them be everything, because they are everything." — Amy Sherman-Palladino
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Gilmore Girls, Sherman-Palladino excels at crafting strong — but fully human — female characters.
"The spark in my eyes are my goals. Let me achieve them. I AM THE FUTURE." — Habiba Manzo
Entrepreneur & public speaker
Habiba Manzo says it perfectly.
"If you want to break the cycle of poverty, educate a girl." — Graça Machel
Bryan Steffy/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Widow of the late Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel is a politician, humanitarian, and advocate for the rights of women and children. Her work on behalf of refugee children and general support for women's equality is inspiring.
"There is no more valuable investment than in a girl's education." — Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ban created UN Women, an agency dedicated to gender equality and female empowerment worldwide, according to the UN's website. Advocates like Ban prove that women's equality is a cause everyone can support. There is still so much work to be done, but thankfully there are also brilliant and motivated people all over the world working toward a better future for young women.