Earlier this week, former model Christy Turlington, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in honor of International Day of the Girl Child, which explored global issues of importance to adolescent girls including access to education, economic justice, equitable healthcare and protection from violence. Turlington writes about how girls around the world are often invisible, with global policy-makers ignoring the needs unique to this population.
In order to foster leadership among adolescent girls around the world, humanitarian efforts and global policies need to address access to public education and comprehensive healthcare, social support, economic aid, protection from violence. By creating institutional and cultural support for girls, there is opportunity to create a new position for girls in society: the role of a leader. This is as true in the United States as it is in the Middle East or Europe or Russia or Africa. Creating systems that support adolescent girls benefits us all, because as these girls grow up to be women, they will become women with the power to change the world. Perhaps no one embodies the spirit of leadership in adolescent girls quite like Malala Yousafzai who recently was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.