Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures

March 5, 2012 BY Kathy Calvin


On March 8, we will observe the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day – a day that celebrates the political, economic, and social contributions women have made to the world. This is an important day for the United Nations Foundation because improving women’s health is one of our main priorities. This day brings the issues facing women and girls around the world to center stage and gives us the opportunity to develop partnerships and innovative solutions to help the UN address these issues. This year on International Women’s Day, we will celebrate the progress that has already been achieved, but also focus on the fact that there is still much to be done to solve the problems women and girls face in many parts of the world.

Kathy Calvin

Supporting the UN’s fight to improve the lives of women across the world aids in the achievement of several of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals including alleviating poverty, improving maternal health, and promoting gender equality and empowering women. In many developing countries girls are unable to finish school for a number of reasons, however, studies conducted by the World Bank have proven that each additional year of secondary school boosts a girl’s future wages by 15 to 25 percent – up to 90 percent of which will be invested back into her family and community. In other words: the welfare of women and girls is an important factor in the improvement of a nation’s social and economic outcomes. 

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” – a theme that fits well with the work we do every day at the UN Foundation. Our Girl Up campaign is a “for girls, by girls” initiative that gives American girls the opportunity to become global leaders and channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for UN programs that help adolescent girls around the world. Girl Up spreads awareness of challenging issues facing some of the most vulnerable girls like Tigist – who ran away from her village in south Ethiopia at the age of 13 to escape being married off. Tigist is now part of a program called Biruh Tesfa that allows her to go to school for the first time and learn about her health and her rights. Biruh Tesfa is an example of an innovative solution that has the power to make a difference in the lives of women and girls across the globe.

As we pay tribute to remarkable women throughout Women’s Month, tell us, who inspires you most?


POSTED IN: Get Involved, Global Issues


Submitted by Muhammad Jehangir on: March 13, 2012 All these are the commendable and inspiring case studies.It is the duty of the Govt and all NGO's work togather and strive their best to empower the women of the world through participatory approach.
Submitted by Muhammad Jehangir on: March 13, 2012 All these are the commendable and inspiring case study.It is the duty of the Govt and all NGO's work togather and strive their best to empower the women of the world through participatory approach.
Submitted by dr gouri kumra on: March 11, 2012 i admire myself. i was 28 when my marriage collapsed,as my father had not given dowry and i had delivered a female child. my father sponsored my postgraduation in obstetrics and gynaecology, from manipal,i was not supported by the societyas my husband was stronger,24 years down the road my daughter has completed M-PHIL IN ECONOMICS from cambridge,she is the THIRD INDIAN to receive the STEPHENSON AWARD IN ECONOMICS,she is working in IFC.Now the world is at her feet,along with the paternal family.MY DAUGHTER AND I HAVE WALKED THE HURDLES hence can talk.
Submitted by Jane Roberts on: March 6, 2012 Believe it or not I inspire myself every day looking for 34 Million Friends of the women and girls of the world through the United Nations Population Fund.
Submitted by Teri Crabb on: March 6, 2012 Lilly Ledbetter, a woman who stands strong against all odds and has advanced gender equality in a 21st century industrialized capitalist society.
Submitted by Timothy Issa Mtiti on: March 6, 2012 What I can say is an encouragement for women to undertake the reliable actions using their talents, visions or missions out of any fear, us men we are always together with you around the world, just stand and advocate for your rights for none can stand on behalf without you, together we can +243 99 555 0568; E-mail: Timothy Mission International in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation Platform in DRC via OSSISA / AETA in Kinshasa DRC and Rudi International in Goma DRC!!!
Submitted by Naomi Maina on: March 6, 2012 Professor Debra Leigh is the Lead Organizer for the Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative at St. Cloud State University. Prof. Leigh is an exceptional woman who has been strategically organizing to end racism on campus and the local St. Cloud community. Her dedication and passionate approach to the anti-racism work inspires me to become a better person every single day. I have worked with Prof. Leigh for the last two years and she has always gone out of her way to mentor me and other young women in the community to think big and strive for the best. St. Cloud State University has become what it is today because of her tireless work for the last 22 years!
Submitted by Marilyn Mehlmann on: March 6, 2012 Rachel Carson - of course! Gro Harlem Brundtland. Margit Wallström. My grandmother, who held together a family and a business through two world wars in London. Indeed, grandmothers everywhere.
Submitted by Rebecca Shore on: March 6, 2012 I am inspired by all the women that participated in the Arab Spring protests this past year. They were truly inspirational and fought against injustices in their countries without many rights. In the face of imprisonment and harm, they put freedom above personal security.
Submitted by Julie Unruh on: March 6, 2012 The women who amaze and inspire me are the ones who are disabled and keep on living and working along side the "normal" people in their lives and the women who talk how to end being beat and sexually assaulted.
Submitted by Mrs. Sheryl Brown on: March 6, 2012 What inspires me are the African Women I train in Construction and Agriculture. Her place is not only with her family, she rules nations with unquestionable authority; she is secure enough to advance further then her talent, lineage, royalty and prerogative will take her. She has always played a strong complementing role in society. She is choosing to redefine success by building her own wealth. "She is a Negucci Women"
Submitted by Waddell Robey on: March 6, 2012 Women who inspire me: Leadership: Hillary Clinton, Astrosciences: Dr. Sara Seager, Global Compassion: (The late) HRH Princess Diana, Motherhood: My Middle Daughter, The Arts: Katherine Hepburn. These are just top of the list candidates there are thousands more comprising the soul of humankind.
Submitted by Rubaduka on: March 6, 2012 That is wanderfull for our future gils to know how to build their lives and choices on their minds. To be activeted on everything , for everything in the world.To never only wait to the mens to do for to make happy everything on them.They are also a creture of God with full of mind, to have a right on life, thanks.
Submitted by Hans on: March 6, 2012 I´m inspired by the women I have come close. I gradually understand my own shortcomings are result of not listening to, not embracing the women I´ve met. I deconstruct a disfunctional gender role called 'traditional man' and make it possible to be inspired.
Submitted by Anne Buckley on: March 5, 2012 I admire Hillary Clinton for her strength, wisdom, and integrity in dealing with other countries.
Submitted by Webster Nguyen on: March 5, 2012 I am inspired by a girl named Camille Manansala, a girl that I met at school who is so proud of being a women and is not shy about it in the slightest bit. One of the first conversations I ever had with her was about the 19th amendment, and she talked about it with such passion and pride.She wants to outlaw gender discrimination in the work place as well as provide fair wages. Her favorite superhero is Wonder Woman, who she constantly brags about as being the greatest superhero of all time.I'm glad I know someone like her. My mother also inspires me so much, who could not be inspired by a good mother? Like many mothers, mine has always been a wonderful support system for a growing boy who is learning about the world. Without the help of my mother and 3 sisters I wouldn't be the person I am today, and while I'm not perfect I'd like to think the good in me comes from them.
Submitted by Elia Haworth on: March 5, 2012 Chris Bonfiglio is Executive Director of Casa Allegra Community Services in San Rafael California. She was just 23 in 1975 when she co-founded this organization that cares for people with developmental disabilities. Chris and her staff are genuinely committed to each client as an individual. I fall in love with this organization over and over as I watch them care for my sister and other clients with honest affection. The organizational climate nurtures staff and clients and their families. Chris is a fearless fighter on behalf of her clients, whether with state funding or a doctor who does not fully "see" the disabled person. It can be exhausting but Chris is a visionary and a quiet woman of towering strength.
Submitted by Maya Silverman on: March 5, 2012 Ingrid Michaelson and Nancy Pelosi inspire me, they are dedicated and are both very gallant women. Ingrid; a singer and songwriter, writes from her heart and isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Nancy Pelosi- a politician, has brought to light that women are just as deserving of praise and that they can be a part of political action. I am inspired by my mother as well, she used to have something called meniere's disease, similar to why Van Gogh cut off his ear (and was suspected of having this as well.) My mom is so strong and incredibly independent and common-sense worthy. She is so brave and onderstands who I really am, whenever I come home upset and feel as if I am not doing anything with my life, she is always there to cheer me up. I love everything about how each of these women decides what they want, and lets nothing, not even the most severe medical condition, get in the way of their dreams.
Submitted by Federico on: March 5, 2012 Hard question. There's to sides. When i see a woman in Athletics, winning a Soccer World Competition or challenging the world is one. When I read about sexual harassment, women raped, everything is wrong an we are in the same place without moving us forward. No m ore men commenting? Bad new.
Submitted by Elizabeth on: March 5, 2012 Elizabeth Warren inspires me. She has fought relentlessly for the poor and families in our society. I pray that she is elected to US Senator; she will shine in this role.
Submitted by Liz Gill on: March 5, 2012 My daughters inspire me. One is an oncology nurse and the other works for Planned Parenthood. I know they are making a difference in people's lives.
Submitted by Marsha Cole on: March 5, 2012 What a question... In light of the lack of Human Rights seen in Chins and Tibet with atrocities too numerous to mention. I will concentrate on the current Tibetan Holocaust. This Genocide executed by the Chinese Communist Party. To date, it is approximated that 1.8 MILLION Tibetans have been murdered by the Chinese. This does not take into account the MILLIONS tortured. Including FORCED sterilizations of women, taken screaming from there homes (7,000 from 3/11- 7/11) ALONE in one Town! So after thinking, right on the tip of ny tongue are the Tibetan School who self-immolated Saturday followed by the Mother of four who self-immolated Sunday. I don't have their names yet. You understand Communist China does not allow ANY media in Tibet! All of the news we hear is from the Chinese Communist Party's Commuinication Bureau. Sadly, when these deaths were reported, the locations were Geopoliticalky reported as being in China! Tibet is NOT in China! They died so we would break the "Sound of Silence" ~ I cannot even give you their names...
Submitted by lela morgan on: March 5, 2012 My mother was one of my biggest inspirations. My Father died when i was three weeks old and my mother raised 8 children by herself. she was the strongest woman i knew but yet so gentle and kind and loving. I greatly admire Hilary Clinton and nancy Pelosi. there are really so may strong women i admire it is impossible to just pick a few. God Bless all the women of the world
Submitted by diane nero on: March 5, 2012 the first step in ferminininzation hearpy s determinining at what speed and what the individual want to achieve and what heakth consideration may play a factor in progress most individual had to coem to the us for complete fermininination and desired a medical programs that would achieve thir goals quickly while maintain ones good health naturaly inday to day practice there are many varaitions onthe the theme hereae looking at te typical regimens thst being complete ferminininzation the maxiumum inhe shorts tepiod of time the fewest undesirbale side-efect both physical and emotional when looking at the process achieveing female attributes such as eleent development fulness in the hips softer textureinth skin etc and ridding oneself of mae attributes such as exesive muscalar uer body developmnt body paten hair loss of scalp beard growt etc resounces fo paying for transgener healthcare programs job placement iam expeeincing discrimination support goup network group web-site register 23222/grand opening of legends
Submitted by Ramesh Manghirmalani on: March 5, 2012 There is no shortage of amazing women in wheelchairs in this world. These strong women have the power to motivate us and meeting one even helped lift my depression in the initial phase of my injury. There are women I’ve known about for years, like Auti Angel and Wendy Crawford, both paralyzed who’ve went on to do some amazing things, and then there are the new women I’m constantly discovering whenever everyday online. There’s always another amazing woman out there to learn more about. Here are two such inspirational women: One woman, an ex model and actress who’s inspired me for years and the other, a wife and violinist, who I just discovered last week

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