Today is the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child. This year’s theme is ‘Empowering girls for a brighter future’. If you’ve been a part of our Sisterhood journey you will know that this is an essential part of the mandate of Sisterhood for over 20 years. As Bobbie wrote in The Sisterhood book:
“When it comes to womanhood, we all know the world is not perfect and that pockets of humanity still linger in the dark ages, but for so many of us, the barriers have been broken and the walls have been torn down. As women we’ve been correctly welcomed alongside, and the planet is a better place because of the contribution of the feminine heart, soul, and mind.”
We know also that the tide is slowly starting to turn for our young girls. Young women – girded about and encouraged by older women (which is the foundation of our Sisterhood) – are beginning to find their voice; awakening to their value and worth and to the realisation that their voices do matter.
In recent days, we’ve seen young women like 17-year-old Greta Thunberg speaking on the world stage and there are many others like her who may not necessarily have had the media profile but whose voices are important nonetheless like: Autumn Peltier, a 13 year old from Canada advocating for clean water; Mari Copeny, 12 year old who is fundraising to support underprivileged kids in her community; Xiye Bastida, a 17 year old climate activist from Mexico and Leah Namugerwa a 15 year old climate activist from Uganda– girls in their tender teen years from a variety of backgrounds and cultures who are all making a felt difference with their concern and passionate advocacy for our planet in their communities and nations. Whether it’s calling for better stewardship of our God-given planet, calling governments to account for treatment of refugees and asylum seekers or standing with a friend in the school yard against bullying, the young, feminine voice is becoming bold and brave.
Closer to home, at Colour Conference this year we showed a short film of some of our own girls, Willow, Indie and Cohen, (all 9 years old) having profound (and hilarious!) conversations around a table with Indie saying at one point “I’m not afraid to go public speaking.” Coming from a nine-year-old, this is both profound and important. What we are beginning to see is a generation of young girls finding their voice and becoming unafraid to use it to speak out on issues that are close to their heart. It is, in truth, what we have long prayed for and continue to advocate for as a Sisterhood.
This of course is not every child’s reality and we must continue to open our mouths for the rights of those whose voices have not been heard yet, empower them, listen to them and make room for them to share their own stories of hope for their future.
Today we champion both the celebrated, and the forgotten, girls around the world and cheer them on as a global sisterhood to see better days ahead!
For a brighter future!
Head of Social justice Hillsong Australia