Advocate Stories

International Day of the Girl Child: Importance of Listening

by Megan Plassmeyer on Oct 10, 2018

From projects like Seen and Heard: Women and Girls in the Midlands, we recognize that the voices of girls, and specifically girls of color, often go unheard in our state. And it’s not because our girls aren’t talking, it’s because we aren’t listening.

We are constantly battling a myth that our young people “don’t know what they need.” This is one of the ways we tell girls early that they are not capable of making the best choices for themselves and their bodies.  As our young people continue to grow, this language morphs into different words with the same meaning. It sounds like “Are you sure you want to wear that?” or “Maybe it’s all in your head.”

We aren’t giving credit where it’s due. Our girls are shaping movements and making platforms that we were unwilling to present to them. They’re making space in places where we said there wasn’t room. Just take a look at the work they’re doing in the activist community.

Today, in honor of International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC), I ask that you take time to consider the ways you are making space and listening to the girls in your classroom, church, and neighborhood. If you are guiding a project that impacts youth consider asking “How are youth voices present in planning?” and “What ways can we put youth in leadership roles?” IDGC was founded to help energize and support opportunities for girls to show leadership and reach full potential, and we all play a role in bringing those voices to the table.

You can also celebrate IDGC by checking out these phenomenal groups that work to support the success of diverse youth, including Girls Rock Columbia, Every Black Girl Inc. (be sure to check out EBG’s #see1backgirl), and Sowing Seeds into the Midlands.


Above piece entitled: “Women Empowerment

Don’t let the door stop you from achieving your goals.

Jayla D., Seen and Heard photovoice project



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