District 9400 has appointed the Assistant Ambassadors for Empowering girls: 
an initiative of RI President Shekhar Mehta
 
When women thrive, all of society benefits. Underpinning our efforts for 2021-2022 is Rotary’s focus on empowering girls and ensuring their access to education, resources, services and opportunities.
 
Inspired by RI President Shekhar Mehta, we must use our belief as Rotarians that diversity, equity and inclusion is critical in all we do as a compass to guide this work, so that future generations of women leaders will have the tools they need to succeed.
 
From poverty and hunger to lack of education and employment opportunities, violence against women and access to decision making, RI Pres Shekhar says “there are many issues that girls face in different parts of the world, and you as leaders will ensure that we try and mitigate the disadvantage of the girl that they may have.”
 
Research has shown that over 140 million girls are not in school. According to UNICEF, one in 10 school-going girls in Africa misses school or drops out because of a lack of access to sanitary products. Data from 68 countries indicates that a woman’s education is a key factor in determining a child’s survival, that only 39% of rural girls attend secondary school, and that, of the world’s 796 million illiterate people, women make up more than two thirds.
 
We need to focus on Education and provide access to sanitary wear, as these empowered girls are key to breaking the cycle of poverty for families around the world. They will stand up for their rights, marry and have children later in life and are more likely to have healthier and better educated children who will earn higher wages – helping to break the cycle of poverty. Every additional year of primary school increases girls’ eventual wages by 10-20%.
 
Let’s raise awareness about the exploitation of vulnerable girls. More rural women experience domestic violence and yet few seek services. Eighty percent of human trafficking victims are girls. It often starts with child, early and forced marriage or school-related gender-based violence.  
 
Educated women are more likely to have greater decision-making power within their households. Let’s encourage our girls to be smart, to study science and mathematics, to have a positive body image, to step into leadership positions.
 
As people of action, we will be helping communities to break the cycle of poverty. By helping girls access quality education, we ensure economic independence, food security, resilience, environmental sustainability and a better world for all.
 
Our call to action is to leave no girl behind. Every Rotary Club should implement at least one Empowering Girls project this year. Set up a Global Grant by focusing on Health, Education or Economic Independence.  Partner a Rotary Action group, share best practices, collaborate with other clubs and civil society. Showcase and share their story.  Take that first step for the future of our girls today.
 
Share your club’s Empowering Girls project, any additional opportunities and collaboration with IPDG Annemarie Mostert, Zone22 Region 28 Empowering Girls Ambassador, on annemarie@rotary9400.org.za