On Thursday, October 7th, YW Calgary celebrated our second annual International Day of the Girl event.  Joined by many, we had the honour of hearing from YW leaders and team members, our community and four inspiring women. Our speakers shared their personal stories, the hardships they have overcome, what helped them find success, and what they are doing now to make positive change and lead the next generation.

Here is some empowering advice, inspiration and action items from our speakers that we hope will inspire you:

Alexandra Ford
Prevention Specialist and Survivor Advisor, The Laughing Survivor 

Follow along with Alexandra @thelaughingsurvivor on Instagram

Celebrate all that you are. Don’t let the world tell you that you have to give up one part of yourself in order to celebrate another part of yourself. The sparkles, the blemishes, the wins and the missteps. They are all you and they are all valuable.

  • Check your language and use strong, uplifting words for women.
  • Drop tropes from conversations such as “like a girl” or addressing a woman as a “girl”.
  • Get talking! Be willing to jump in and ask questions, share ideas and start conversations.
  • These may seem like small changes, but language is packed with power and in the long run, will make an impact.

Christine Ward
Renewable Energy Lead – Radicle

Follow along with Christine at @christine_uu on Instagram

Young girls need to see future opportunities for themselves so they can strive to “be” that.

  • Watch the film “This Changes Everything” on Netflix and pay attention to the future opportunities and inspirational thoughts as you watch.
  • Change your mindset and others’ mindsets about what it means to “be a girl”.
  • Diversity is the number one distinguishing factor in how girls and women see themselves and this needs to be celebrated.

Alison Springer
Founder of Young Women of Power (YWOP) and a Youth Communications Specialist

Follow along with Alison at @tall_gorgeous_black_girl on Instagram

Compliment each other as women as much as you can. It is easier to see beauty in others than in ourselves and women thrive off of compliments.

  • Speak about the beauty you see in other women, or women in general, as much as possible.
  • Be generous with words of affirmation instead of competing and criticizing.
  • Encourage and inspire rather than tearing one another down.

Alyse Schacter
Pediatrics Resident, University of Calgary & Mental Health Advocate, Public Speaker and Educator

Follow along with Alyse @alysetalia18 on Instagram

Comparison Culture is a real issue and we need to remember everyone is worthy of a path of their own definition.

  • Different doesn’t need to be scary or wrong. Embrace each other’s differences rather than resist or judge one another..
  • Encourage and elevate your peers.
  • Know it’s ok to take your own path in life and for others to do the same.
  • It is important to remember you are worthy of pursuing your dreams.

And some final thoughts on the International Day of the Girl, and what we can all do to better support the women in our lives:

  • Break down barriers.
  • Listen and support one another.
  • Inspire and be a community hero.
  • Work together to build a stronger community.

Our focus at YW has long been to ensure women, and their families are safe, have access to what they need, when they need it and have the skills and confidence to thrive. We also believe we have a role in advocating, for and with women, girls and gender-diverse individuals, to create a brighter future for everyone.

Happy International Day of the Girl!