My Experience Attending the Girl Up Leadership Summit
“We need to talk.”
A bold declaration challenging women and girls to discuss modern day issues and step up to new challenges, those four defiant words were the theme of this year’s summit, hosted by Girl Up.
Girl Up is an organization by the United Nations aiming to empower young girls. As a part of their ongoing campaign, the organization hosted a three-day online leadership summit for girls, open to anyone who signed up. The summit took place from July 13 to 15, starting at 7:00 am and lasting until 7:30 pm, with a few breaks in between. With thousands of participants from almost every country, as well as renowned guest speakers and informational workshops, the event was a huge success.
The first two days of the summit featured seminars with speakers and panels. A few of the memorable guest include Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Hillary Clinton, and Sheryl Sandberg, who gave inspirational speeches on topics such as the need for more women leaders and the youth of today. Most of these seminars lasted between two and three hours, consisting of several speeches and discussions.
The panel discussions featured various women leaders from across the world, ranging from founders, authors, CEO’s, and activists. Various topics were covered, such as the intersection between feminism and racism, the LGBTQ+ community, and women’s roles in issues such as climate change and poverty. Each discussion addressed a different angle that was a variation of the overarching theme of women. One thing I appreciated was the diversity in the panels, which included people of all different races, genders, ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Within every session, the new perspectives consistently held my interest.
As a follow-up to the seminars, hour-long workshops were offered to the participants, each with six options that they could choose from. These workshops ranged from lessons on how women could run for leadership positions to features of women in business and sports. On the first day, I attended a self-defense class and a college workshop, and on the second day, a session about sharing messages through art, as well as how to bring activism online. The workshops taught me how to apply what I gained from the seminars into my work and daily life, providing pragmatic and useful ways to elevate my own voice.
Overall, I was incredibly inspired by the summit, and after every session ended, I had an “I can do anything” kind of feeling from what I had learned that day. I was amazed by all of the women who demonstrated so much zeal and dedication for what they cared about, even at such a stand-still time, and I felt inclined to do the same.
The seminars have been recorded and uploaded to Youtube, and are now accessible to the public. The Girl Up leadership summit was a worthwhile and empowering experience, and I would highly encourage everyone to watch the seminars and attend the program in coming years.