Empowering Girls Around The World Through Storytelling

Books and organizations are giving girls platforms to talk about their everyday lives.

Empowering Girls Around The World Through Storytelling
Algonquin Young Readers / "Girlhood"

International Women's Day celebrates equality and the achievements of women around the world. But beyond the changemakers and headliners, everyday girls are getting platforms to talk about their everyday lives. 

Masuma Ahuja: "We're all used to finding the girl whose story represents the headline or statistic, and I wanted to get away from that and just let girls tell their own stories and tell us what it is to be them." 

Journalist Masuma Ahuja is the writer behind "Girlhood," a book that tells the real stories of 30 teen girls from 27 different countries in their own words. The stories are like diary entries — covering topics like school, friendship, and growing up. And Ahuja hopes readers learn how cultures are different — and similar — to theirs.

Ahuja:  "There're always points of commonality that are constantly surprising in this project, and that's what I love about all of the universal — like giving normal people space to tell their stories."

"Girlhood" has since expanded into a digital media organization for girls around the world — similar to past projects from UNESCO, the International Storytelling Center and Girl Rising.

The "Girl Rising Storytelling Challenge" was held during last year's International Day of The Girl to highlight "new narratives to build a more accurate, tolerant and inclusive picture of our world."

For this year's International Women's Day, Ahuja hopes more people will continue keeping the perspective in mind.   

Ahuja: "Think about how you're going to change the stories you consume throughout the years. And bring more girls and women's voices into your media consumption and into your understanding of the world. Don't just do it today, but do it every day."