GLOBAL Girl Power invited community members and change makers who joined together for an inspiring afternoon of dialogue on issues women and girls are facing locally and globally in this century.
Two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. This year’s theme by UN was “Empowering Adolescent Girls and Ending the Cycle of Violence.”
On October 11, Global Girl Power marked the worldwide movement to improve the lives of girls by hosting a community conference at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey. The conference featured a panel of local experts speaking in six areas of concern: violence and safety, health, self-defense, girls and gangs, cyber bullying, and education and empowerment. Education and empowerment in each area was hailed as one of the keys to ensuring freedom and prosperity of females. “It is our job to make our society a livable place so our girls and women can live a life of dignity and respect without the fear of being harassed, abused or worst – get killed,” said Lucky Gill, founder of Global Girl Power.
The event was a great success and along with local youth, parents and organizations many dignitaries from all levels of government attended the conference. The closing remarks were delivered by the Officer in Charge of Surrey RCMP, Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy.
Maureen McGrath, a registered nurse and host on CKNW 980 shared her expertise on the importance of empowering adolescent girls about their health. With a passionate conviction she said she believes women hold the power to end the violence. She encouraged women to take a “SISTA” pledge – meaning “sisters inspiring sisters to achieve.”
Kal Dosanjh, a community activist and law enforcement officer, gave his insight into girls and gangs, and said the failure to adequately address the issue of youth entering gangs will have grave repercussions. The proliferation of girls entering the gang life, directly or indirectly, is alarming. It is absolutely imperative that these girls be given the resources and support services they need to leave this lifestyle.
The violence and safety issue was covered by Giselle Bobinski from Angel Hands Wellness and Lauren Johnson, a counsellor and psychotherapist. Surrey RCMP Constable Shylo Pruyn provided valuable information about resources that are available within our city. Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd, addressed the critical issue of cyber bullying among teens. She talked about the importance of family dinner conversations and said that parents should listen to kids without judgement. Parents need to get educated and be proactive.
“What’s happening no matter who it is, where it is, it should be a priority for all of us to solve those problems. The biggest thing is having belongingness because if it’s happening in Africa or if it’s happening in India we tend to think it’s very far away, but we live in a world that is very interconnected right now,” said Navi Gill, co-founder of Global Girl Power.
The panel moderator was Harpreet Singh.
Partial proceeds from this conference were given to GGP’s local youth ambassador who had pledged to raise $5,000 by December 2014 to provide a clean water resource to women in India.