Women’s Leadership Project Celebrates International Day of the Girl Child and Empowers Women on Campus

STORY BY CORIE LYNN

Domestic violence is a reality faced by many individuals across the United States and the world.

This year, the Women’s Leadership Project at Fort Hays State brought awareness to this issue through the International Day of the Girl Child.

To do this, the WLP set up a table in the Union to provide information to students. According to the organization’s information, this international event was created by the United Nations in 2011. Its express purpose is to better the lives of girls around the world, to encourage them to achieve their goals, and assist them in reaching their potential.

The information provided by the Women’s Leadership Project also stated that the International Day of the Girl Child is “a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.”

The Women’s Leadership Project followed through with this statement by pairing the International Day of the Girl Child with the organization’s annual Red Flag Campaign.

“This year we’re trying to tie in the theme with domestic violence because the theme [of the International Day of the Girl Child] this year is about job eligibility for women,” said WLP student coordinator Brooklynn Bracelin.

It is not every year, however, that the WLP participates in the international holiday. The theme of the International Day of the Girl Child changes every year; the WLP chose this to celebrate this year because of the connection to the Red Flag Campaign.

While the international goal this year is to give girls more opportunities to learn as well as prepare them for the workforce, according to Bracelin, this and the Red Flag Campaign allowed the group to start an on-campus discussion about sexual harassment in the workplace.

The purpose of such a discussion is to create safer work environments for women, but the Women’s Leadership Project sees this as a discussion for everyone at Fort Hays.

“Our mission statement is actually to educate, inspire, and empower women, but we feel that we can’t do that until we feel safe on campus, so our main goal is to make sure that everyone—women and men―feels safe on campus,” said Bracelin.

Besides the Red Flag Campaign, the WLP hosts events throughout the semester, many of which focus on women’s empowerment. In the past, this has included One Billion Rising, which is co-hosted by the FHSU dance team.

Another event that WLP is looking to bring back is I Am Enough. For this the WLP partners with the graphic design center to create portraits of participants that encourage personal empowerment.

“We talk about being enough and being comfortable in your own skin,” Bracelin said.

The Women’s Leadership Project will continue to bring awareness to gender issues and promote empowerment through events such as these. The International Day of the Girl Child and the Red Flag Campaign are only a couple ways they work to do this.

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