"We All Belong Here" By IGNITE National Shows The Power Of Encouraging Girls To Be Leaders — VIDEO
For the first time in American history, a woman is a major party nominee for President, and with any luck, she won't be the last. So how can we help ensure more girls aspire to leadership? A new video from IGNITE National shows what encouraging girls to be meek does — and what could happen if, instead, we told them to be bold. Because how can girls know that they can grow up to be President if all we do is tell them otherwise?
Women make up half of the country, but we lag far behind when it comes to leadership positions, including in government. According to a February 2016 report from the non-profit organization Catalyst, women are only 19 percent of the House of Representatives and 20 percent of the Senate — and things don't get much better at lower levels of government. Women are about 25 percent of state legislators and about 18 percent of mayors in cities with over 30,000 residents.
In other words, the lack of women in elected office at the national level isn't just an issue with national elections — it's also a problem all the way down. And if women can't get their start in local or state government, it's that much harder to progress to the national level. Society conditions men — specifically straight, white, cisgender men — that they can do anything or be anything, but we certainly don't treat girls the same way.
But what if all that changed?
In the video for IGNITE National, which aims to "build political ambition when girls and young women are forming their identities and aspirations," a girl with ribbons in her hair and an American flag stretched out behind her gives a press conference about what she could be — just like the president she longs to be. And the options she lays out are starkly different. She could go through life being told to be quiet, to get along with people and not make waves. She could be called "bossy" instead of a leader.
Or things could be different. “What if," she asks, "grown-ups like my mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, and even my teachers just told me that I belonged here? I would believe them.”
It's a powerful message — and it's a true one. We do all belong here. And we owe it both to our children and to ourselves to remind the world of that fact.
Images: IGNITE National/YouTube (2)