The month of March brings two special occasions to celebrate women: International Women’s Day on March 8th and Women’s History Month for the duration of the month. It is a time to both celebrate present day women across the globe and to remember the positive contributions women made in the past.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented the Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage. This award recognizes the contributions to women’s rights and empowerment of women from all over the world. First Lady Michelle Obama and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer co-hosted the event. Please view the International Women of Courage Awards webcast. More information on last year’s awards ceremony.
Since women’s empowerment begins at childhood, now is the perfect time to give the spotlight to a longstanding organization for girls in Canada and the United States called Girls Inc. This non-profit organization was founded in 1864 with a purpose of “inspir[ing] all girls to be strong, smart, and bold,” and teaches girls ages 6-18 skills in the areas of money management, academic achievement, health and wellness, and understanding the media. Girls Inc. helps girls develop an interest in math, science, technology, and engineering. Presently, there are local Girls Inc. branches in 350 cities across the United States, Alberta, and Ontario. Learn more about Girls Inc.
In October 2011, the U.S. Embassy partnered with the Great Canadian Theatre Company to sponsor a community outreach program to empower local girls in conjunction with the production of “Amelia, the Girl Who Wants to Fly.” The girls were treated to presentations by female members of the aviation industry (commercial pilot, engineer, air traffic controller, aeronautical engineer and member of the 99’s), with an aim of making them aware of different career opportunities and that they too can have aspirations and achieve their dreams and ‘tough the sky.’ The program concluded with a performance of Amelia, the Girl who Wants to Fly – a play about Amelia Earhart, the woman pilot.