Online network empowers young women

A global movement is building that is inspiring girls to take control over their minds, bodies, hearts and actions.

V-Girls is a safe online network where users can connect and discuss issues that matter to them through posting and sharing articles, monologues, poetry, photos and videos that capture their feelings and thoughts about being a young woman today.

Members can sign up and join forums to explore issues such as the social, political and economic challenges faced by girls internationally, sexuality, body image, friendship and peer pressure, sports, safe relationships and how to positively affirm their emotional lives.

Members are supported by a dedicated V-Girls Action Team, a dynamic international mix of girls from the USA, Africa and the Middle East who have experienced the benefits of self-expression and now inspire others to take action in their own communities.

V-Girl activists are starting book clubs, pushing girl-aware academia, creating art, writing, organising anti-bullying and body-positive events, inviting speakers, showing films and promoting female empowerment through education fairs.

“Girls dare to hope that the world will get better. They dare to believe they can change the world,” writes V-Girl Molly Houlahan, from the US. “I believe if I empower enough girls, that we can literally change the fabric of the future. Girls are changing the world every day in big and small ways.”

Nailois Kamwaro, from Nairobi, Kenya, agrees: “Girls are changing the world through being empowered on their rights, education and given a chance to make decisions. When girls are empowered, the society is empowered and the whole world is empowered.”

The initiative arose following the global development of V-Day, where every Valentine’s Day, groups promote a vision of a world free from violence against women and girls, where women live safely and freely and spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving.

The V-Girls network itself was initiated and inspired by Eve Ensler, playwright, performer and author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been performed in more than 140 countries and translated into over 48 languages. Eve’s most recent book, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, was written to celebrate the authentic voice inside every girl and is a call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, empower themselves and follow their dreams.

The book explores the struggle between remaining strong and true to oneself and conforming to society’s expectations. Reclaiming an emotional life is an act of strength not a weakness, it argues.

“An emotional creature is a person who is beautiful in all aspects of the word, and has one goal in life, which is to live happily in the standards set by herself and not the standards created by society,” says Amy Leon from New York, who is part of the V-Girls Action Team.

Lulu Mickelson, a member of the network, adds: “I firmly believe that girls play a unique and pivotal role in improving our world and allow compassion and hope into our societies. Girls have a deep, unadulterated connection with their emotions. They understand that the world is interconnected, that change is possible, that being who we are and feeling what we feel is justified.”

Eve is leading a series of workshop productions of I Am an Emotional Creature at Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 15-27 July. V-Girls members are invited to submit their photos, videos and text to be incorporated in the set design.

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