A Tale of Three Interns: Stand Up for Girls, Stand Up for Strength

Sara Davidow, Research & Development Intern

We’ve just finished our third week as LitWorld Research and Development Interns. Orientation is over. The real projects are beginning. We spend our days joining different meetings and working on inspiring projects. We get to think about everything from pilot programs that will be unrolled this summer, to long term visualization of where LitWorld will be ten years from now. We are working with an organization that is crucial to the ever globalizing world, while also being exposed to cool, passionate people in the 'City That Never Sleeps.'

On June 16th, we joined a staff meeting to brainstorm ideas for LitWorld's annual advocacy day, Stand Up for Girls (SU4G). SU4G coincides with the International Day of the Girl on October 11th. As an office of all women, we feel strongly about our younger community. Even more so, as an office of human beings, we are passionate about equal rights for all. We broke into small groups and shared our visions and ideas for the day. We discussed rolling out the official website of the HerStory Campaign, increasing our reach on social media, and including male allies to have sustainable change. However, a theme that I felt ripple through the room was about being unapologetic. It’s about standing up quickly, unafraid to rock the boat, to demand change for all the girls in all of our LitClubs all over the world.

It’s time to stop saying sorry. Too often I find that I preface my thoughts by excusing myself before speaking, as if my voice is an inconvenience for others. I diminish my ideas because of the ill-conceived notion that they are not of value. Sure, we must stay culturally appropriate, and sure, sometimes I’m actually expressing my apologies because of a situation or instance. More often than not, however, I am denying my strength. 

The room filled with anecdotes of how women are mistreated because of this inequality. Someone talked about Bye Felipe: the online channel where women can share the messages from hostile men on dating sites. Someone else mentioned how women are statistically less likely to get a job promotion than their male counterparts. Finally the conversation shifted to the Google Chrome extension which checks your browser page for words like “sorry” or "just" to strengthen your voice.

On October 11th, as well as every day before and after, I will Stand Up for Girls. I am trying to stop apologizing for simply being, and instead use my strength to advocate for marginalized girls worldwide. I encourage you, your best friend, your first grade teacher, and your grouchy neighbor to do the same. To make sure you get all of the latest SU4G updates, sign up for our newsletter here by scrolling to the bottom of the page and entering your email address.

In personal news, I’ve taken the wrong subway twice so far. I have unabashedly entered into the Hamilton Lottery (an online service that gives out twenty $10 orchestra seats for each night’s performance to see the musical that swept the Tony Awards this year) every single day. I’ve joined a trivia league with family on Wednesday nights, which I would happily miss, if I won tickets to Hamilton. I’ve signed up for all the free concert and summer events notifications. I have a friend that works in the building next to LitWorld’s and we meet for lunch in the City Hall park occasionally.