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October 11, 2020

Ms. Foundation for Women on International Day of the Girl

Ms. Foundation for Women on International Day of the Girl

NEW YORK (October 11, 2020) – Ms. Foundation for Women’s President and CEO Teresa C. Younger and the Director of the Girls Fund, Shawnda Chapman, released the following statements on International Day of the Girl:

Teresa C. Younger on girls’ empowerment in early stages:

“At the Ms. Foundation for Women, we celebrate girls’ resilience and strength today, and every other day of the year. We recognize the leaders we look up to today were once girls themselves who had someone who believed in them. This empowerment should start at a young age and it is our turn to create a space where girls’ voices will be heard. We know society will be better because of it. 

“It’s especially crucial that we support the activation and engagement of new generations of girls whose formative years have been shaped by paradigm shifts like the #MeToo, TIME’S UP, and Black Lives Matter movements. We’ve seen girls take to the streets and lead on the frontlines of critical issues like gun violence, environmental justice, and sexual harassment; they are fighting for their future and it is time we listen to them. 

“From our latest research, Pocket Change: How Women and Girls of Color Do More with Less, we’ve seen how girls, especially girls of color, are often discounted. We urge everyone to invest in their leadership. For the last six years, we have been intentionally lifting up the work of girls with partners like Grantmakers for Girls of Color and the Black Girls Freedom Fund, and now with our own Girls Fund Initiative, because we have long recognized the value of their voices. 

“The Ms. Foundation calls on philanthropy to invest in girls in order to make the most transformative change in our political, social, and economic structures. We are on the precipice of a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which roughly half of humanity can be seen as an equal partner in resolving developing crises and conflicts. We need to provide girls these opportunities and instill in them that they, too, have a say in the world.”

Shawnda Chapman on the importance of elevating the leadership of girls in today’s world:

“Girls are fighting for a world with clean air and water, a world with access to healthy food and safe housing, a world free from sexual violence and a world where their power and possibilities are not limited by race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disabilities or any other identities. At the same time, we know that girls, particularly girls of color, live at the intersection of many systems of oppression and they face tremendous social and structural barriers including violence in their schools and communities, disturbing patterns of policing and significant barriers to educational achievement, as well as economic and political equality.

“Girls don’t just want to see change in their communities around these issues, they want to generate it, and they aren’t waiting around for our permission to begin. The Girls of Color Initiative at the Ms. Foundation hopes to shift power back to girls to create the world they want to live in, by highlighting, advancing, and investing in their organizing and leadership.”

Ms. Foundation spokespeople are available for interviews by phone or video from NYC. To schedule, please contact Sunshine Sachs at [email protected].


For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in women’s lives. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world where every person’s worth and dignity are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.