Posted on Nov 20, 2021
Watch Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta's conversation about empowering girls with guests Geoff Adlide, Director of Advocacy & Communications for the Global Partnership for Education, and Elizabeth Usovicz, RI Director and Chair of the Empowering Girls task force.

Equality is a fundamental human right that’s necessary for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. Still, girls and women worldwide face inequities in areas including health and education, and they experience violence and poverty at higher rates than men.
As one of his key initiatives, President Shekhar Mehta is prioritizing projects that focus on improving the health, education, well-being, and economic security of girls across the globe.
The initiative is focused on club-level projects through which Rotary clubs can create positive change in the lives of girls.
Specifically, the initiative challenges clubs to:
  • Engage in a project or projects of their choice that empowers girls.
  • Address the needs and inequities that girls throughout the world face on a daily basis.
  • In addition to implementing a project, monitor and measure the impact of the project.
  • Disseminate and create awareness of Rotary resources and subject matter experts, including but not limited to: Rotary Action Groups, Rotary Foundation cadre and Peace Fellows.
  • Tell the stories of successful projects and their impact to the general public, using a variety of media channels.
  • Share the stories of success and their impact across their region and post them on Rotary Showcase, as well as on social media channels.
This initiative focuses on the empowerment of girls through club and district events and service activities, as well as through RI-sponsored events such as the Rotary International Convention, Rotary Day at the United Nations, presidential conferences, and Rotary Days of Service.
Our purpose is to:
  • Prioritize girls in one or more areas of focus to improve their well-being and allow them to make greater contributions to their communities.
  • Raise awareness of the need to empower girls and work to close the youth gender gap across Rotary activities.
  • Inspire clubs and districts to carry out service projects that aim to empower girls.

Clubs and districts can emphasize the empowerment of girls in events such as Rotary Days of Service, Rotary institutes, community-based projects, district events such as photo or essay awards, other service activities, and through communications such as social media and messages from Rotary leaders. Use the service activities and resources in this brochure to help you prioritize the empowerment of girls.
  • Consider planning events and activities related to 11 October, the International Day of the Girl Child.
  • Plan Rotary Days of Service activities that highlight or focus on the empowerment of girls.
  • Think about how you can apply the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in projects and programs that emphasize gender equity and empower girls.
  • Contact Rotary Action Groups to find resources, guidance, and project ideas for empowering girls in each of their areas of expertise.
  • Advise clubs to use the tags #EmpoweringGirls2021 or #EG2021 on their project posts to the Rotary Showcase Empowering Girls campaign.
  • Work with Rotary partners such as ShelterBox, Habitat for Humanity International, or Mediators Beyond Borders International on projects to empower girls in ways related to their expertise, such as disaster response, affordable and safe housing, or peacebuilding and mediation.
  • Enlist the participation of Peace Fellows, Global Grant Scholars, and Program Alumni.
So...How can YOUR club empower girls?
You do not have to implement a new project or reinvent the Rotary wheel. Each one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus aligns with Empowering Girls. When choosing YOUR club projects or looking at the many great initiatives you are already working on, think about how you can protect, empower, and create equity for girls:
  • Support access to health care and nutrition
  • Ensure access to water, sanitation, and hygiene resources
  • Prevent exploitation, neglect, and physical and emotional abuse
  • Supply menstrual health and hygiene resources
  • Provide access to basic education, skills training, and technology
  • Raise awareness of child labour, child marriage and human trafficking
  • Offer leadership development opportunities to girls: RYLA, club leadership roles in Interact and Rotaract and Rotary clubs
  • Mentorship programs
If you have an ongoing water project, why not adjust the scope of work to help improve the lives of girls in the community?  Measuring your project's impact might be a great way to start!
Remember...metrics are important now more than ever. Measurements and numbers help achieve at least two of Rotary’s Strategic Priorities and Objectives – INCREASE OUR IMPACT and EXPAND OUR REACH. The data the Rotary family collects as part of this initiative will help improve our ability to achieve and measure the impact of what we are already doing. We can then use that data to expand our reach by building awareness of our impact and brand.
So, when you are working on your Empowering Girls projects, please share! Use the hashtag #EmpoweringGirls when posting on social media and be sure to put your completed projects on Rotary Showcase. As President Shekhar has quipped, the Rotary family are great storytellers, but we tend to keep those stories in the family.  That is why entering projects into Rotary Showcase is so vital and should always be considered as an integral part of any club project.
Click here to learn more about the RI Presidential initiative for 2021-2022 and about Empowering Girls.