Ah Monday. We meet again and yet it always feels like it’s the first time.
I woke up slightly discombobulated today. Don’t you just love that word? It sounds like it could mean anything from having a mild headache to heart burn. None of those. I just woke up past my alarm and had to leap into the day. Actually I forgot to set the alarm. First world problems. Oh well. There’s a first time for everything!
There’s also more important and interesting things other than my alarm….
Simon Biles, 21, became the first (African) American woman to win 5 U.S. All-Around Titles at this weekend’s U.S. Gymnastics. The only female gymnast in history to win 4 consecutive world championships (2013-2016). She’s also the first non-teen to win the U.S. women’s all-around since 1971. A Power house at 4 ft 8 inches! Does size matter? Is age just really a number?
Kate Grant, 19, became the first model with Down’s syndrome to win the “Teen Ultimate Beauty of the World” held in Northern Ireland, UK, an international pageant which celebrates diversity and people who are beautiful “inside and out”. If “beauty is only skin deep”, why do we judge each other on appearance?
On August 9, five Nigerian teenage girls, Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye (ages 14 +), won the junior division first place with their FD (fake drug) detector app at the Technovation World Pitch Summit in San Jose, California. Five months before, one of the girls had never used a computer. Why is it a surprise when “girls” win or those from developing countries?
Of course, let’s not forget the “Spice Girls”, the UK Pop band that popularized this term. Their debut album in 1996 became the best-selling album by a female group selling more than 31 million copies worldwide. I remember when it came out!
Still on a musical note, Beyoncé – who also has a woman empowerment song called “Run the World (Girls)” – became the first black woman ever to headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2018, in its nearly twenty years of existence.
That certainly pumped me up when I realised today is 69 days/9 weeks+ to the Marine Corp Marathon in Virginia, US! My first marathon! I’ll be running with “Team Girl Up” – a running program all about girls’ empowerment! They recruit runners for marathons and half-marathons to raise funds that help adolescent girls around the world reach their full potential. This is their first time as a charity for this marathon. I was first in the team to meet my $1,000 fund raising goal (own horn, toot, smiley face). Yes, I am super proud, of my commitment and my training for this cause.
Girl Up is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, and supports UN programs promoting the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries. They currently have resources in five languages and more than 2,200 “Girl Up Clubs” in over 100 countries. Sometimes a girl just needs a chance. I’ve had many in my time.
I remember being in boarding school in Nigeria! The girls back then are my best friends today. We are now (“old girls”) doing what we can to support the young girls in our school. (Bakori for life!!).
Girl Up has impacted the lives of more than 80,000 girls worldwide through its leadership training programs and investments in UN programming for girls.
Why GIRLS? Because “Girls are powerful. Girls have limitless potential. Girls can change the world. And yet in certain places around the world, girls continue to lack access to opportunities” (source, Girl Up website).
Why GIRLS? Because I am a girl of the world, a runner girl, a black girl, a girl with roots in a developing country, a girl from the UK, the world’s fifth-largest economy, a girl “living the American dream”. A girl who can. An alarm really should be the least of my worries.
Just musing on a Monday. Bring on Tuesday!
PS. If you would like to make a donation to Team Girl Up, please visit my fundraising page here. Thank you for your donation!
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Photo credit – Simon Biles (BET),