Strength and Determination: Pass it On (U.N. International Day of the Girl)

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In honor of the U.N. International Day of the Girl, we wanted to share a video from The Girl Effect that made us get misty-eyed. Get inspired and PASS IT ON!

By Jessica Schimm (Assistant Editor, Women 2.0)

Behold! Today is the U.N. International Day of the Girl! How awesome is that?! (REALLY AWESOME!).

This morning, while talking about this most epic day, we -the Women 2.0 team- found this video on The Girl Effect. At the end, we all looked at each other a bit speechless, we had gotten chills (and perhaps a mildly watery eye). Why? This video captures strength and determination in young girls around the world, traits that make the female founders, technologists, innovators, investors and entrepreneurs that we, team Women 2.0, support. Let us not forget that all accomplished women leaders were once girls too.

Because we were so inspired and touched, we asked some incredible women social entrepreneurs to answer three questions following the video. We suggest you watch the video first and read these women’s responses below. Let’s see how many women we can inspire. Here’s your dose of strength and determination: pass it on.

Lily Lui (Co-Founder, PublicStuff)

Lily_LiuWhat did you want to be when you were a girl?

My family cleverly convinced me to be a garbage collector and as a part of my training, I inherited most of the household chores. An incredibly helpful life lesson, on many levels!

What was your “ahah” moment to making your dream happen (whether it was the same dream you had when you were little or not)? 

It was the moment I realized that communication in cities was broken and it wasn’t going to solve itself. I was driven by the need to bring cost-effective tools to increase transparency in cities worldwide. [Additionally], when I realized the importance and value of finding supporters (investor, client, user, etc) that shared our vision and goal.

Why are you excited for the future of women and girls? What is the greatest strength women and girls bring to innovation that can impact the world? 

We are walking dichotomy’s– able to be soft and strong, playful and serious, without compromise and as such, are changing the face of every industry we touch.

 Shikoh Gitau  (Founder, Ummeli)

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 3.28.49 PMWhat did you want to be when you were a girl?

When I was a little girl, I saw this woman graduate with her PhD on TV, and I knew deep within me [that] I wanted to get one and I told my mother as much. I was 11 at the time and I thought I wanted to be a medical doctor. As I got older, I got more exposed to the challenges of the world [and] realized while I could not stand the sight of blood, what I really wanted is to change the world, reduce pain and suffering, make people smile and hopeful, and this is why I am where I am today.

What was your “ahah” moment to making your dream happen (whether it was the same dream you had when you were little or not)? 

I guess the night I came back to my apartment several weeks after deploying the first version of Ummeli (then my research project) having just heard that someone had gotten a job that raised their income levels by 350%. It hit me, “I can really change the world, I can make life for other people better, this thing is not just a dream, it is a reality.” I cried for two straight days and then resolved to dedicating my life to the business of changing lives.

Why are you excited for the future of women and girls? What is the greatest strength women and girls bring to innovation that can impact the world? 

For me, it is our feminine and nurturing nature, this brings a totally different perspective to the table, we bring 150% of ourselves to the table, something that you rarely see in a male dominated room. You see women talk about life and work on the same breath, and realize, it is more than multitasking, it is living, laughing and loving it.

Leslie Silverglide (Co-Founder, Wello)

Lesley_Silverthorn_Marincola_Entrepreneurs_for_Social_ChangeWhat did you want to be when you were a girl?

 I wanted to change the world for the better – I just didn’t know how I would do it.

What was your “ahah” moment to making your dream happen (whether it was the same dream you had when you were little or not)? 

When I realized that I was in control of my future and that with hard work I could do anything I put my mind to.

Why are you excited for the future of women and girls? What is the greatest strength women and girls bring to innovation that can impact the world? 

Women are building the world for women. We understand what we need and want and are working together to innovate. Women recognize and leverage the advantages of collaboration, epitomize resourcefulness and exude perseverance.

We hope this inspires you just as much as it inspires us. Answer these questions below and pass on the strength and determination.

Photo by World Bank Photo Collection / Flickr.

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Jessica Schimm (@JessicaSchimm) is the assistant editor at Women 2.0. She is a recent graduate of San Francisco State where she earned a B.A. in journalism and was the editor-in-chief of SF State’s Her Campus chapter. She has a strong interest in women’s issues and writes about them on her blog Women Who Run San Francisco.