Serving, Contribution, Calling

You Are The Girl Effect

By November 21, 2010 11 Comments

Throughout last week, I was immersed in two very different worlds. One was the reality of many parts of the developing world, described in the book Half the Sky.
In that world, girls’ sexual slavery is rampant and domestic violence normative; reporting rape leads to being gang-raped by the police, and young girls commonly sell their bodies for school tuition money. While heroic men and women make a difference every day in these communities, because of political and cultural barriers, they are largely devoid of women’s voices, leadership and power.
And then, in stark contrast, there was the world of the 130+ bloggers in the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign. That world was full of educated, free women’s voices, and voices of men who want to see women empowered.
Our posts about The Girl Effect were filled with heartbreak about what’s happening to children around the world. They expressed love for daughters and granddaughters, and appreciation for the freedoms they have. They were filled with action — campaigns to raise funds and spread the message.
As I read Julie Daley’s beautiful second Girl Effect post, the contrast between these two worlds struck me. Here I was, reading the words of an intelligent, articulate woman whose work is transforming our culture to more fully include and honor women and women’s wisdom. And this woman is also bringing that work to one of the world’s prestigious universities where she teaches. Seen against the backdrop of women’s total oppression in other parts of the world, I felt just how remarkable it is that Julie can do this work.
And then I got it. We, in the developed world, are in the midst of our own Girl Effect.
Beginning generations before our own, women were granted access to education, political rights and employment. The world I live in, one with two women senators representing my state, bookshelves full of women writers, music with women’s voices — all of that is the fruits of our own Girl Effect, of investing in women’s education and employment. As a result, women have been empowered to share their gifts, provide a better life for their chidlren, and create a more balanced, healthy society. That’s our Girl Effect. We’re on the other side of the timeline with it.
Our own Girl Effect can be seen in the transformation of religious life through leaders like Ronna Detrick and Kristin Tennant.
Our own Girl Effect is the evolution of culture through female writers and artists like Rose Deniz and Susannah Conway.
Our own Girl Effect is hearts being healed by women counselors, coaches, and teachers like Marianne Elliott and Lianne Raymond, who make it their work to help others find wellness.
Our own Girl Effect is female entrepreneurs like Tara Gentile and her mother bettering their families’ lives, helped by allies like Charlie Gilkey and Molly Gordon.
And our own Girl Effect is women change-makers like Heather Plett and Desiree Adaway, working directly to bring women’s wisdom to the fore.
We in the developed world are living in the middle of our own Girl Effect journey.
Because you, as a woman, had access to education and human rights, you have become a change-maker in your family, workplace and community. You are The Girl Effect, in action.
Think you aren’t a change-maker because you aren’t demonstrating in the streets or leading an organization? Read about the total suppression of women’s voices in other parts of the world, and you will gain an appreciation for the enormous impact you are having on our society simply by being you: by saying what you say, buying what you buy, voting how you vote, and showing up for the people in your life as you do.
And if you are a man who benefited from the education of a mother, grandmother, or other woman in your life, you too are the Girl Effect.
Jen Louden reminds us to savor the world, even as we work to save it. This is what I want to savor today. That I live in a society already transformed by its own Girl Effect. A society that yes, still falls far, far short of women’s full equality and participation, but that is undoubtedly being transformed by a flourishing of women’s voices.
Acknowledging that abundance matters. From here, we can appreciate. And smile. And rest in all that already is. That gives us what we need to sustain energy for bringing about The Girl Effect in the developing world.
So I ask you: to sit in silence with this, this chorus of 130+ Girl Effect voices, with the strength that gathers all around you, and with the awareness of all that remains to do. And then to ask yourself, “What am I called to do?”
PS – The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign is extended! Please continue to write posts and encourage other bloggers to join in this week! All the info is HERE.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Julie Daley says:

    Your insights here are remarkable…that we are experiencing our own Girl Effect. In my experience, it hasn’t been easy, but a big shift is happening. I find myself bringing in little pieces here and there, adding them to the more traditional ways we have looked at wisdom in the past. Sometimes I label them feminine, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I bring attention to the difference in men and women, sometimes I simply invite out the feminine in all of us.
    It’s an amazing time to be alive. A time when this huge transformation is occurring, bringing us into a more balanced worldview. The transition is not without its destruction, but for something new to be born, the old must transmute.
    I am truly honored to be a part of this campaign with you.
    Many blessings,

  • Liz says:


    This post reminds me of an article I used to give my undergrads back when I was teaching at a university. It was an article from Ms. Magazine about the reaction of college students to the notions of ‘feminism.’ In general, they thought that the battles had been won. They had grown up in a post- Title IX world, and didn’t see any obvious barriers to their ability to do whatever they wanted in the world.

    I always saw this as a good news/bad news paradox. On the one hand it was great that they felt so confident that they could have the lives they wanted. On the other hand, I worried that by not seeing the invisible barriers, they would feel like it was their fault when things didn’t work out exactly as they had planned.
    So it’s amazing to be on the other side of the timeline as you put it- and to have the resources (of time, education, and our own money) to do something to help our sisters around the globe. These are things that couldn’t be taken for granted even a generation ago.
    It truly is an exciting time to be a woman, connected with other women!

  • wow, tara, you’re right. i hadn’t thought of it that way. the girl effect HAS shaped our own culture in such a way that we are now poised to help others. that makes me feel really excited because it demonstrates progress IS happening — sometimes progress seems lacking when i hear the tragic stories of girls and women without opportunity and abused.

    thanks for this insightful post.

    and thanks again for spearheading the girl effect blogging campaign. your great idea has touched many people.

    thanks ~

  • Beth says:

    It is true what you say about how different things are for women in the “post-feminist” area. Many have and continue to have the benefit of education that improves the chances for bringing their wisdom to the world. Still I can not completely celebrate this fact knowing that there are still thousands of young girls who go to sleep hungry every night in this country that is part of the so called “developed” world, who lay awake in fear of being raped by their fathers, brothers, mother’s boyfriends…little girls who are raised in a world surrounded by images of “beauty” that exploit their bodies and teach them to use their sexuality as a weapon of power to push their way through the “glass ceilings and walls”. There are women who are not able to freely express who they are because they love another women and are denied the same legal rights that their friends, family and neighbours take for granted. They are beaten up, and verbally abused by other women not just men. There are single women all over the country who are struggling every day to protect their children and themselves from being hurt because they have been abandoned by “deadbeat fathers” and the community of privilege who would rather blame than examine how we are exploiting our rights and privilege as educated people to hide and deny how we are contributing to the problem.

    I wonder if we have really come so far or just become more a sophisticated version of the same thing. What have we really developed?

    There is a lot to be said for all the efforts that are being made by you and all the blogger in their support of the Girleffect. I think it is very important work that we all make an effort to contribute to in whatever way possible.

    We must remember there is women’s wisdom everywhere not just amoung the educated and privileged. The girls we are supporting are already very wise in ways that we can not imagine or begin to understand because we can not live in their world. Still when we take time to listen and really hear what they have to show us and share with us we will know the value of that wisdom.

    It is in the joining of all of our wisdom that true change can and is happening. It is not about charity that somehow rids us of our guilt rather an action of humility and faith that we can and will make a difference because we care and refuse to turn a blind eye and retreat into our comfortable lives.

  • Jasmine Lamb says:

    Tara, I love that you shine a light or remind us of all the women’s voices we stand upon to be able to be hear doing what we are doing. It is true as Beth says above, “We must remember there is women’s wisdom everywhere not just amoung the educated and privileged. The girls we are supporting are already very wise in ways that we can not imagine or begin to understand because we can not live in their world.” It is also true that a lot of very wise woman and girls still don’t have a place in the world to share their voice. Those of us who do must use it. There is always more to do, but there is also much to present with and celebrating in this moment. What has inspired me most about this whole campaign is that it hasn’t felt like it is coming from a place of guilt at all–but a place of joy and sharing. Thanks for spreading the love for all us girls the world over.

  • Tara, Thanks for writing an insightful and thought-provoking post that generated equally thoughtful comments. In an effort not to repeat what’s already been said, one of the things that struck me most about your post was your closing: “What are we called to do?” That’s a question that I’ve been grappling with this past year and one that I think is important for us all to consider continually. I think that if each of us can contemplate and then act on our answers to that question for ourselves throughout our lives, we’ll model what it looks like to do that for others and some of us will undoubtedly help others to have the freedom, resources and will to do the same. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Lance says:

    What a shining and true example YOU are…of the Girl Effect, in action. Through what you have created here in this space, through the life you live, and through the impact you have on those whom you touch with your presence! That is a gift…YOU are a gift.

    Thank you so much for leading the charge in getting so many people involved in giving EVERY girl what she so rightly deserves.

    You are an amazing, amazing light of goodness in our world.

    Love and peace,

  • […] of a bigger campaign sweeping across peoples hearts and blogs. To read over 150 bloggers posts on The Girl Effect visit Tara Sophia Moir’s, Wise Living Blog. To read how our campaign on this blog is changing the […]

  • Experience The Girl Effect HERE and NOW! | Geronimocoaching's Blog says:

    […] third example is a reflection on “post feminism” I read on The Wise Living Blog “It is true what you say about how different things are for women in the “post-feminist” […]

  • […] third example is a reflection on “post feminism” I read on The Wise Living Blog “It is true what you say about how different things are for women in the “post-feminist” […]

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