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GirlzFTW's co-founder creates a global mentorship program for the next generation of gender equality advocates
United Nations Foundation
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This story was originally shared on #EqualEverywhere — a campaign to champion the changemakers working to make equality for girls and women a reality. You can find the original story here.

Priyanka Jaishinghani is a social entrepreneur, journalist, and advocate with a passion for making an impact. As the co-founder of a global mentorship program, GirlzFTW, she works to connect high school and college girls to inspiring mentors. Priyanka is also driving impact through her work as Managing Editor of Conscious Magazine and as a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers community.



What does #EqualEverywhere mean to you?

#EqualEverywhere means closing the gender gap so women have access to equal opportunities.

Why do you advocate for equal rights for girls and women?

Almost 1 billion girls and young women lack the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing labor market. Women remain underrepresented in leadership and management positions both publicly and privately. According to Women, Business and the Law, globally, there are only six countries that give girls the same working rights as men. In addition, only 5% of women hold CEO positions across leading Fortune 500 companies.

These daunting statistics make me want to balance the playing field by investing in women across the globe.

What motivates you to do this work?

Growing up, I lived in the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, India, and the U.S., where I realized that girls and women needed more real life mentors. Indeed, irrespective of geography, girls face similar issues worldwide. My conviction that it is up to us to tackle adverse norms and promote positive role models motivated me to co-create GirlzFTW in 2017 (FTW stands for For The Win). It is gratifying that today, I'm building those very resources and platforms that I wish I had when I was younger.

GirlzFTW made it possible for 16 mentees hailing from India, Canada, and the U.S. to connect with inspiring and powerful mentors to help achieve their goals. Currently, girls participating in our network represent over 70 countries — from Ethiopia to Bangladesh.

What are the main challenges you experience in your work to advance gender equality?

As a global program, GirlzFTW encounters many types of gender inequality and provides a platform through which girls can share their stories. On the one hand, some countries have jumped miles ahead by introducing progressive laws and more tolerant societal norms. On the other hand, women in far too many countries must fight hard to even obtain a seat at the table.

A key lesson I have learned is that the first step toward narrowing the inequality gap is to instill confidence among women and girls by equipping them with the skills they need to speak up for themselves. Strengthening their voices requires concerted effort and deliberate networking.

What progress are you seeing as a result of your work?

Through global mentorship, GirlzFTW is channeling the magic of women every day. We do this by connecting girls in high school and college to inspirational and amazing women from diverse fields, industries, and backgrounds.

In 2019, we hosted the first 'The Girlz, RTW (Run the World) Conference', held as a collaboration between The World With MNR, Trinity College, and GirlzFTW. The event provided girls at the University of Toronto access to training, empowerment, career development advice, and mentorship. Over 100 girls came together to connect and network with like-minded female leaders.

What progress are you seeing in the wider gender equality movement?

Technology and a range of social media platforms are allowing us to amplify our voices beyond the usual advocacy communities that we naturally connect with. We've seen how a single tweet or video can spark a larger movement and create a multiplier effect.

While we have a lot of work ahead of us, women are rising and demanding a seat at the table — whether in politics, board rooms, or in the workplace. It is especially encouraging to see more diverse groups coming together in ways that allow decisions for women to be made by women.

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Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.