The Twitter chat used the hashtag #EmpoweringGirls and commenced by asking participants what empowerment meant to them. The opinions varied from supporting girls with a safe environment with equitable contexts which is free from culture constraints to encouraging them to do what they like even if it is just hot yoga. Some answers stressed the importance of education while some highlighted the significance of freedom. The second question was about International Day of the Girl Child’s theme of 2019, ‘Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable’. The discussion revolved around how cultural norms stop girls from becoming confident, courageous and empowered. Participants stated that cultural norms not only hamper the growth of a girl but also sometimes promote violence and abuse. Furthermore, the stereotype of girls being a certain way often discourages them to discover their true selves and the patriarchal nature of society affects their possibility of reaching full potential.
The next question was about how families, schools and communities can take actions to advance gender equality and girl’s empowerment. The importance of education was once again stressed along with the significance of girls receiving equal opportunities just like boys. Cultural norms that more often than not hinder equality should be done away with, as they are violent and damaging. The fourth question was about the role of storytelling in encouraging girls to feel “Unscripted and Unstoppable”. Representation was one of the key responses received on this topic as only when girls are represented more, they are able to relate to the various walks of life. The focus was on how stories did not necessarily need to be of success, not asking for perfection was also one of the major aims of girl empowerment. Discussions on how families and communities could take specific actions to support girl empowerment were also carried out. One of the major concerns was how girls are to be respected when they come up with their opinion and instead of shutting them down, it is suggested to listen to their perspectives and how a loving and supporting would also lead to good and safe space for girl empowerment.
The last subject was about how empowering girls would accelerate the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal no 5, “Achieve Gender Equality”. It was opined that empowerment and equality could go hand in hand and it is not the responsibility of a single-gender but that everyone should work towards achieving equality. The 45-minute chat ended with the emphasis on a holistic development that can only be sought after if everyone works for the empowerment of girls even in the smallest way possible.
A TweetChat by SayItForward.org