Citi Continues Partnership with Girl Rising, A Global Campaign Using Storytelling to Educate and Empower Girls

April 06, 2018
Christina Lowery, CEO, Girl Rising

Since 1987, when the U.S. Congress officially proclaimed March Women's History Month, we have celebrated the lives, contributions and legacies of historically significant women. More than thirty years later, the month-long event has taken on renewed meaning, as we invest in preparing young leaders in the United States to stand as gender equality champions and global progress makers.

Girl Rising is a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of girls and women around the world. Our movement began in 2013 with the release of the "Girl Rising" film, which tells the stories of nine girls growing up in the developing world, and how they confront barriers to their education. This film, highlighting personal perseverance and potential, remains at the heart of the global campaign to change how girls and girls' education are valued.

Though much of our work is still conducted overseas, we also saw a unique opportunity in the United States to support and champion girls' education. Too many young people graduate without an understanding of social justice, global awareness and civic engagement and we found that teachers were desperate to tackle these issues with their students. As a result, we launched the Girl Rising U.S. Educator program on the heels of the film's release and our partnership with Citi has allowed us to take this program to the next level.

Girl Rising has since expanded the breadth of our work: enhancing the curriculum, creating a unique financial empowerment module and developing more effective online training tools for teachers. We went deeper as well by conducting two pilots in Houston and Tampa that reached over 900 boys and girls, many of whom face multiple risk factors and will be the first in their families to graduate from high school.

In learning from Girl Rising's stories about the barriers girls overcome to simply attend schools, students who once lacked motivation are showing greater appreciation for their education. Those who may have never left their own neighborhoods are now aware of events beyond their borders. Others, once unaware of their capacity to make a difference, are gaining the essential skills to be successful in today's rapidly changing world, from gaining a greater appreciation for basic human rights to more practical skills like budgeting and personal advocacy.

To date, we have celebrated progress with Citi employees when they joined us to learn more about investing in gender equality and celebrated the impact these lessons have on local students. Citi employees saw firsthand how Girl Rising encourages kids to believe in their ability to impact change. They cheered on teachers, now more confident in leading discussions about complex global issues, and met administrators and parents who now more fully recognize their role in empowering today's youth, at home and abroad.

Together, with Citi, we're reminded how real change happens community by community and we're excited that this impact will continue. On March 8, as the world celebrated International Women's Day, Citi joined Girl Rising in Los Angeles to announce the next phase of our partnership and we're going global.

This year Citi will serve as the founding leadership partner for the next phase of Girl Rising media content. We have been storytellers since the very beginning of our movement, and long powered by partnerships. Our next phase will be a bold, multimedia series designed to galvanize action in support of girls and gender equality. As the students in our programs know, if it's wrong for a girl from New York City to be denied access to education, it's wrong for any girl, no matter where she is from, to be denied this basic right. And, because across the world girls face barriers to education that boys do not, we know these are stories that still need to be told and shared.

As we continue to advocate so that the world dreams as big for our daughters as we do for our sons, we will move closer toward a future where all young people recognize their power to prompt meaningful change: in their own lives, in their communities and their world.

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