It’s almost evening on a typical Tuesday in October and Nydia is on her way to LitClub. After a long commute from her high school in lower Manhattan to her home in Harlem, she looks forward to reconnecting with her friends at the club, laughing over inside jokes, hearing their stories and sharing about her day. On the train, she plugs in her headphones and pulls out the book of poetry she has been reading for her 11th grade English class. She opens to Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, one of her favorite poems so far, and thinks about the personal connections she can make to the piece before she presents it in class at the end of the unit. She loves how everyone can relate to the same poem in different ways, and how that makes her feel like a part of a beautiful, interconnected community.

Twelve thousand miles away in Ahmedabad, India, Nimal spends her late afternoon walking home from school. She happily greets her parents and helps her mom with the housework before heading out to LitClub. She is the only girl in the family and can’t wait to return to the sisterhood she has found in her Girl’s LitClub. Today the girls are talking about famous Gujarati authors like Varsha Adalja, and Nimal is comforted in knowing that she will be able to relate to texts in her first language and speak openly about the books with her LitClub friends and mentors.

Nydia and Nimal, both long-time members of our LitClubs, share similar experiences with girls all around the world. Their typical days consist of school, friends and family. Their talent and dedication as students and companions, as we’ve come to know them over the years, is reflected in even the smallest glimpse into their lives on this Tuesday in October. Nydia and Nimal’s stories show how literature connects people. Literature gives girls around the world a chance to hear their own stories by reading about them, and to put their own pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, to record their own.

Stand Up For Girls: Nydia a Day in the Life

Nydia draws her typical evening in the “Day in the Life” activity. She loves to read and listen to music when she gets home. She also takes walks with friends and enjoys the nature around her neighborhood.

Why We Stand Up for Girls

There is a powerful diversity in the stories that could be told about a typical afternoon in one’s life–across different cultures, continents and communities. For us, this becomes especially meaningful when we seek to understand the range of possibilities, and the range of barriers, in a day in the life of a girl.

Tuesday, October 11th is the U.N. International Day of the Girl, which raises awareness for the systemic gender inequality faced by girls today. LitWorld recognizes this day through our Stand Up for Girls Celebrations, which take place in our international and domestic programs, and in communities and classrooms that participate through online activity guides. This year, our activity packets encourage participants to reflect on their own experiences, big and small, from dawn to noon to dusk. Our hope is that Stand Up for Girls reminds us to take the time to consider the profound inequity still keeping girls and women at such a disadvantage, and also to celebrate the power of half our humankind to be strong in spite of these challenges. Most importantly, it is a day where we think about the action we can take to make sure that every girl’s story is shared, heard, and validated.

The barriers to girls’ education around the world include early marriage, gendered expectations, domestic responsibilities, poverty, health and crisis. For solutions, LitWorld turned to kids to discover how to enrich their lives through words and literacy. We found that every single one had the key within themselves–their own stories. Our founder, Pam Allyn, grew this organization from the belief that our stories can be transformational in our learning process, and her passion led her to develop a focus on gender equality through this lens: we now dedicate ⅔ of our literacy programming to women and girls.

A key part of this work is giving girls around the world and right here in the United States access to the power of diverse literature that represents their stories and scope of complexity of their lives. Books by authors such as Maya Angelou, Naomi Nye and Sharon Creech give girls in many varied backgrounds and cultures a chance to say: I am this girl. I am going to become who I want to be.

Throughout each and every day, each girl deserves the empowerment of knowing that her voice matters and that her contributions are important to her community, and the world. Stories provide such a meaningful medium through which we can deeply connect to each other, as well as authentically embrace the things that make us different. By sharing stories about your own life and the ways women and girls have inspired you, you are reaching out a hand to all who dare to listen and showing them that they are not alone. By truly listening to a story, at that moment you are fully accepting the humanity of another and can continue to be an advocate for their humanity and their rights.

How You Can Stand Up for Girls

This Tuesday, October 11th, we invite you to stand up for girls–the ones in your life and the ones you’ve never met, thousands of miles away. Stand up for their stories, for their humanity, and for their right to have the tools to be an advocate for themselves. Girls should be able to author their futures, articulate their hopes and dreams as they grow and change every day.

Go to to find out more about Stand Up for Girls and how you can take part. Download an activity packet for your classroom, community organization or for yourself. Share your pictures and thoughts from the activities on social media using #StandUp4Girls, and tell the world which woman or girl in your life inspires you with #InspiredByMy. A quality education is key to nurturing these tools in girls. Stand with us as advocates to ensure every girl has this chance.

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