One of the first things we learn at school is the alphabet, right? But what if instead of A for Apple and B for Banana, young girls across the world were encouraged to learn that A can stand for their ambition, or that B might stand for their need to be bold?
And so, we turn to this month’s issue of GNI, and the importance of fostering an early sense of ambition, boldness, and character within young women. Most importantly, it is for those women who are now grown up and in the know to share their experiences and to support young girl audiences with their ambitions. This, of course, was the tagline of Reese Witherspoon’s inspirational speech on female ambition, given at Glamour’s Women of the Year Award. As hundreds of girls sat in the rafters of Carnegie Hall, Witherspoon spoke the following words passionately: run away from men who can’t handle your ambition. Run. It was this final clause that had those same girls on the edge of their seats, mesmerised and inspired.
Like Witherspoon, there have been so many other stories of girls who have been demonstrating their ambition this month-an interview with Claire Messud about her new novel, The Burning Girl, makes for a good starting point. The Burning Girl highlights many of the avenues that young women may take to avoid the vulnerabilities that they face, so that they can get back to believing in their once ambitious, early adolescent dreams of being president, of daring to be brave, and being able to, in short, do anything. Take the young female author Nkechi E. Ilori, and her recent Kickstarter campaign, as another example. Aimed at ‘girls who want to become more’, her new work is entitled A Bold Girl is Who I am. Clearly, Ilori is a girl who has faith in her own strength and ambitions but more than this, she is pushing the challenges that young women face to the forefront of global consciousness.
Long may this continue: let’s remind all young women that ambition, like feminism, is not a dirty word. Rather, female ambition is infectious; it is liberating, so let’s make it viral.
Girl News International