Posts Tagged ‘empowering young women’

Games for Change–Having an Impact Isn’t All Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Nicholas Kristof, NY Times ├╝ber-journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and co-author of the outstanding and inspirational Half the Sky (like a burr under your saddle inspirational–you cannot sit still after reading it) book–with wife, co-author, and fellow Pulitzer winner, Sheryl WuDunn…are launching an online game to make a difference in the world.

Partnering with Games for Change, this couple is tackling gaming as a means of education and awareness. The yet-to-be-named game will be somewhat like Farmville, and played predominantly via facebook and other social media, and will raise awareness of global crises. The release, later this year to coordinate with the PBS broadcast of the filmed version of Half the Sky (did I mention you MUST read that book? Seriously), will bring a keen focus on women’s issues of injustice and oppression around the world. I follow Nick on facebook and both of them on Twitter–and their unwavering commitment to human rights is truly a model for us all (Nick is currently in Switzerland covering the World Economic Forum, and putting heavy pressure on sexual trafficking enablers here in the US—Hello Village Voice Backpage.com!—and abroad).

A description of the upcoming game says, “Players will be able to buy virtual goods in the game with real currency that will then go to NGOs and aid organizations around the world…Players will also be able to contribute to causes without paying money, for example by completing virtual missions that add them to advocacy campaigns or other efforts.”

While you’re waiting to change the world by playing games…go read that book!!! (and then tell me what you’re going to do about the inequities in this world. You’ll be seething with anger and energy that you can put to brilliant use toward a cause that matters to you–let me know what it is)

Here’s an Idea–What If We Empowered Girls…

…instead of disempowering them?

By now you’ve heard the flack about the JC Penny t-shirt that was being sold in the girl’s department (no longer for sale) emblazoned with the pathetic phrase, “I’m too pretty to do Homework…so my brother has to do it for me.” Talk about a back-to-school FAIL…but the department store got it right and took action, taking it off the shelves and website, agreeing it was a lapse in judgment to put that message out there for young women.

I wish the balance of the universe was such that for every step backward like that (because that shirt was designed by someone after a pitch meeting to a group of decision makers, who said, “Sure, let’s mass produce that” then put through the many steps of production and distribution and marketing…and nobody thought better of it) there was a great step forward, like the work of WriteGirl. Here is a non-profit organization for high school-aged girls who are mentored by professional women writers and learn greater expression and empowerment through creative writing. Potential volunteer mentors can find out more here, but even if your life’s work is not wordsmithing, you can still support this valiant cause. The power that comes form discovering that you have a voice, and not only a voice, but a voice with important and true and beautiful things to say, is an amazing revelation. May every young person have that Ah-Ha moment early, and repeatedly. We all just want to be heard and seen–it’s not so much to ask, really, is it?