HYDERABAD: During their visit to India, Carolyn Elaine Danckaert and her husband Aaron Smith – co-founders of A Mighty Girl, a website and repository of books and movies with girl empowerment themes, will travel to Hyderabad to lead a series of story creation sessions, interactions and lectures to engage with students, teachers and parents. While sharing the success story of A Mighty Girl and the impact it has created in the United States, the duo will demonstrate how books, movies and gifts can be used to achieve gender inclusiveness.
City express caught up with them
A Mighty Girl’s muse
The aim of A Mighty Girl is to honour the diverse capabilities and interests of girls. We feature over 6,000 girl-empowering products on our website, including books, movies, toys, music, and clothing. We also have a very vibrant Facebook community of nearly one million supporters and we frequently share information with them related to the empowerment of girls and women worldwide.
We have four young nieces and that added up to a lot of birthday and Christmas presents over the past twelve years. We’ve always been frustrated by the one-dimensional nature of many of the products marketed to girls as anyone who has walked into a chain toy store in recent years. We searched online for sites with girl empowering product recommendations and didn’t find anything very comprehensive although it did appear that many other people were seeking out such resources. Given there was an unmet need and something that interested us, we decided to create a site for others equally interested in supporting and celebrating girls - thus, A Mighty Girl was born.
Girl empowerment and gender inclusiveness programmes
A Mighty Girl will conduct workshops and discussions with students, parents, educators, writers, and book publishers, illustrating how cultural tools such as books and stories can be used to socialise principles of respect for the bodies and aspirations all people, regardless of gender.
A Mighty Girl is unique that it has three mutually reinforcing components to it. First, the website is a vast repository of all manner of girl-empowering resources, from books and movies to toys and clothing. Not only is it easily the largest online resource of its kind, but all the products on A Mighty Girl have been evaluated so that they are both girl-empowering and very high quality.
The second aspect of A Mighty Girl is our social media presence. Every day we provide our nearly one million followers with stories about great women in history, Mighty Girls making a difference in their communities and resources for parents, teachers and others who want to raise their girls to be smart, confident and courageous.
Finally, using our website and social media presence, A Mighty Girl engages in advocacy in an effort to raise awareness about the issues affecting girls and women around the world, as well as to generate supports for non-profits or other initiatives working towards the same goal of female empowerment.
Changing role of women
From the American experience, which we can best speak of, we certainly think that women’s roles have changed and continue to change in many ways. This is true both in the home, where men and women are now more likely to share household and child-rearing duties to the workplace, where women have made great strides in many traditionally male-dominated positions. That said, there is still a great deal of work to be done in all spheres of life.
Nipping violence in the bud
We think spreading awareness against violence isn’t something that only women need to do, but rather it’s something all people need to do – men need to be equally involved in conversations about violence against women and engaged in taking action to end it. With that in mind, there are many ways to get involved, from advocating for legal changes to helping women who themselves are victims of violence. We also believe it’s important for parents and educators to impart on all children the worth and dignity of all people regardless of gender. This is one reason that we believe that the girl-empowering resources, especially stories featuring strong female characters, that we feature on A Mighty Girl are important for both girls and boys to be exposed to.
Economic empowerment of fairer sex
A Mighty Girl is striving to empower children and youth so that they know that their options are limitless. We strongly believe that in life as in literature, girls do not have to be limited to the role of sidekick or girl in distress; they can be leaders, heroes, champions that save the day, find cure, and go on adventures.
It is our hope that armed with this knowledge and confidence, an empowered generation of girls will play an innovative, productive force both for their own economic interests, but also for the economic interests of their countries and communities.