Friday, April 15, 2011

Girl's Empowerment Day

Yesterday I participated in a Girl’s Day of Empowerment at Franklinton High School. I and three other ladies manned the Franklin County Arts Council booth to answer ninth grade ladies’ questions about our careers in the arts. It was the first I’d heard about Girls Empowerment programs but a quick Google search reveals schools and civic organizations are sponsoring these celebrations of womanhood all over the country.

At first thought it seems a little sexists. Why just girls? It is a little sad to think that the females of our species have such over-all low self-esteem that we need a day to remind us we can be powerful and successful in whatever we wish to be. But if it helps girls feel they CAN, then it’s a good idea.

My two books, Pale as the Moon and An Independent Spirit, have strong female leading characters with “I CAN” personalities. Gray Squirrel, a fictional character in Pale as the Moon, had a quiet spirit, but was able to rescue a small group of English colonists through her wisdom and intelligence. We don’t really know what became of John White’s Lost Colony, but we have strong evidence some did survive.

Betsy Dowdy, the lead character in An Independent Spirit, was daring, courageous and independent. We’ve all been taught about Paul Revere’s historic ride to warn the “British are coming.” You had grow up around coastal North Carolina to have heard the story of Betsy Dowdy riding her Banker Pony fifty-one miles, swimming the Currituck Sound in the process, to warn Lord Dunmore was heading for North Carolina from Virginia. Dunmore was stopped at the Battle of Great Bridge due to her warning. By the way, Revere only rode thirteen miles, no swimming involved.

I am glad I had a small part in yesterday’s celebration, Girl’s Day of Empowerment. I hope they learned about all the opportunities the world has waiting for them beyond high school. I hope each and everyone of those ninth grade ladies feel in their hearts, “I CAN!”

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