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March 20th, 2017

International Womens Day

Happy Belated International Women’s Day to our male and female readers alike. This day is particularly special to me (Annie) because it was this time last year that I received the call to say I’d been offered the job as the new Young Woman’s Worker – and what a year it has been.

Over the course of the week, we marked International Women’s Day by offering the girls the chance to share their hopes, dreams and talents on a notice board that we proudly displayed during our Lunch Clubs. As the week progressed, the young women took our initial idea and went a step further – sharing the names of women that inspire them, and even writing poetry and their favourite quotes about what it means to be a woman today.

In my slight naivety, I had hoped that in putting this together I could impart some wisdom to them about being a woman and that, despite continual issues like the pay-gap and the female voice being the minority in certain aspects of public life, here in the UK we are some of the most privileged and powerful women on the planet. Yet, as is usually the case, the young women astounded me again by imparting some of their own wisdom. One young woman in particular who regularly attends our Year 7 Lunch Club shared with us her talent for writing poetry and encouraged us to not be scared to go out at night on our own, that we are worth more than our physical appearance, and that each of us are “brave, smart and beautiful”, regardless of where we come from and what we hope to be.

I’d love to take credit for that, but the fact is I was deeply inspired by what this young woman wrote, and what so many others wrote over the course of this week. Who would’ve thought that some post-it notes and Sharpie pens could be so powerful?

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One young woman said thank you to Canaan Project because she feels that we can help her to be proud of being a girl. I wrote earlier that this time last year International Women’s Day became a special day for me (more than it was already!), but this year it was special for another reason. Comments and feedback like this make coming to work all the more meaningful. My hope is that as our work continues, more and more young women will be able to say that they feel proud of being a girl, and that the word ‘girl’ can mean strong, witty, determined and inspiring – words that could definitely be used to describe the young women I’ve had the joy of working with over the last year.

Annie