I recently came across an interview with Mallika Dutt (founder, president and CEO of Breakthrough) via the University of Pennsylvania’s Knowledge @ Wharton podcast. The focus was around the ideas of using the culture of today to change the cultural norms of the future.
Hey! October 11th is the International Day of the Girl. In 2011, the UN declared the day to “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world” and to “recall also all human rights.”
As UN Under-Secretary-General and Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka puts it, “The International Day of the Girl Child is an opportunity to step up collective action to break the cycle of violence against girls and women.” She also writes, ”Violence against girls, in all its forms, is a grave human violation rooted in gender inequality.” Girls around the world face the threat of physical and sexual abuse, early marriage, and genital mutilation. They are also threatened when they are unable to pursue an education. All this because of harmful traditions, gender stereotypes, and norms.
It is up to all of us to empower girls, but some girls are not waiting for their Superman. They are the superheroes, challenging the discrimination and violence they face everyday.
On Saturday, let’s recognize these girls for their admirable feats as well as all girls worldwide, like the ones who might have a special place in your life.
Meet Adrienne Kenyon, Manager of Business Operations and Development
Hi! I’m Adrienne Kenyon I’m the new Manager of Business Operations and Development here at Breakthrough. I’ve spent my career so far working in operations in both the nonprofit and private sectors, and I love it because I get to do a bit of everything. Outside the office I bounce around just as much, spending my time doing everything from hiking to baking to binge-watching science fiction shows. The Breakthrough community is full of amazing, diverse people, and I’m really excited to be part of it!
My name is Joe Samalin and I am the new Senior Program Manager, Community Mobilization and Leadership Development in the U.S. I am excited to be part of Breakthrough - an organization I have long admired. I will expand our presence on the ground to bring new people running to join the BT Generation - including fraternity men, sports fans, and many others.
I have been challenging gender-based violence since college and have worked in New York City, across the US, and in Japan and elsewhere. I have worked primarily as a trainer and organizer, and my main passion is helping communities engage men and boys as allies. My partner and I currently live in Indiana. I am fluent in Japanese, an enthusiastic and proudly mediocre video gamer, fold origami for fun, just picked up woodworking as a hobby, and ultimate frisbee is my sport of choice. Looking forward to connecting with you all!
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on camera, dragging the unconscious body of his girlfriend Janay Palmer out of an Atlantic City casino elevator. In the video, Palmer is limp, and though Rice tries repeatedly to prop her body up, she continues to fall to the ground.
Hello! I am Brenna Foster, the new Communications Associate at Breakthrough. I am thrilled to join such an exciting team of innovative and diverse people. I’ve worked as a communications professional at several non-profits in the US and across Asia, most recently in Seoul, South Korea, leaving me with a deep appreciation for kimchi and K-pop. I can’t wait to dive into social campaigns with Breakthrough and become a part of this amazing community!
Title IX, the legislation that allowed women to be able to play varsity sports in high school and college with the same freedom and funding as men (and attempted to end the systematic marginalization of female athletes) celebrates its 42nd anniversary this week. Yet some still maintain that Title IX has done more harm than it has good, and is to blame for the gradual “devastation” of men’s sports over the past four decades.
I beg to differ. Even today, over forty years after Title IX, female athletes aren’t seen in the same light as male athletes. People don’t watch women’s sports with the same fascination and awe that they do men’s sports. Women’s athletics is painfully devoid of the universal prestige every male athlete commands, despite the parallels in effort and skill that female athletes demonstrate in their athletic endeavors. The lack of glitz and glamor of women’s athletics drives many women away from the seemingly endless hours of practice, perseverance, and pressure that come with even college level athletics. I have had countless girl friends quit their sports without so much as an eyebrow raised by their peers and parents, yet when a boy of the same skill level chooses to quit a sport, he is often seen as weak or uncommitted.
It is the societal rejection of the inspiring awe that is female athletes that means that most girls realize that somewhere along the line, society does not encourage girls to excel athletically and would much rather see them on the sidelines, half-naked and cheerleading, than see them playing on the field. Even today, forty years after Title IX, female athletes aren’t seen in the same light as male athletes, but that will never change unless there is a huge movement to promote and encourage girls to participate the same way we do boys. Without Title IX, girls who brimmed with athletic potential would be forced to stay on club teams and never be able to achieve their full athletic potential on a varsity or professional level— many of the resources to fund female sports would be siphoned to men’s sports.
Women’s sports have made huge strides since 1972, but without the constant upholding and defense of legislation like Title IX, that progress would come to a grinding halt. Men’s sports will carry on. The culture of male athletics is so ingrained within the fabric of this country that it is impossible for them not to. What is forever at risk is girls’ sports- without Title IX, chances are many schools would have to cut most funding for women’s sports solely based on the fact that they don’t generate the same revenue that men’s sports and women would lose their opportunity to excel in something that they are passionate about.
So let’s all go out and celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Title IX by watching some women’s sports this week, and marvel in their athletic prowess!