Ashmore Consulting

Investing in Women and Girls

This week I presented a session on Investing in Women and Girls at the annual conference of the Colorado Association of Non-Profit Organizations (CANPO). BackpackForGirls

I shared the contents of A Girls Empowerment Kit, a backpack of useful tools (real and metaphorical) that are important for girls empowerment:

  • Cell phone (for social networking, safety, calling her mentor, and even mobile banking!)
  • Some money of her own
  • A map or a compass to navigate her way, to know where she is going, having plans, aspirations and mobility
  • A pen and paper (for her great ideas)
  • Sanitary pad, tampon, clean underwear –  for health, hygiene, comfort and her dignity
  • ID card (birth certificate, passport, license or some documentation of her identity)
  • A good uplifting book to read (literacy and empowerment)
  • A condom (to protect herself from unintended pregnancy and HIV and to negotiate sex with her partner when and how she is ready)
  • List of women’s organizations and community resources (or on her cell phone)
  • Pocket-sized copy of the International Declaration of Human Rights (armed with information!)
  • Water Bottle for clean drinking water on the go
  • Self-defense tool (a whistle or maybe some martial arts skills!)
  • Some good, girls empowerment tunes (empowering music gives confidence! Like “R-E-S-PE-C-T”  by Aretha Franklin)

The audience made good suggestions for additional items in the backpack:

chocolate (how could we forget that?), a jump rope or soccer ball (for activity), mirror (for self-reflection), friendship bracelet (for sisterhood), solar flashlight (they make an app for that), and the name of a confidante or mentor.

There was also a lot of interest in the La Vida de Mi Mama (My Mother’s Life Story), a project of Women Work Together with Mujeres Trabajan Unidas in Guatemala that not only reinforces inter-generational relationships but shows the girl the changes that have taken place since her mother was a child. Progress continues to be made! Learn more at

Thanks to Diane Dvorin of Women Work Together and Roweena Naidoo of The Blossom Project for co-presenting. Some great organizations working for women and girls empowerment attended the session: Work Options for Women, Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer, Challenge Foundation, Women’s Business Development Center, CANPO, Women’s Lobby, Women’s Wilderness Institute, Summer Scholars, and Denver Foundation, just to name a few.

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