In an age when young girls are expected to be sexy as toddlers and “hot” before they even know what it means, a powerhouse think tank of business owners, experts, authors and activists have come together to form theBrave Girls Alliance (BGA). The BGA believes girls deserve a childhood free of stereotyping and sexualization, the encouragement to reach their full potential, and the joy of knowing that there are many ways to be a girl. Research supports the idea that when positive messages are presented, they are internalized, leading to improvements in self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.
The negative messages being broadcast across media are many, yet the groups fighting them are few. As a result, and feeling frustrated that today’s girls are not offered more, the BGAwas formed under the leadership of my good friends and colleagues, Melissa Atkins Wardy and Ines Almeida, two entrepreneurs whose companies fight gender stereotyping and empower girls. I am so proud to be a part of this all star line up of girl advocates, and to be able to serve girls and young women right here in my own state and town.
The BGA has kicked off a revolutionary campaign, to promote what #BraveGirlsWant in the heart of New York City: Times Square. Through a crowdsourced fundraising campaign, the BGA has been able to raise enough money from supporters around the world to rent a billboard in Times Square, which will broadcast messages about what #BraveGirlsWant from the girls themselves, and those who care about them.
Beginning on October 11th, The International Day of the Girl, and running for 7 days, constructive, proactive, and inspiring messages will be displayed on a billboard at the corner of 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue. These messages provide suggestions for media and toy creators, corporations and retailers and will reach millions of people.
The BraveGirlsWant campaign is not a moment – it’s a movement. Brenda Chapman, Oscar winning director of Brave, and BGA partner, said: “Sure, it’s a lofty goal to affect change with regard to media portrayal of women and girls. But our daughters deserve it. They have a right to a healthy, carefree childhood.”