Young Women Are Tomorrow’s Leaders: Let's Help Them Get There

posted by 
Connie Sobczak
January 29, 2017

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I marched with hundreds of thousands of women in Washington, DC to amplify our voices so they will be heard in this climate of resurgent patriarchy. What a beautiful experience to be surrounded by women and girls of all ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities (and our male allies) as we moved in solidarity through the streets of the city.

We were encouraged by numerous speakers at the rally to take the energy of the day home and use it to continue to work on women’s issues. One of the many compelling moments was when California Senator Kamala Harris eloquently reminded the massive crowd that the economy, national security, health care, education, criminal justice reform, climate change, and more, are all women's issues!

I’d like to add another women’s issue to the table: helping girls and women love their female bodies so they can become their most powerful selves, participate in the political process, and ensure that women’s voices are involved in the decisions that so intimately affect our bodies and lives.

"Tell me what a feminist looks like." "THIS is what a feminist looks like!"

A highlight of the march for me was meeting the two girls in the photo above. The girl on the right, her voice strong and serious, declared her intentions to one day become Secretary of State to the passersby who stopped to take their photo.

I believe this powerful girl can and will achieve her goal, as long as she doesn't get sidetracked by the ubiquitous destructive messages that tell her something is wrong with her body, luring her into the trap of obsession with image that could keep her distracted from becoming the leader she now believes she can be. 

How do we support this girl, and all girls, to use their power, intelligence, and compassion to heal the world’s problems?

We create Body Positive programs on every middle school, high school, and college campus across the nation. We build Body Positive communities that support girls in knowing it is their birthright to feel beautiful in their unique bodies, to know that their thoughts and feelings are valid and heard. We do the work to quiet our own internal critics so we can truly SEE the girls; reflect back to them their magnificent, powerful yet “flawed” and vulnerable human selves, because we honor all of these qualities in ourselves. 

As I took in the energy of those around me at the march, I couldn’t help but think that statistics tell a story of rampant body hatred and eating problems among the women and girls who were present that day. Even the most powerful feminists are susceptible to the scrutiny of the female body, and the messages that remind us daily that striving for a more perfect image is where we should place our focus, rather than working to build a more perfect union.

We want to reach as many girls and young women as possible by getting them to our Be Body Positive Leadership Summit this August. 

If you are able to donate even just a small amount to our scholarship fund, you will be contributing to the transformation a girl can make so she will use her energy and intellect to make positive changes in her own life and in the lives of all she meets. We look forward to partnering with you to empower tomorrow’s leaders.

“The benefit I have seen in students who become Body Positive leaders is a lot of freedom, a liberation from constructs that really keep people back. Having a Body Positive environment is super critical in a competitive university environment.”
—Mandie Caroll, Coordinator for Residential Education, Oakes College, UC Santa Cruz
“I was in my late twenties when I became involved with The Body Positive, and it was a revolution from the start. I had no idea that it was possible to be a young woman and love my body in the culture that we have now. I was so used to picking apart all of my flaws and being upset with myself for not being ‘better.’ The Body Positive came along and wiped that all away, and gave me the tools to say, ‘I love my body. I love myself.’ It was transformative. I can’t even conceive of the way things were before because I’ve lived in this beautiful space for so long. And I’m also able to share and model it with my students, which is a huge passion of mine.”
—Gillian Cutshaw, Assistant Director, Wellness Center, Santa Clara University

Connie Sobczak
Connie Sobczak, author of Embody and Co-Founder of The Body Positive, loves to watch the light and power that emerge when people recognize and embrace their magnificent, authentic selves.Her favorite pleasure activities include eating delicious meals, and rock climbing and running as fast as she can down mountains with her daughter Carmen. She gets true rest by getting lost in a good book. She is currently in love with The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich, and The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri.
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