I initially heard about Girl Up from my mom. She informed me about their initiative and what actions they are taking to achieve Gender Equality. I then followed them on Instagram and saw all the amazing work they were doing, including fundraisers and events to raise awareness. Then, I decided to attend the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, and I was blown away! There were girls from all over the world, and I was one of the few girls representing Canada! I got to meet and connect with girls worldwide, listening to their experiences regarding Gender Equality. At the three-day event, I heard from so many inspirational speakers. Some of those speakers were girls around my age who started their own Girl Up Clubs. These clubs lead by the girls I met were already fighting for Gender Equality, whether it was partnering with local businesses to organize a fundraiser or arranging a women's hygienic products drive. I attended several workshops that educated me on various issues and what I can do to help. There were workshops I visited on advocating, using social media as a platform and fundraising. However, my favourite workshop was a self-defence workshop. The instructor was phenomenal and provided helpful ways for me to protect myself. I'd never felt more empowered! The last day of the Event was the STEM for Social Good Challenge, which was held at the Microsoft Building. My team and I won first place and created an app which we were truly proud of. During this challenge, I met and collaborated with new girls, hearing their ideas and sharing my own. We communicated and worked as a team but most importantly, had fun! After the conference ended, I started brainstorming ideas on what I can do to make an impact on my community and the people around me. Attending this conference was completely eye-opening for me because when I saw girls my age being leaders and change-makers, I realized it's something I wanted to do as well!
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