Today is the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the Girl – the UN’s 2018 theme for this day is ‘With Her: A Skilled GirlForce’. It revolves around today’s generation of girls preparing to enter a world of work that’s being transformed by innovation and automation.

For those of you who are This Woman Can regulars, you’ll also know that today is the day my first picture book, Willow Willpower, is being released globally. Given our central character is a little girl with big dreams, my publisher and I felt this was the perfect day to send Willow out into the world. International Day of the Girl highlights and addresses the needs and challenges girls face while promoting the empowerment of girls and the fulfilment of their human rights. So we wanted to go one step further and give a little back…

That’s why between 8 to 21 October 2018, blOOturtle (my publisher) will highlight female pioneers via its website and Facebook page in honour of International Day of the Girl and to motivate and inspire young children. A set of beautiful cards will be available to print for free. The publisher will also donate 1 Euro (approx. AUD $1.60) per book sold online on blOOturtle.com/books to Plan International’s “Safer cities for girls” project in India for books sold in English and to the Federal Association of Women’s Health Centers for books sold in German between this period.

In my work as a Communications Strategist, I have worked with many not-for-profits in my time and the Plan’s Safer Cities for Girls programme, feels like a great fit to celebrate the official release of Willow Willpower. Developed with Plan’s partner organisations, UN-Habitat and Women in Cities International, the programme’s focus is on building safe, accountable and inclusive cities both with and for adolescent girls aged 13 to 18. This work has the power to have a real ripple effect on entire communities thanks to increased safety and access to public spaces, increased active and meaningful participation in urban development and governance and increased autonomous mobility in the city for girls.

The programme also ties incredibly well into blOOturtle’s eco-publishing program and the publisher’s belief that thinking kids and thinking planet go hand-in-hand. All picture books produced and printed by blOOturtle meet globally highest recognised eco-friendly production standards. 

Just as Willow Willpower has been written and illustrated to be a real conversation starter between kids and their loved ones, I see International Day of the Girl as an ongoing conversation that we need to be having as good global citizens. Girls, regardless of where they are born and live, deserve to have platforms where they can discuss the issues they face and have the opportunity to provide input to help develop and change their communities for the better.

Unfortunately, we continue to see inequity in terms of power relations all around the world – the exclusion or girls and women cannot and should not be tolerated. Every person born deserves to have the same chance at living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. It’s a basic human right.

Willow Willpower is Sarah Cannata’s debut children’s book. You can purchase a copy via blOOturtle’s website. 

Between 8 to 21 October, 1 Euro (approx. AUD $1.60) per book sold online on blOOturtle.com/books to Plan International’s “Safer cities for girls” project in India for books sold in English and to the Federal Association of Women’s Health Centers for books sold in German between this period.

Sarah Cannata

Founding editor at This Woman Can
Sarah Cannata is the founding editor of This Woman Can, the author of Willow Willpower, her debut picture book, and a Communications Strategist. She enjoys working with for-purpose businesses.
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