We know that raising confident girls is the key to encouraging them to pursue their passions, closing the wage gap and getting more women into positions of power. Thankfully, there is plenty of reason for us to be optimistic about the future of today's girls. Want proof? Here are 10 clues the best is yet to come.
1. The new "Raise Your Hand" Girl Scout patch that encourages girls to actively participate in school.
This new patch was created by CNN anchor Jake Tapper's 10-year-old daughter, Alice. Its goal: to encourage young girls to be confident enough to speak up in class. Alice says the inspiration came from noticing that girls in her class were reluctant to participate and ask questions during a recent field trip.
2. More and more women are running for political office and winning.
There has been a historic increase in women looking to run for office this year, according to CNN. Several organizations that support prospective female politicians have seen an increase in training sessions designed to help women get elected. Which means there will be plenty of role models on the way for girls interested in politics.
3. Hollywood studios are giving more opportunities for female directors to succeed.
With the success of Wonder Woman this past summer, movie studios are now looking to give more big opportunities to female directors. Variety is reporting that there are a number of blockbusters in the works for 2018 and 2019 directed by women.
4. The Women of NASA Lego set launched this year—and more STEM toys for girls are on the way.
Thanks to films like Hidden Figures and Lego's new "Women of NASA" set, girls are starting to see female scientists and engineers receiving well-deserved representation in media. The stories will be a source of inspiration for girls interested in STEM.
5. This girl's great response to an outdated homework question.
Yasmin, an 8-year-old from Birmingham, U.K., had a homework assignment asking her to name a "hospital lady" with the letters "ur" in the middle. Since both of her parents are surgeons, that's what she put down instead of "nurse." While this wasn't the answer the teacher was looking for, we loved that she defied stereotypes and honored her working mother's job.
6. The Boy Scouts are encouraging girls to participate and reach Eagle Scout status.
The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that starting in 2018 girls will be allowed into the organization and that there will be programs for older girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Now girls will have the option to participate in another program and achieve the highest honor in scouting.
7. Pink's incredible VMA speech on teaching her daughter about confidence.
While accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Video Music Awards this year, Pink told a powerful story about her 6-year-old daughter being bullied at school for her appearance. Other children were teasing her by saying that she looked like a boy. Pink responded by explaining that she is also often made fun of for her looks and how she refuses to change her appearance. "Baby girl, we don't change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty."
8. Little girls are launching philanthropic efforts to change their community—and the world.
After all of the devastating natural disasters of this past year, it was heartwarming to see so many volunteers and supply donors stepping up, including incredible girls like Brooklyn Murray from New Hampshire who started a book drive and Brianne Martinez from Georgia who donated 167 pairs of shoes. Seeing that girls can make a difference is sure to motivate others to try.
9. Malala Yousafzai is starting college—five years after being shot for trying to go to school.
There is no shortage of strong leaders using their voices to better the world, like Malala Yousafzai who continues to advocate for women's rights around the world.
10. This book was released this year and became a bestseller.
Photographer Kate T. Parker's new book, Strong is the New Pretty, aims to show girls that their own strength is the most important attribute they can have. The collection of photographs of real girls ended up becoming a top 10 best-seller in the "Photographers" e-book category and "Children & Youth Sports" book categories on Amazon.