ELLIE YEO

Girl Up United Nations Global Teen Advisor, 2016-2017 | Chevy Chase, MD

What do the words ‘Girl Up’ mean to you?

I think the first time I heard the words Girl Up, it meant a platform for girls to speak and stand up and rise up for girls around the world.

I think the most important part of what I do with Girl Up and what I want to do with female empowerment is education. I think that education is really the pillar of empowerment and of global change.

What happens when you educate a girl?

When you educate a girl, you educate her entire community. She grows up to go to work. She makes an income and so she raises the economic well being of her community as well as the social stigma against women being educated and smart. I think that it really benefits everyone when a girl is educated. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want that to be something that happens in the future.
 

I think that as I have gotten older and as I’ve gotten more involved in these issues, it has dawned on me that this is a collaborative effort. And that you make the best change when you are working with other people. So that has been a skill that I have had to pick up along the way as well, of communication and collaboration.

 

With any passion, when you express it, you inspire others to do the same. So by speaking out in school and by being very vocal about the fact that you are an advocate for girls. This is what you want to be, this is want you want to do. You are inspiring other girls to do the same.

How did you get involved in the Girl Up club?

I started as a member. Then my sophomore year I put myself in the running to be vice president. And so I was elected as vice president for my sophomore and junior year. This year as a senior I am president of the club. And so I think one thing that I have

learned during that transition of leadership roles is that you can really make a change in any role that you are in, with a campaign, or with a club, or even with just a small movement. You don’t have to be a president or founder of something to make an impact. You can just be an influencer in that change.

 

I think that as I continue with my work, now, I would like to do something bigger. I would like work in a more large scale setting for women and girls around the world. And I think that Girl Up has given me a good platform to be able to continue on to something bigger in my life.

 

Recently I have been doing a lot of advocacy. I have been able to, with my club, go down to capitol hill and meet directly with the representatives to talk about bill that will help girls’ education and girls’ safety around the world. So I think that for me access to education is the most important part of Girl Up’s focus and of the global movement for gender equality.

When you educate a girl, you educate her entire community. 
She grows up to go to work. She makes an income and so she raises the economic well being of her community as well as the social stigma against women being educated and smart...I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want that to be something that happens in the future.

 

-ELLIE YEO

What would you say to other girls your age who may be facing problems or difficulties in their life?

Don’t give up. That’s what I would say.

How do you feel about your accomplishments?

I’m proud of myself.

I am proud of myself now for how far I have come, in my own journey, as an advocate. I am also proud of the fact that I am able to inspire the girls in my own community and my peers in my school, in my neighborhood, and in my friend group. Being able to reach that broader community has been really exciting for me. So I am proud of how far I have come.

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