Today is International Day of the Girl – October 11. As you reflect back on your life, what advice would you give to your fifteen year-old self?
Food for thought. When I was fifteen, I had just moved from Edinburgh, Scotland to London, England. Now this may sound exciting, it was the time of Twiggy and Mary Quant, and London was a hot place to live. But as a teenager with friends, and more to the point, my first boyfriend, the move was traumatic. I remember very dramatically, as only a teenager can do, telling my parents that my life was over!
Recognizing I was homesick for my friends, my parents very wisely let me go back for a visit about three months after we’d moved, and I learned a hard life lesson. When you’re gone, you’re gone. Nothing was the same. My friends had moved on and I was history.
It took me some time to settle into my new school. I had this broad Scottish accent, so no one could understand a word I said and wanting to be accepted by and sound like my peers, I worked hard to get rid of it.
It was hard too coming mid-year into the school as friendships were already established, cliques formed and so making new friends took time. For months, I felt very much the outsider.
That said, what advice would I now give my fifteen- year old self?
- Be yourself. Don’t change who you are just to fit in.
- Be proud of your heritage, don’t hide it.
- Nothing lasts forever. People change. Relationships change.
- Don’t take stuff too personally.
- Be flexible and open to new opportunities.
Not bad advice for any age really. What would you tell yourself?
To mark International Day of the Girl, Plan International Canada has partnered with Nanos Research to release new national survey data that explores the lived experiences of girls 14- to 24-years-old in Canada today.
One year after the start of the #MeToo Movement, the data reveals just how ‘normal’ sexual harassment, gender discrimination and insecurity continue to be for girls across Canada.
Today, we celebrate Defiant Girls – those who dare to Defy Normal each day and fight for girls’ rights and gender equality.
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.