Ai’s Creative Adviser Maz Kessler has just launched Catapult, a crowdfunding website for girls. Maz designed and developed Catapult as a way to help address the huge global problem of gender inequality. As part of the launch, she penned this article introducing the project and its potential impact:
Last Thursday we celebrated the first-ever International Day of The Girl Child.
The brutal shooting in Pakistan of Malala Yousafzai, a girl who inspired the world, serves as a dark reminder that we need to do more than just talk about The Girl.
It’s time to answer her call for justice, to amplify her voice, and to work hand-in-hand with her to create real change in her life — and in all our lives.
In light of what happened in Pakistan yesterday, we don’t need to tell you that in some places it’s really, really bad for girls. And even in the places where it’s not bad, girls face double standards, fewer opportunities, and a future in which they’ll earn less for the same or more work.
We don’t need to tell you that child marriage is bad for girls, that not educating girls is bad for girls, and that not supporting girls to become leaders is bad for girls.
You’re already convinced about that.
You’re already convinced that there is no controversy about family planning. No argument that girls and women must have the right to plan when and where to have children in order to reach their full potential.
Today, on this first Day of the Girl Child, there are going to be stories of wonderful girls, amazing stories of courageous girls like Malala that are bravely changing their worlds.
There’s going to be lots of talk about girls. And tweeting. And retweeting.
This conversation is a good thing. It’s an important thing. It’s a slow rumbling of a global crowd saying, “This is unacceptable.” A world without equality is unacceptable.
We celebrate all this tweeting and talking — after all, girls and women use social media significantly more than men.
And as men, we care about our daughters, our wives, partners, friends, co-workers and mothers.
But on this day when we’re all coming together to talk about The Girl, we at Catapult challenge you.
Not just to talk about her. But to fund her.
In addition to talking, why not fund one of the amazing organizations working to support girls? Why not fund organizations working to end the injustice — extreme or subtle — that girls encounter every day?
So that girls can achieve equality.
At Catapult, we’ve tried to make it easy for you. We’ve partnered with the best and most trusted organizations around, and they’ve posted incredible projects for you to fund. They’ve shared their budgets, their location, and information about how they’re working to solve big problems. You can choose the one that aligns with your own passion for change.
You should meet our partners at Catapult. They’re doing unbelievable work — often in dangerous or difficult places — to help girls achieve their full potential.
They’re working hard around the world to help girls and women accomplish their dreams.
So, this is our challenge. To you. Your peers. Your family. Your college. Your company.
Don’t just talk about The Girl.