GEG fills courtyard with festivities for International Day of the Girl celebration

Freshman+August+Kohn+sells%C2%A0seniors+Ruby+Williams+and+Lexi+Tooley+baked+goods+for+the+GEG+bake+sale+fundraiser+in+support+of+the+L%C3%8Dde+foundation.+The+bake+sale+was+one+of+multiple+stations+in+the+courtyard+for+the+International+Day+of+the+Girl+celebration%C2%A0on+Oct.+11.

Photo credit: Thea Leimone

Freshman August Kohn sells seniors Ruby Williams and Lexi Tooley baked goods for the GEG bake sale fundraiser in support of the LÍde foundation. The bake sale was one of multiple stations in the courtyard for the International Day of the Girl celebration on Oct. 11.

By Thea Leimone, Features Editor

Archer students walk through the halls in purple shirts, and in the courtyard, pathways covered by drawings of the female symbol and messages of empowerment for the festivities on Monday. At lunch, four stations were set up by Girls Empowering Girls (GEG) club to encourage self-love, creativity and service for others as part of the International Day of the Girl celebration.

The International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11 is a day of observance for the rights and challenges of girls around the world. Stations at the celebration in the courtyard included a mural painting of female climate activist Greta Thunberg and a mirror where Archer community members could write a message or affirmation on a post-it, stick it to the mirror and then take a mirror selfie.

“I think that Archer is very special for the way that it empowers and supports girls. Within our curriculum, we talk about the women that have been historically ignored, and we talk about the stories that are not told at a lot of other schools. I think that being in an all girls environment, it’s been very empowering because there’s such an emphasis on celebrating the fact that yes, we are women but we’re so much more,” eighth grader Saskia Sommer said. “We’re not women that do amazing things—we’re amazing people that do amazing things, and the fact that we are able to do that as women in this empowering community is just so special to me.” 

We’re not women that do amazing things, we’re amazing people that do amazing things and the fact that we are able to do that as women in this empowering community is just so special to me. ”

— Saskia Sommer

The event, organized by GEG in conjunction with The Artemis Center for Service,  promoted the International Day of the Girl, which has a mission of “focus[ing] attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote their empowerment,” according to the United Nations.

“It took a lot of planning … We had a lot of meetings and a lot of brainstorming sessions. I think it was our best event ever,” Artemis Center advisor and History teacher Beth Gold recently said. “It had a great balance between education and activism and empowerment and appreciation and a sense of fun and creativity and community, which we have not been able to have for the past 18 months because of COVID-19. I loved seeing everybody on a beautiful day in our beautiful courtyard enjoying the sun and the activities.”

Leading up to the celebration, GEG hosted a fundraiser for Lidé, a foundation dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering young Haitian girls. The fundraiser ended on Monday, Oct. 11, as boxes from each grade were filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, backpacks, art supplies and hand sanitizer by student donating the materials. Additionally, a bake sale was held in the courtyard, by members of GEG and the Artemis Center, at lunch to raise money for the foundation during the celebration.

“The bake sale was a really successful. We raised $412 which is double the amount of money I thought we were going to make,” GEG Executive Board member August Kohn (’25) said. “I hope that girls and women across the world will learn about this and be able to help their communities, but also really anyone across the world will, I hope, will bring awareness to [Lidé].”

At Archer’s core is a message of female empowerment and striving for equality. While feminism may mean something different for everyone, the celebration was a day to look at the accomplishments of girls across the world and all the possibilities that can be achieved in the fight for equality.

I think that feminism at its core definition is just supporting women and supporting women in our society and in all factors and in the workforce and in education and in every single field. I think that feminism, while it’s a very broad topic, it encompasses so many things,” Sommer said. “It is so important to take a multifaceted view of feminism and not just to celebrate one type of women but to celebrate every woman and how when women come together, we are all strong and beautiful and capable in our own ways.” 

Students and faculty wore purple shirts in support and celebration of the day as purple signifies dignity and justice and has been historically connected to efforts towards gender equality. While Monday was a particular celebration for girls around the world, feminism and empowerment is something integrated into daily life at Archer.

“What feminism means to me is that no matter what your gender is [you are] coming together to support women—not just supporting yourself, but making sure that you’re lifting up other women and girls,” Kohn said. “Being surrounded in this community where feminism is prominent, where I’m learning about it, like in GEG, is really important to me because growing up right now I’m really impressionable. Being surrounded by [feminism] constantly will set me up for the rest of my life.”