Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan has made a name for herself globally as an advocate for education and women’s empowerment. Recently she wrote an inspiring letter for CNN’s “Girl Rising” project. Here are some excerpts.
Dear Girls of the World,
Some of you will be familiar with the childhood rhyme, “What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of.”
Marketing and stereotyping combine to have us believe that you’re also made of pink dresses, pigtails, dolls, ringlets, ribbons, bows and tiaras. That you like cupcakes. That all you will want to be are wives and mothers. That you’re more “inclined” to the arts and “better suited” to caring professions like teaching and nursing.
And, maybe, that’s true for some. But my daughter Salma teaches me every day that there’s so much more to you – and for you.
Salma is 13, and I can count, on one hand (in fact, on one finger!), the occasions she’s worn a dress — and they’ve never been pink! Dolls always stayed on the shelf. She’s happiest dribbling a soccer ball past her brothers and scoring goals or building model airplanes with her father. She dreams of being an engineer. That’s my Salma; that’s why I love her.
So, when I think about girls rising, I think of girls like her… I think of the millions of courageous girls all over the Arab world and beyond who, every day, summon inner strength, surmount barriers and make a difference in their communities.
It won’t be easy. We have a long way to go… There’s never been a better time for girls to rise up and share their talents with society. And, girls! Society has never needed you more.
If one girl with courage is revolution, imagine what we could do together.
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah