15 Minutes on Empowering and Investing in Girls

Episode Transcript

Lama Alsafi (00:00): Hello, and welcome to 15 Minutes to Change the World, where in 15 minutes or less, you can learn a bit more about the world and how you can help change it for the better.

Lama Alsafi (00:22): My name is Lama Alsafi and I’m the host of this podcast. Today is International Day of the Girl, a day to celebrate the unlimited potential that exists in each and every girl around the world. It’s a day to advocate for and empower girls to be leaders in their homes and in our communities. Our very special guest today is Marigold Mioc, a volunteer and activist who has been involved with different causes, groups and organizations, including the United Way, the young Canadians Parliament, Engineers Without Borders, and many more. Marigold is currently an ambassador with One Girl, a social enterprise that inspires, encourages and empowers girls to become strong and confident individuals and make the world a better place. Marigold is joining us remotely today from Calgary, Alberta. Welcome to the podcast Marigold. I’m really excited to speak with you.

Marigold Mioc (01:15): Hi, thank you.

Lama Alsafi (01:17): Hello. Okay so first off Marigold, do you mind, please, if I ask you how old you are and what grade you’re in?

Marigold Mioc (01:23): I’m twelve years old and I’m in Grade seven.

Lama Alsafi (01:26): Grade seven, all right. So Marigold, you have quite the list of accomplishments there. So from starting a social enterprise to international speaking engagements, and you’re a volunteer and so much more, can you tell our listeners how you came to be an activist for girls’ empowerment and leadership? What or who inspired you?

Marigold Mioc (01:47): So it all started when I was Little Miss Calgary in 2016, I met a lot of community leaders. I would go up to the event organizers and I would ask and make my own opportunities. So I was saying like, can I speak at other events like this? And it’s all about having connections and going up first. And someone who definitely inspired me for girl empowerment is Malala because she’s just so brave to make so many changes for girls all over the world.

Lama Alsafi (02:24): Well, I think you’re pretty brave too to go up to folks at an event and say, “Hey, I’d like to speak.”

Marigold Mioc (02:32): [Laughter]

Lama Alsafi (02:32): Well Marigold, can you tell our listeners about One Girl, the organization that you’re involved with and your work with them as an ambassador?

Marigold Mioc (02:40): So One Girl is an organization that focuses on empowering young women and girls. And I first actually applied to be a speaker at the adult event, and then from there I spoke at the One Girl events and not the adult ones and co-facilitated classes. And right now there’s only an online option, so you can apply to that.

Lama Alsafi (03:06): All right. And what do you think Marigold are the biggest barriers that girls face in Canada and also around the world when it comes to accessing their rights or to being leaders in their communities?

Marigold Mioc (03:18): Definitely not being taken seriously and not knowing their rights. Not a lot of people know about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. And it’s actually really bad that like a lot of girls don’t be, don’t get taken very seriously. Like when I was younger, I wasn’t taken seriously for my age. So I had to make my own opportunities. Like if they were not handed to me, I had to make them myself. And I think it’s just people need to give girls more opportunities and girls need to know that they can make a change and they can be a leader as well.

Lama Alsafi (03:58): Marigold what do you think are some solutions for how girls around the world can overcome these challenges that you’ve mentioned?

Marigold Mioc (04:05): I think that girls can, I think that we need to encourage girls, include them in decision-making, encourage them to make a change, and offer them opportunities and treat them equally.

Lama Alsafi (04:20): And what message or advice would you give to other girls, maybe girls who are listening today, who would like to become an activist or leader in their community like you?

Marigold Mioc (04:32): I think that leadership classes and checking for volunteering opportunities or youth groups in your local area is a really good idea because I first went to leadership classes at the women’s center, and then I later became a speaker and a facilitator at the women’s center. So I think just getting involved locally and then going up from there.

Lama Alsafi (04:58): Can you tell us about your work at the women’s center? What do you do there?

Marigold Mioc (04:58): Sometimes I just facilitate events, speak there. And sometimes I just go to the leadership classes for fun.

Lama Alsafi (05:05): All right, Marigold, what would you say to adults or to those who have the power to make important decisions, maybe like a politician, someone who might be thinking, you know what, it’s not important to invest in leadership of girls, we have other issues to worry about right now.

Marigold Mioc (05:22): It is important to invest in empowering young women and girls, because when you empower young women and girls, they can become leaders and find the solutions to those problems. Women and guys both have ideas and they can both find solutions to problems. So if we empower girls enough so that they become leaders too, we can all work together and find solutions to the problems that we need to work on. And actually Senator Moody is advocating for a commissioner for children and youth in Canada. And I just, I just think it’s definitely a really good idea because I think that having a commissioner for children and youth in Canada can actually really impact girls as well, because then we have someone to speak on behalf of both girls and boys, but still, it’s youth in Canada and that still is including girls as well. And I think someone who, you know, listens on behalf of youth will definitely help involve girls and women more and, you know, help with gender equality. Because I know that a lot of people who are younger and, nowadays it’s changing for gender equality. I think that if we have a view of more youth voices and opinions that will help with gender equality as well.

Lama Alsafi (06:47): Would you like to see more girls, maybe in your class or in your community, become involved in local activities?

Marigold Mioc (06:55): Yeah, I think so. I think it’s especially important because girls and boys, like women and men, they both have different perspectives incredibly, on many different things in the world. And if, you know, if just men are involved in decision-making, then it will still affect women, but women won’t be able to put their input and they won’t be able to speak up about how they can change it and make it better for everyone. So if more women get involved in decision-making and becoming leaders, we can shape laws and decisions. So it still affects everyone, but it affects everyone in a way that it’s equal.

Lama Alsafi (07:39): Well, what about if I’m trying to help, uh, in my community and I I’m looking to invest in leadership of girls, what can I do? Someone who’s just interested, but doesn’t know much about where to start?

Marigold Mioc (07:54): I think definitely like again, start locally and leadership classes, girl empowerment workshops, things like that. And from there, make your own opportunities, go up to different people, say hi, are there any other opportunities that I can participate in? Things like that, just really getting yourself started. And I think that once you start going to small events locally, you will start to share your voice and your opinion, and you can share your voice and opinion in bigger things once you start working up.

Lama Alsafi (08:33): And what would you like to do in the future Marigold, maybe when you’re an adult? What kind of work do you think that you might be doing?

Marigold Mioc (08:40): I think that when I’m an adult, I would like to do something to make a change in the world, and I want to do something for work that makes me happy and something that I enjoy and definitely something that can help other people.

Lama Alsafi (08:57): Well, I think that you’ll very much get there Marigold. I have a lot of faith in that. What about teachers Marigold, like teachers at school, how can they help invest in the leadership of girls?

Marigold Mioc (09:10): I think that a lot of teachers around the world need to be more inclusive towards girls because I know and I’ve heard a lot of stories about how girls are often excluded from things at school because of discrimination that happens both from teachers and from other students. And I think teachers really need to, you know, start participating in making sure that all girls feel included and all girls have equal opportunities such as everyone else.

Lama Alsafi (09:42): What’s your hope for the future for gender equality and girls’ rights?

Marigold Mioc (09:48): I just hope that every girl will know that they can become whatever they want to be no matter who they are and that every single girl and every single guy will always get the exact same opportunities and be treated equally amongst everyone else.

Lama Alsafi (10:04): Alrighty Marigold, it’s been wonderful to chat with you today. I’m sure I speak for many of our listeners when I say how inspired I am by the work that you’re doing, and by you as a person and as a leader in our community. So thank you so much for speaking with us today and I wish you a very happy International Day of the Girl.

Marigold Mioc (10:25): Thank you so much. I had a really amazing time speaking with you.

Lama Alsafi (10:29): Well, thanks for making time for us Marigold and thank you also to each and every one of our listeners for tuning in. You can catch every episode of 15 Minutes to Change the world on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and on care.ca/podcast.