Girl Up does its part for worldwide gender equality

Club focuses on helping women around the world

Georgia Caras, News Editor

Girl Up is one of many clubs offered at New Trier with ambitious goals and a strong work ethic.
Surprisingly enough, the average student is not familiar with many of the efforts of the club.
Junior Rachael Chiao said, “I have heard good things about Girl Up in passing, but I have no idea what it’s really about. I know that it helps raise money for girls, but other than that I’m really at a loss.”
Girl Up was kick started by 2016 New Trier graduate, Lily Zirlin, during her sophomore year of high school.
“I started Girl Up because I felt New Trier students would find international gender equality just as important and necessary as I did. I also have a passion for education, especially when it comes to girls around the world. I loved meeting and working with peers that did too,” said Zirlin.
After her graduation, the mindset and mission of the club remains the same.
Senior Celia Buckman, one of Girl Up’s six co-heads, echoed Zirlin’s attitude as she explained the purpose of the club.
“To promote gender equality through supporting UN programs in developing countries. To accomplish this, we fundraise, raise awareness, and advocate politically.”
Senior Sarah Kennedy, the club’s treasurer, added, “We do as much as we can to aid women by empowering them through education and various resources.”
Zirlin stated, “Girl Up raises funds and awareness for girls’ education in developing countries. However, that general description only skins the surface of what Girl Up means to me.”
Although meeting topics vary week by week, Kennedy said, “Girl Up specializes in helping women in six countries: Guatemala, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, India and Uganda.
We have meetings focusing on each of the countries and the issues women in those countries face. Soon, we will start to talk about and plan for upcoming fundraisers and events, such as bake sales and awareness projects.”
“A meeting could be anything from discussions about current issues affecting girls, planning our next fundraiser, calling members of Congress, or watching videos about international development,” said Buckman.
Contrary to what many students believe, Buckman emphasized that “Boys are welcome to the club. We have male club members, and we think that the fight for gender equality affects everyone, not just women and girls.”
Zirlin also emphasized that the process of starting a club is actually simple. It doesn’t take a lot of work if you have an idea and a passion to express your idea with others.
“I started Girl Up midway through my sophomore year when I went to meet with Ms. Kolack to learn about the process of starting a club. A lot of my sophomore year was finding a sponsor and trying to get some interest. Our first meeting ended up being October of my junior year due to fall sports,” said Zirlin. “Although it takes some time, it’s totally worth it. Girl Up expanded more than I ever thought it could.”