Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan’s Message to Girls is Everything
1:45 pm, June 18th | by Colette McIntyre
If you have a major crush on Rania Al Abdullah, we wouldn’t blame you; actually, we would just put your name on our club’s email list. In our opinion, it is impossible to not adore Al Abdullah: she has previously worked for both Citibank and Apple, sits on the United Nations Foundation’s board, and is a staunch advocate for education and cross-cultural female empowerment. Oh, and she’s also a Queen — both in the sense that she is married to the King of Jordan and that she rules everything around us. (See also: Beyoncé.) The spark that reignited our fire for Queen Rania is her extraordinary open letter to the world’s girls for CNN’s “Girl Rising” project.
Girl Rising showcases amazing girls and the importance of education in changing the world, issues that are undoubtedly in Al Abdullah’s wheelhouse. In her letter, Al Abdullah addresses how a young girl’s environment can influence her self-perception:
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.
Preach, Queen Rania! Girls aren’t sugar and spice and everything nice — they are everything. They contain multitudes. Unfortunately, girls’ thinking and behavior are not impervious to outside influence and we begin to tune our self-perceptions to blend with the opinions and stereotypes of the world surrounding us at an early age.
As Al Abdullah recognizes in her letter, the road to change won’t be easy. “We have a long way to go,” she writes. “Increases in girls’ attendance at school and university are not yet reflected in politics, the job market or society’s mindsets. And there are still 5 million girls out of primary and secondary school across the Arab world.”
But there is hope — and it lies in the power of mentorship:
But as the political, social and economic plates shift and settle around our region, 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.
We know that in every country around the world, healthy, educated girls can play a crucial role in stabilizing societies, resolving conflicts, bolstering democracies, strengthening economies and nurturing healthy and educated children.
But they can’t do it alone.
Role models can inspire. Campaigns can motivate. But if we want all girls everywhere to rise up, then we must find them, befriend them and support them.
We must fight for opportunity, education, and equality. As Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah concludes her letter: “If one girl with courage is a revolution, imagine what feats we can achieve together.”
To read the letter in full, click here.