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Gender & Youth Equality

#GirlsBelongHere: Taking Over Discovery Communications

Earlier this month, I was invited to participate in a #GirlTakeover at Discovery Communications’ office in Maryland.

My day started off with breakfast and introductions, followed by a discussion and brainstorm with Discovery’s Women Network (DWN). The discussion was divided into two parts. First, we reflected on what our dreams and desires were in accordance with various aspects of our lives: education, family, relationships, and work. Then, we thought about what obstacles get in the way of those desires when considering our age (young girls to teenagers, college to young professionals, 30s to 40s, and 50+). In order to get a better understanding of where today’s young girls stand, I offered my perspective as a 15-year-old. 

There was no denying the energy in the DWN! I was surrounded by a diverse group of creative and open-minded individuals. Everyone had a story to share and everyone had open ears. Although everyone came from varying backgrounds, through our discussion we were able to encapsulate a universal experience. 

Women are held to certain standards that men simply don’t experience, and it impacts us on so many levels. From body image to sexuality, pursuing an education to advancing in your career, or making the decision to start a family, there’s a constant struggle in separating our true aspirations from what we’ve been taught by society. My biggest takeaway from this discussion was that our differences as women shouldn’t separate us, but instead make us stronger. We need to recognize our common experiences and struggles and support each other, while also appreciating what makes each of us unique. 

I felt so much joy after my discussion with the DWN, and after a few pictures and a quick lunch in the cafe, it was time for my tour of Discovery’s Creative Agency.

Walking around the Agency was kind of a surreal experience. While there, I got to meet with some of Discovery’s digital production team, and staff there showed me the importance of compositing—a technique where they take an image and then incorporate elements from other images to create a final product composed of multiple images. 

After the tour, I sat with the organization’s vice president and three other women who work at Discovery to discuss past campaigns and projects at the company, their most recent Vanity Fair spread, and their personal experiences as women working in traditionally male-dominated fields. 

All in all, I feel very lucky to have had this experience. It is so special and so important that Discovery took the time to seek out a voice that isn’t always accounted for. Being a 15-year-old girl with big ideas, more often than not I am met with doubt and judgment from adults around me. 

International Day of the Girl is all about lifting up young women and allowing them to feel that they have the capacity to do great things and be great people. Discovery embraced this wholeheartedly by inviting me to collaborate with them and shadow their employees. Giving experiences like this to young girls like me is so powerful, especially in a world where girls can feel like they don’t always belong. 

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