Girl Powered Girl Council choose their favourite girlpowered messagesThe girl council has spoken!

A cross-Canadian group of girls has shortlisted the most powerful messages from the 1,500 submitted to But, given the sheer volume and awesomeness of the submissions, it wasn’t an easy task.

“How am I going to pick?” asked Brenna, 12, as she and her fellow council members began poring over pages of messages, including “Follow your dreams, even the wild ones” and “Be the girl you look up to.”

The girls’ input will help to decide which #GirlPowered messages will be featured on billboards, transit stops, in malls and other ad spots across Canada. The girl council discussions kicked off in Toronto, but included participants age 9 to 14 from Lunenburg, Saint John, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

“I think it’s a good campaign because some girls don’t really believe in themselves,” said Sameya, 12, at the Toronto meeting. “They spend a lot of time in the mirror wishing they could change themselves, and I think this can really help them to feel better about themselves.”

The #GirlPowered campaign, which the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched with Havas Canada in October 2016, urged girls across Canada to share positive, empowering messages via goal is to help girls to counter the many stereotypical and limiting messages they see on advertisements, clothing, and in the media on a daily basis.

“I feel really great that I could be a part of something that will make a difference,” said Brenna. “I’ve been seeing negative messages on T-shirts and billboards and I’m really glad I could help change that.”

As the girls narrowed down their top choices, lots of critical thinking came into play. They discussed whether their favourite messages would really challenge stereotypes or could help to reinforce them. Was the wording clear, positive, and inclusive enough? Was it sassy and memorable? Would the message stick with you if you drove past it on a billboard?

“My favourite is ‘I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like me,’ ” said Ella Publicover, 12, via Skype from Lunenburg. “Because I think there are other types of beautiful than the stereotypical skinny girl and I think we need to break that stereotype.”

Ellie, 10, from Saint John, liked the message that read “Be the true you,” explaining that “it tells me not to second-guess my choices or the decisions that I make.”

The top messages will be revealed when the national media campaign kicks off on February 13. And the girl council members can’t wait to see how girls across the country react when they see the messages posted boldly in public spaces.

“I hope they smile, that’s what I hope for,” said Abby, 11.

“I hope other girls are as excited as I am when they see the messages,” said Rhi-Onna, 14. “I’ve been sharing the campaign on social media; hopefully it gets around pretty fast. Even if it helps one person, I would be proud to have been part of that.”

If you see a #GirlPowered ad in your neighbourhood, share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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