“I can promise you that women working together – linked, informed, educated – can bring peace to this forsaken planet.”- Isabel Allende.
It is through the realization that one woman can make a difference but together they can rock the world, that a new social movement in Barbados, Girls Night Out, was formed.
It is the brainchild of 26-year-old Jalisa Boxill who believes that in order for women to make a positive change in any society, workplace or home, they need to be empowered and work together.
“If you have ever spoken to any man, you would hear them say that women are too catty and they need to be for each other. I’ve been hearing that so much that it then gave me the boldness to say that not only do women need this but men actually want to see women together,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“I think that the change that we can implement in today’s society is to let the world know that we understand ourselves and that we as women are addressing our insecurities, that we are facing challenges, but we are doing it together.”
The Girls Night Out movement, now five months old, is picking up steam and growing past Boxill’s wildest imagination.
“It was originally a female empowering movement that seeks to address the emotional scars and issues and connect them to their purpose. Why have I selected the emotions of a woman? Because women are emotional by nature, and if you could address that and heal the scars and pain that’s connected with the emotions of a woman, you could definitely help a woman holistically,” she explained.
Girls Night Out is also on the Snapchat platform.
“The Snapchat takeovers that we have are a way for the women to air their views and express themselves. Even now, with the economic crisis in Barbados, a lot of people are stressed and they think they don’t have the proper outlet to air their views on. Already more than 1,000 women are sharing their stories on the platform – be it real life experiences of success or difficulties.”
She firmly believes that the platform also serves the purpose of building equality and inspiring women to stand with each other.
“It’s true equality. It’s like ‘you may have more money than I do, but girlfriend, I’ve been through what you have been through or I’m going through something that you are going through and we are helping each other’. I really like the fact that it is making everyone feel like one and it makes everyone feels comfortable.”
Boxill believes this development is needed now more than ever, as she lamented that women were throwing away valuable relationship because of jealousy and insecurity.
“Once we can empower women to know that ‘I am me, I have a crown and my crown is not tailored like yours, my crown is mine and my destiny is mine and I understand that’, then women would definitely be a lot more together and I think that’s definitely going to help society,” she said.
Boxill stressed that women are mothers, wives, and nurturers and they need to be empowered. She wants to lead by example by being more open and honest.
“I am a firm believer in being positive in every single aspect of your life. I’m not the type of person who professes one thing and doesn’t do it. I always say the movement is also like my life and I’m sharing it with everyone else and beautifully relating to it. I always try to be relatable with the women,” she added.
The effervescent Boxill admits that her mission is not easy one, but believes that if women are encouraged to be true to themselves, it can ignite positive change.
“One of my life philosophies is, ‘Jalisa, always be true to yourself’. In order for you to be true to yourself you have to understand yourself, so take yourself on a journey of self-discovery,” she said.
The young activist suggests women can blaze a trail for change by getting to know their purpose and seeking to reach their full potential, regardless of obstacles.
“Once you understand who you are, once you understand why you were created, there is nothing that’s going to stop you. And there is no way you are going to look at someone else and be envious of them because you are going to know that what is for you nobody can get and no one can stop it,” she contended.
The Girls Night Out movement has created a mentorship programme in schools to guide young students. Boxill is hoping it will fill a void for youngsters who don’t have a proper support system.
“When I was growing up and left school, I really wish that I had someone to physically walk beside me. School teaches you about education but no one helps you cope in the world. You feel like a small fish in a big ocean. We have to understand that not everyone has good parental guidance, so I really wanted to give that back to children,” she said.
The mentorship programme includes personal development sessions to help participants build life skills.
Anxious to expand the movement even further, Boxill says she is hoping other countries will get on board .
“I would really love to see it very international. I would love to see different sections in various countries. I am also seeking to attach the movement to charities that are associated with women’s issues,” she said.