Despite recent advances in crucial aspects of the lives of girls and women, persistent challenges remain, frequently because of widespread deprivations and constraints. These challenges often encroach on their most basic rights and are magnified and multiplied by poverty and lack of education. Challenges facing girls, especially adolescent girls, already considerable pre-pandemic, have worsened. Girls’ education gains made over the last 25 years are at risk, and their vulnerability to harmful practices has increased. By 2030, a staggering 10 million more child marriages may occur; global efforts to end female genital mutilation may reduce by at least 30% (UNICEF). The voices of girls and women matter and are essential because their views, opinions, and ideas are often dismissed or judged insignificant simply because they are females living in a male-dominated society. Even laws protecting female rights do not mean people respect these rights; the reality remains that girls and women are treated differently because of their gender. How can you encourage the girls and women in your life to trust their authentic voices and make them heard? Here are some ways to explore: Remind her that her voice matters. Who says children and adolescents – particularly girls – do not have anything valuable to add to the conversation? However, the opposite still exists. Youths have raised their voices to make a change. So, while your girl may not be on the national stage, she can have a say at home, at school, and community. Ask her opinion – yes, she has a right to those. But how can you encourage females to use their voices? The critical technique of asking their view is obvious but often overlooked. So, an excellent start is to ask how we can encourage them to use their voices. And, having asked, listen and act accordingly. Show her how to use her voice. All girls need is an opportunity to be heard. Start with a question like, “What do you think?” Then, help her think about different areas of her life where she can use her voice. Now, watch her change the world. Help her use her voice. Girls and women standing up for themselves and others are powerful motivators. Now more than ever, young people can and want to play a pivotal role in developing solutions and addressing inequities in the world. Show examples of females from diverse backgrounds using their voices to make themselves and important issues heard. Teach the young one to listen to and trust her inner voice. In a world filled with engaging yet confusing distractions, encourage her to heed the voice that reminds her to reflect inwards. Then, help her learn to trust her instincts with questions that promote that self-reflection. Help hone her skills. Girls gain confidence when they have strategies to face a challenge and a chance to practice. In Malaysia, the QI Group’s social impact initiative, RYTHM Foundation, is doing its part for vulnerable teens through the girl-centred Maharani Learning Lab (MLL) programme. The initiative guides girls with core subject coaching, computer classes, and mentoring. Also read: RYTHM Engages Community As Maharani Learning Lab Embarks On A New Chapter Encourage her to think critically. Daily, explicit and implicit messages, information, and images bombard girls showing them their voice does not matter. However, you can help them to think through different aspects of their lives and develop their critical thinking to tackle conflicting messages. Critical thinking also reflects the importance of education and is a valuable life skill. Giving girls a voice is not something to leave to chance. On the contrary, it is essential because girls who use their voices become women who use their voices. So, we not only need to hear what they have to say – but we should also listen.