Behind the Mask
Girl Up — Venezuela
Launching a non-profit organization during the pandemic wasn’t an easy task. On the contrary, I had never experienced such responsibility and leadership challenges in my life before; it was all very new for me and my team. However, our passion to see the feminism movement grow in Venezuela was bigger than any challenge, one that allowed us to be better leaders and humans. That was the birth of Girl Up Venezuela.
Some of the challenges I encountered were lack of commitment from members and internal miscommunication and disorganization since we made the mistake of starting to work without a foundational document that could guide us and remind each one of us our responsibilities. We also didn’t invest much time in choosing our leadership council members, which resulted in some of us doing the work of others. Fortunately, Girl Up and its international members were of great help and even volunteered to call me to explain the process of establishing a Girl Up club and also to answer any doubt I had.
I’ve also been presented with moral and ethical questions, topics, and social issues that girls face that I didn’t know existed. I realized I am on a pedestal compared to others, and that also made me more aware of the responsibility we have in our hands to not ignore these issues just because they don’t affect us.
I try to be as transparent and empathetic as I can whenever I face a challenge, individually and collectively. Luckily, I have an incredible team that supports me every step of the way and that is ready to help me grow and also grow with me!
Starting an initiative and impacting the community during a global pandemic seemed hard at first, but not impossible. However, our passion for advancing gender equality was (and continues to be) bigger than the challenges faced. We don’t know what it is like to work without a pandemic, but it’s definitely not the same: the lack of human warmth, face-to-face relationships, hugs... Yet there’s something interesting about meeting each week and organizing activities without having seen each other ever before: the close friendships, the inside jokes, the feeling that we’ve met before...
Do we aim to do more? Of course! Have we lost the chance to impact the community even more? Several times! Do we wish we could see each other soon? All the time!
But all this time, all this work, all this effort makes the impact and the activities much more exciting and gratifying! In the name of my peers, I can say we are all looking forward to going outside to spread joy!
— Laura Moncada, 18