There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “Women hold up half the sky.

And yet in many countries around the world, women can’t because they are oppressed, discarded, forgotten, sold, and abused, minimized, and discounted.

Having been born in the United States, my fate as a woman was much different. I was valued, educated, and taught I could accomplish all I set out to do. Yet a simple change in geography would have altered my life dramatically.

Instead of joining the honor’s society at 12, I could have been married to a much older man and died giving birth to a child at a young age. I could have been sold by my family into a life of prostitution with no hope of rescue or relief, entertaining dozens of men a day.

It seemed unfair I hit the geography jackpot, safer than other women simply because of where I lived. As I aged, I realized while I was thankful for my opportunities, I was using them only to advance my own status instead of using them to help those less fortunate.

Over time, I decided it was time to be less selfish, to use my voice to speak out against injustice, and to teach the generations behind me to use what they have to help others because our collective sense of entitlement is simply unjustified.

So I started Million Girl Army, a non-profit organization that transforms middle school girls into globally compassionate teens who combine resources to change the world.

Teaching young girls in the developed world to affect real change for girls in the developing world feels right and good. Collectively, they will be the generation that changes the world for girls on a global scale. Together, they will help girls advance until they can hold up their half of the sky, because ALL GIRLS MATTER.