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Empowering Girls in NYC and the Developing World Through Building the NY Girl Up Coalition


Yardena Gerwin

New York, NY | 18


“Girl Up’s unique focus is on education, health, and a life free from violence for girls in developing countries, which we achieve by empowering and training girls here in the U.S. and abroad.”

After months of combating doctors’ sexist assumptions and suffering a near-fatal misdiagnosis, Yardena Gerwin was finally diagnosed with POTS and a rare form of autoimmune encephalopathy. This experience taught Yardena about a pervasive culture of sexism and prompted her to advocate for girls worldwide through Girl Up, an organization funding programs that give girls an equal chance for education, health, social, and economic opportunities. Yardena created an effective board, a central roster for activists, and an organizational model for New York club chapters, while building a pipeline for new board leadership. In addition to helping pass legislation like the Girls Count Act, she has initiated new collaborations with Seventeen Magazine and the Malala Fund. Selected for the Bronfman Youth Fellowship and a trainee at Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, Yardena was awarded the Learning Together Interfaith Youth Fellowship and received a grant from the NGO Awesome Without Borders.