Senior Ashlyn Stone takes girl power global with Girls’ Bill of Rights

Emily Broyles, Editor-in-Chief

On a whim, an App State student clicked a link. A few weeks later, she landed a spot on Global Girls, a global panel that presented to the United Nations on women’s rights.

“I was very surprised, but it was awesome,” Ashlyn Stone, senior sociology major, said.

She said the panel spent three weeks on the Girls’ Bill of Rights project, creating and declaring rights girls should have, written “for girls, by girls.,” according to its website. After the panel presented to the UN, the Albanian government was one of the countries to contact panelists about steps forward in women’s equity. NPR also covered Global Girls’ UN presentation at the International Day of the Girl celebration in New York City on Oct. 11.

Stone said she found out about Girls’ Bill of Rights through the club She’s The First, a nonprofit organization that advocates for education among all women, which she is vice president of on campus. After she was chosen to participate on the panel and help write the bill, she joined a team of 14 other young women from around the world. The panel of women worked through the app WhatsApp on the Girls’ Bill of Rights while fighting geographical barriers and time differences.

“It was hard because the time zones were so off. There (were) people from all over the world,” Stone said. “I would be up at 1 a.m., and they would be just waking up and starting on it all.”

Stone said while panel members came from different backgrounds, they shared the same desire to help women and communities around the world.

“I think we all have similarities in different organizations we’re a part of that brought us all together but it was almost like working on a class project together,” Stone said.

While Stone couldn’t present with the Global Girls at the UN, she said she was proud of the bills the panel created. 

Stone wrote the eighth statement in the bill which states “all girls have the right to decision making about their body and sexuality.

“Mostly just knowing that the wording was presented to the UN was really cool for me,” Stone said.

Stone said her passion for women’s rights started when she was 16 or 17 after an abusive relationship.

“For me, my whole fight is always against violence. That’s (why) I want to be a lawyer. That’s where my passion lies: giving a voice to victims and letting them see the light,” Stone said.

She said her inspiration comes from the organizations she is a part of such as She’s the First and Kappa Delta Sorority.

“Once I started working for She’s The First and working alongside Kappa Delta in college, I was like, ‘Okay, this is actually a bigger thing than just myself and the society I live in, this is a global thing,’” Stone said. 

President of the Kappa Delta App State chapter, Rachael Beller, said Girls’ Bill of Rights is only a part of Stone’s advocacy.

“She’s already busy enough as it is, with a job and with school and with Kappa Delta, but she takes the time to really make sure that her passions get put into action,” said Beller, a senior business marketing major. “She’s done a tremendous job with that.”

Beller said she’s become close with Stone this past year as they apply to law schools together. She said Stone is one of her “biggest role models.”

“Just knowing that she’s fighting so hard for girls currently but all women to come — it’s something to look up to,” Beller said. “At the end of the day, she’s doing everything she does to help women have an easier tomorrow.”

Fellow Kappa Delta sister, Bridgette Brody, said she didn’t know the impact of “girl power” until she met Stone.

“I think that this is coming full circle with everything that she’s been through in her life and a lot of the challenges and adversity she’s faced as a woman,” said Brody, a junior child development major.

Brody said while women face adversity, so do many other communities on campus and around the world. She said Stone’s work is an example of how someone can make a difference in a community that leads to global change.

“You have things like this where you see someone making this kind of impact and it makes all that effort worth it,” Brody said.

Brody said she supports the Girls’ Bill of Rights because she knows Stone, but also strongly relates to the bill as a young woman.

“Having that on a piece of paper, it just puts so many girls stories on that global platform and I think that’s so powerful,” Brody said. 

Stone said the Girls’ Bill of Rights sparked a conversation among politicians and students alike, but it shouldn’t stop there.

“It’s not just about the global scale. It’s something that we should all read and notice and work towards every single day,” Stone said. “We should be advocating for one another, standing up for one another and promoting each other.”