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Gender Equality Campaign Spreads Across Country

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Actress Emma Watson may have left ambassadors speechless with her powerful UN speech on feminism, but she got the world talking with the launch of HeForShe, a gender equality campaign that calls on men as much as women to erase traditional gender roles. Gender equality is not just a woman's issue, it's a human rights issue; that is the message of the campaign and the message spreading across the country throughout social media

"It's important for girls to define themselves on their own terms and not let the media, their peers or even adults define who they are" says Vanessa Skelton, marketing director for Thrive, a Bozeman, community based non-profit.

She says they work to empower young girls through their "Girls for Change" program, a grassroots initiative that has recently opened up to girls as young as early middle school.

"Even 3rd grades were thinking of body image or having to address bullying with their peers and a lot of these things were starting earlier and earlier and that's why girls for change decided to expand their programming to a younger age," said Skelton.

The campaign is urging men to take action against all forms of discrimination faced by girls and women, particularly in the work place.

Jen Euell, program director for the Women's Foundation of Montana, is pushing to close the wage gap between men and women, especially in Montana where women make 67 cents to every dollar that men make, about 10 cents less than the national average.

"Much of this issue is a cultural one and a piece of this is the way we gender work in our culture, and as a society I think all of us are in place where we have to take a look at some of those traditional roles and assess if that still works," said Euell.

Last year Governor Bullock created an equal pay for equal work task force charged with gathering information and reporting findings to close the wage gap here in the treasure state.

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