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Investing in the Forgotten

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You can read about Jin In ’95 on the Huffington Post online. A small lady who is making a big difference in gender equality has started a movement and an organization now recognized by powerful people who are helping her transform the lives of poor girls.

by Donna Parker

According to Jin In, who received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Trinity in 1995, it just all adds up: visit the poorest sections of the world, find the girls who are the furthest from gender equality, and encourage them to develop their leadership skills and soar with their own self-empowerment.

"It's called 4GGL or 4Girls GLocal (Global and Local) Leadership and it's a social change movement and a non-profit organization to raise these neglected girls out of poverty and transform them into valuable members of their communities. I created 4GGL to develop the leadership potential of girls who had never been valued," says Jin, who herself has lived that very same existence.

A native of South Korea who was born into a wealthy family, Jin became instantly poor when her father died and she received no inheritance simply because she was a female.

"My mother came to the U.S., and my sister and I were raised by our grandparents. When I moved to Houston as an eight year old, I met a woman who changed my entire outlook on life. Instead of labeling me a 'just a girl,' she told me I'm valued by my actions, not my gender," says Jin.

"She shifted my world paradigm and made me an agent of change. My defining moment was realizing that I could change the course of my life, and that is precisely what I'm doing for 50,000 girls in Pakistan and 10,000 girls in Nepal through an innovative multi-generational women's leadership model. If we give them the opportunity and develop their leadership skills, they, too, can transform their lives."

Jin sees these "problem children," unrecognized by their own societies, as the solution to reducing poverty, creating security and reducing extremism and violence in the world.

"If we give them an education, they can become economically sufficient, but it's more than that. These girls need to be valued members of our society."

Jin's Houston mentor encouraged her to attend Trinity which she found to be just the right size and environment to flourish.

"Going to college is also about being valued - finding your own voice and being part of a social group," explains Jin. "I found my unique niche and discovered the opportunity to spread my wings and fly. I studied abroad on scholarship to Lancaster University in England. In my quest for more knowledge, I began researching gender issues and kept going back to global gender issues that the world was facing."

"I definitely saw Coleen Grissom, department of English, as a woman's leader. I wasn't focused on that yet, but now see women bring different and uniquely valuable leadership to our world. Coleen married the social with academic in a very inviting way. She always made time for students."

"Donald Bailey, department of mathematics, was my adviser. He was always someone I could talk to. In its entirety, the faculty made it where you could go beyond academic goals to make your learning valuable beyond the walled garden of campus life. It really is all about the value whether it's your education or being a girl."

"I find what I do fun and incredibly meaningful. Even when relaxing, I'm thinking about how I can help one girl in Pakistan help herself." This is exactly what she'll be doing in February 2011 - leadership training 200 college women at the first ever Young Women's Leadership Summit in Pakistan.

For more information on 4GGL, check out or you may email Jin at jin [at]