NEWBURYPORT — Area girls are invited to write a poem, compose an essay or create visual art to explore what girls' rights mean to them as part of a creative expression contest hosted by the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and the Girls, Inc. of the Seacoast Area.

The contest is launched in conjunction with Girls' Rights Week, observed May 4 to 8; the theme of this year's Girls' Rights Week is "If Girls Had Their Rights ... "

Original entries to the contest should answer the question: Why are girls' rights important to you? and/or How, if these rights were accessible to all girls, the world would be a better place?

Girls between the ages 6 to 14 are invited to submit poetry, essay or original artwork (limit 24-by-36 inches) exploring either or both topics by April 15 to the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center. Three first prizes will be selected from each of the following age groups: 6 to 8, 9 to 11 and 12 to 14. Prizes will be awarded at the Dare to Dream Breakfast on May 14. Winners will be contacted by phone on May 1. Each girl should be sure to include her name, address, phone number and age on her entry.

"The Girls' Bill of Rights developed by Girls Inc. ensures that girls everywhere have the opportunity to reach their potential," said Suzanne Dubus, executive director of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center. "Girls should know, understand, appreciate and pursue their rights."

Girls Incorporated is a national research, education and direct advocacy organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold. Girls Inc. of the Seacoast Area is a provisional affiliate of the national organization and a division of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center. The Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center believes that when girls are fully empowered and live in a girl-friendly culture, they will be less likely to become victims of domestic violence.