Today is International Day of the Girl Child. It is a day where individuals, groups, organizations and governments work to raise awareness about the issues that face girls all around the world. These issues include rape, defilement (rape of an under-age girl), no access to education, and child marriage.
It is a well researched fact that educating girls helps the community move out of poverty. An educated girl becomes an educated woman who fights for the rights of her children to go to school. She also makes healthier choices for her family.
Also, a woman who works and brings in money for her family will often “force” her husband to work harder because it is expected that the man will be the main income earner. When the wife begins to earn as well, he must earn more to remain the head of the family.
Here are two articles that I have taken from the Daily Monitor today in Uganda. These articles are not unusual, in fact, we have these types of articles almost daily. What shocks me is that parents are being criticized for allowing their girls to go to the well alone. The responsibility is being removed from the culprits and being put on the families of the girls. As for the other article, I don’t think I need to add any comment. It speaks for itself of the horrors that girls face.
Raise awareness. Research organizations that are working to empower girls. The Elders and Girls not Brides are working toward ending child marriage. ISEE works to allow girls to attend school during their periods and teaches them about reproductive health. Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan is encouraging girls to go to school by hiring teachers and creating schools. Days for Girls is working all over the world to offer girls re-usable sanitary kits.
2 Minute Video: The World We Want: End Child Marriage
Educate yourself. Half the Sky is an amazing book about empowering women all around the world. Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong is inspirational. And if you ever have the chance to hear her speak, she is well worth listening to. I attended her presentation in Kelowna this spring. I connected with a lot of what she was saying but one point that really struck me was this:
We are hearing more and more about violence against women. It makes us feel like things are getting worse. But all the news coverage and all the information we are getting is actually a good sign. It means that people are starting to take notice. Social media is bringing these issues to the forefront of the humanitarian battle. We can’t change what we don’t know about. We may not want to hear about these atrocities but now that we know, we can’t sit around and do nothing.
What will you do?