It feels pretty special to be out in this amazing country on a trip where I am connecting with so many mothers and their children on this, the International Day of the Girl.
Before I came out here I read a quote which I thought was awesome -
"You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation." Brigham YoungPretty thought provoking right? I expect many men in the developed world will be offended at that statement. I'm sure my husband would as he is fully passing on his education of our kids - he helps with the homework, he takes them on educational visits and he teaches them to cook. All very valuable skills and my kids love to spend time with their daddy but sadly he is not the norm in the world.
In many developing countries and in some oppressed developed ones the men have hardly anything to do with their children. Bringing up kids is women's work and what an amazing job the women do but the difficulty comes about as they have not been educated themselves, they cannot pass that knowledge and thirst for learning onto their daughters and then they grow up desiring to be like their mothers and stay in the position of bringing up children and perhaps taking on manual or low-skill jobs.
Today, the 11th October 2012 has been named the first International Day of the Girl by the United Nations, but it is more than just one day, it is a movement, one that prompts us all to speak out against gender bias and to become advocates for girls' rights everywhere. As a mother of two girls I am up for this! One of the most important things we can fight for is an education for all girls. Plan International have a petition at the moment and I'd urge you to think about signing it, they are calling on the UN general secretary to make girls' education a priority, they believe this will result in 4 million girls moving themselves from poverty to opportunity
What I really love about this new initiative is that the movement initially came about because of some school girls in the USA. Back in 2004 they started a movement called School Girls Unite, this is an organization of students and young women leaders determined to advance the UN Millennium Development Goals related to gender equality and universal basic education, and other human rights issues. The momentum really started when Plan International and many other organisations in nearly 100 countries came together to pressure the UN to designate this special day. Now that is true girl power!
If you are not convinced that girls need us to fight for their rights, then check out some of these statistics -
- In the US more than half (54%) of all rapes of females happen before age 18.
- More than 57% of music videos display a women purely as a sexual and decorative object.
- By 2015 females will make up 64% of the world population who cannot read.
- Only 30% of the girls in the whole world are enrolled in secondary school.
- 1 out of 7 girls worldwide becomes a child bride and is forced into it by their family or community.
Ghulan Haider, 11, is to be married to Faiz Mohammed, 40. She had hoped to be a teacher
but was forced to quit her classes when she became engaged Image Source
I think that is plenty of food for thought for today. I leave you with 2 requests, please -