History has been made today (10/11/12, if you go by mm/dd/yy) with the 1st International Day of the Girl [Child].
Equal opportunity for girls is good for all of us.
Girls throughout the world face higher rates of violence, poverty, discrimination. In Canada, girls have higher rates of depression, sexual harassment and dating violence.
There is a growing recognition around the world that support for girls and their basic human rights is key for healthy communities.
Improving girls’ lives has a ripple effect. What is good for them is good for all of us.
This international day will promote equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, education, training, and freedom from violence and abuse.
The above quoted text from Status of Women Canada summarises the hardships and ‘demands’ for girls around the world.
This year’s theme, according to the UN, is to end child marriages. A child is considered any person under the age of 18. For many of us, the news that there are still child marriages is shocking. As a history lover, I’ve read about princesses and noble ladies (this is my specialty; of course, other women without rank suffered the same ordeal) who were forced to marry at a young age (usually as soon as one had her menstrual cycle, though not always), often to men who were twice their age (or older!) and rarely kind to their innocent wives. Many of these young brides became pregnant but not many survived (imagine the conditions then and remember, they couldn’t get an epidural!).
The sad fact that this is still happening today to girls is appalling, tradition or not. The excuse is that in some parts of the world (and maybe for some cultures), families cannot support having a girl (often considered unwanted) at home. That is the mentality that must be changed. A girl must be valued just as boys are. Parents should not have to sell or wed their daughters because of poverty. A girl is not a possession. She is a person and she is valuable to the community.
Stephanie Sinclair has taken photos of child brides around the world, with captions of their stories. As I read the captions and focused on the child bride in each photo, my heart sank and, I admit, I started to view the husbands with animosity. I want these women free from these illegal marriages and I want them to have a better life. http://www.stephaniesinclair.com/childbrides
The following 2 organisations campaign for equal rights for girls:
If you know of any more organisations, please let me know and I will update this post. Of course, organisations such as World Vision, SOS Villages, etc. also campaign for equal rights for girls as well as boys.
I highly recommend you to read the following articles/blogs:
- A Promise to Girls (huffingtonpost.com)
- Malawi teenagers become ambassadors for International day of the girl (soschildrensvillages.org.uk)
- Day of the Girl – Interpeace Sheds Light on Young Women in Gangs (prweb.com)
- International Day of the Girl (girlsglobe.org)
- 5 Great ways to get involved in International Day of the Girl (one.org)
- Gordon Brown: The Tragedy of Child Brides (huffingtonpost.com)
- Indian Girls Rise Up Against Child Marriage (voanews.com)
- Louis-Georges Arsenault: Almost half the girls in India are married before 18 years (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
- Every Three Seconds (gabrielconstans.wordpress.com)
- Married at the age of nine (unicef.org.au)
- UNICEF-EC programme gives a second chance to a would-be child bride in India (http://www.unicef.org)
- International Day of the Girl – October 11th. (pfcairns.wordpress.com)
One thing interesting to note, however, is that this year’s theme does not deal with sex-selection abortion but rather the girls who were born (and how to improve their lives). Whether you agree or not, let us not forget that the girl child includes the unborn female.