International Day of The Girl: Take That Pink Ribbon Off Your Eyes!
‘Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
And it’s no big surprise
Don’t you think I know
Exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me
To hold your hand
‘Cause I’m just a girl, little ‘ol me
Don’t let me out of your sight
I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don’t let me have any rights’
(Lyrics to ‘Just a Girl’ by No Doubt)
I am just a girl. I am a member of a group that makes up roughly 50% of the world’s population and yet I am also part of a collective that is generally discriminated against, poorer than the other half of the world and less likely to earn a decent wage or own property. I am just a girl and yet I am also aware I have it much easier than most of my global sisters.
October 11th is Day of the Girl. This is the first official Day of the Girl and it is a rather inspiring start as it brought to life by School Girls Unite, a group of teenage girls in the US. Their mission mirrors the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of the Girl Child, approved on December 19, 2011:
“To help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
The group of young women in the states have produced an excellent learning forum to find out more which is a great place to start, but I think we can go far beyond that. Being a girl I think I have a chance, and other women have a chance, to rise up and speak out for our fellow women. Not just on this one day but frequently. In April I went to Nepal and spent time with one of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) partners KOPILA Nepal who work with women who have faced difficulties in what are already hard lives to live: Some women have suffered domestic abuse, some have lost their husbands leaving them as single mums with no viable way of making an income and some have been the victims of gender based violence. When in Nepal I was given a small glimpse of what it means to grow up as a girl in a place where being a woman is not respected.
–So my recommendations for other girls (however old you are!) to find out more about being a global woman are as follows:
- Check out a book like ‘Half the Sky’ and educate yourself.
- Visit the MRDF website and have a look at a Christmas gift this year that will help create real change for women living in poverty.
- Lift up your voice for women all over the world through campaigns like The Godmothers Campaign.
* All images taken in Nepal in 2012 for the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF). All opinions my own.