Today – Thursday 11 October 2012 is the United Nations’ first-ever International Day of the Girl. Finally, an acknowledgement that as with many things in life the disparity between male and female genders still exists and the gulf that has been created especially in developing countries is alarming and awareness needs to be generated.
In education, the statistics of girls not having access to study and learning is quite severe and has impacted upon the growth and development of personal, social, cultural and economic communities.
Education for all, equality and inclusion are all concepts that westernised society is familiar with and embraces measures to extend learning to all. In the UK, although we take issue sometimes with the state of the education system, at the end of the day it is a constant in the majority of children’s and adolescents lives.
I think sometimes we forget how privileged we are to have this framework of systematic learning!
So, what does International Day of the Girl mean and why is it so important? Well, when you educate a girl, extraordinary things happen:
- Population growth is curbed: When girls receive 7 years of schooling, they marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children. (United Nations Population Fund)
- GDP rises: When 10% more of its girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases an average of 3%. (Council on Foreign Relations)
- Health is improved: Educated mothers are 50% more likely to immunize their children. And when more girls are educated, a country’s malnutrition and HIV rates decline. (UNGEI, the Council on Foreign Relations)
- Food is more available: When female farmers are educated, crop yields rise. (Food Policy)
- Family and community investment: $1 in the hands of a woman is, on average, worth $10 in the hands of a man. (Population Council)
- Honest governance: When women take leadership roles in their community, corruption diminishes. (Centre for Global Development)
- Structures change: When women are educated and empowered, democracy is more likely to flourish and the conditions that promote extremism are reduced. (World Politics)
So by creating this awareness about the importance of education for girls on a global basis, things can happen, attitudes can change and girls can become empowered to take control of their lives and make informed choices based on given knowledge and understanding.
There are two organisations that exist which campaign to support education specifically for girls and fight to make people aware of the plight of girls in developing countries.
10×10 – Educate Girls. Change the World.
10×10 is a global campaign to educate and empower girls all around the world. On October 11th, 10×10 will collaborate with individuals and partners around the globe to hold events designed to raise awareness in local communities about the importance of educating girls.
Girl Rising is the feature-length film at the centre of 10×10’s global action campaign for girls’ education. The film reveals the extraordinary stories of girls from around the globe, fighting to overcome impossible odds on the road to realizing their dreams of education.
Directed by Academy Award nominated documentary director Richard E. Robbins, Girl Rising includes voice performances from esteemed actresses Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, and Selena Gomez, among others.
Every time you share the trailer below for Girl Rising through Facebook or Twitter, a $1 donation (up to $20,000) will go to the 10×10 Fund for Girls’ Education to support the work of their partners around the globe. Help spread the word about the benefits of educating girls everywhere.
Plan was founded 75 years ago, and is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world. They work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. In 2011, Plan reached 56,500,000 children in 58,053 communities.
Girls have a right to choose, have a right to decide their own future and destiny and they damn well have a right to an education. So just for one day, think about somebody else and what you, me, we can do. Working together, in unison we can make a difference, we can influence global policies and we can change the plight of girls in developing countries.
Images reproduced from 10x10act.org and plan-uk.org
Trailer reproduced from YouTube / 10x10act
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