Day of the Girl. Sounds like a Terminator film title. 'Day of the Girl: Rise of the Ovaries'. Now, as you may have guessed, I spend quite a bit of my time thinking about, talking about and trying to improve gender equality in my little chunk of the world. I want the girls and women I come into contact with to see what they can do but also how it happens. I want to show them my flaws and mistakes so that they might learn from them. I want to create a collective voice that stands for all women reaching their goals, living a life where they can see their potential and fulfil their needs. I want women to have choice.
I grew up not really understanding that gender is a barrier. I never knew that because I was born a girl, that some people would see that as a weakness. I never understood that my intelligence would be both questioned and somehow demeaned if I was not pretty. And I definitely did not appreciate that even in a modern time, I would be required to work twice as hard as some of my male counterparts and I would be judged much more harshly for behaviours considered normal for boys but unbecoming of girls.
That being said, I am a middle class white woman. I am educated and I had a safe home with good role models in my life, some male and some female. I was not shot in the head for going to school, I was free to marry who I chose and I was free to do things in life that others might take for granted, like walking alone into the city. When I was born, my birth was celebrated not mourned. In fact, I was born when many girls are never given that chance when fetacide still occurs.
October 11 was declared by the UN to be International Day of the Girl Child in 2011. It aims to promote leadership and change so that girls around the world can lead full and safe lives. The very important message that we need to take from this day is that when we nurture and educate our girls, our whole communities improve. Health and welfare improves and violence abates.
I am very proud of what I have done in my life. Being a woman is a gift and I hope that I can use that to inspire and mentor those around me. It's a tough gig sometimes but we are tough and resilient and resourceful. However, today, I want to take a moment to be thankful for the great opportunities I have had and mindful of those that others do not. It is so vital that for us girls and women who have privilege and a voice that we fight for girls everywhere.
Happy International Day of the Girl x