OH BOY! : Growing Up As A Girl
Two days ago, women and girls across the world celebrated the International Day Of The Girl. Every day, girls around the world face issues that media rarely shines light on, or aren't considered that important for the world's attention.
Below are issues that we are still facing as girls around the world.
- rape and sexual violence
- sexual exploitation
- trafficking (organ and sexual)
- forced prostitution
- domestic violence and abuse
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- gang violence (peer on peer)
- crime committed in the name of ‘honour’
- No access / denied access to education
Many of us are oblivious, or sometimes, unacceptant to what goes on in the world with young girls. Having read many articles before writing this blog post, I could not believe that girls really experience the most despicable and gruesome treatment because of their culture, religion or just the immorality of the people around them. Most of the articles that I read were painful to finish and, dare I say, mentally scarring.
Sexual & physical abuse, child marriage, and no access to education are three of the most common issues girls face. Personally, I believe that these issues go hand in hand.
Child marriage occurs mostly in countries in the continents of Africa, Asia and South America. There is an alarming number of women alive today who have been married before the age of 18 years old, totaling to 700 million. If nothing is done to assist the efforts currently made to cease child marriage, by the year 2050, 1.2 billion girls will have been married before the age of 18. To find more information about child marriage and how you can contribute to ending it, visit the Girls Not Brides website.
Domestic abuse is not only a human rights issue, but negatively affects mental and physical health, education and the economical situation of girls, and every 5 minutes a girl dies from physical violence.
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Education is the most important issue today faced by girls. Can you believe that more than 130 million girls are out of school? What prevents these girls from getting an education? Normally, the barriers to education include social unrest, war, poverty, violence and poor infrastructure to name a few. It is estimated that 15 million girls will never enter a classroom. Traveling far distances to get to school is one of the major deterrents from getting an education, and is lethal when combined with unqualified teachers, and large numbers of pupils per class, which diminishes the quality of learning that girls receive. Some take part in domestic activities such as collecting water or wood, and daily chores. Further adding to the problem, victims of child marriage drop out of school in order to take care of their families. Violence is also another major factor in the ineducation of girls, as every 1 in 3 girls has experienced sexual/physical violence, and of those who were sexually abused, schools were the most common place for solicitation and reported signs of not feeling comfortable in school. In order for our girls to get any benefit from teaching, schools must be easily accessible, safe environments for them.
In my personal celebration of the International Day of The Girl, I've created a small project titled: "OH BOY!: Growing Up As A Girl". I've teamed up with some women in the fashion and beauty industry that I liaise with on a regular, if not daily basis. I have interviewed each of the ladies, and each will have their own profile uploaded every day this week. 8 women. 8 days.
We have all had unique experiences growing up as girls in various countries and environments, with different values taught to us, and our own ways of thinking and handling situations. Being our own confidantes and motivators, it is imperative for us to be there for each other in a world where being born a girl was considered a strike against you. Supporting, loving and assisting each other in our endeavors is the first step toward proving that we can do anything we set our hearts on and work toward.
That being said, I can attest to the fact that girls are resilient, strong-willed forces to be reckoned with. We bounce back no matter what life throws at us. We bring joy, colour and balance to the world, and so today and every day onwards, we stand with those who believe in and contribute to the freedom of girls around the world. Freedom to play and to receive a good education. To grow up without fear of sexual or domestic abuse, trafficking and mutilation. To overcome these unfortunate situations that they may have been born into, and to walk out stronger that ever, willing to help others as well. Ensuring the safety and rights of these girls today, is safeguarding the future of tomorrow's society.
Click on the video below to give your inner girl some inspiration for the day, and to view some visibly strong, badass little girls from all over the world with an important message courtesy of Queen Bey herself. #FREEDOMFORGIRLS #DAYOFTHEGIRL #OCT11