International Day of the Girl

Although she’s still a baby, I feel a huge responsibility with my daughter. Not just the typical parental responsibilities, but the extras that come with being female. I want to raise her to be a self-reliant, confident, smart woman who never feels the weight of a glass ceiling. I want her to read about sexism in history books, but never experience it herself. And if she does, I want to raise her with the tools she’ll need to handle it. I want her to have a healthy body image, and not feel overwhelmed by what she sees in magazines or televisions.

When I lie awake at night thinking about these things, never does becoming a child bride, prostitute or school drop out come to my mind, but there are mothers out there who do. It’s not that they don’t want better for their daughters, it’s because they too, have no way out.

Because of this, today is the first-ever United Nations International Day of the Girl.

International Day of the Girl is a movement to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.

There are a billion reasons why we need the Day of the Girl, but let’s start with just a few facts:

  • ILLITERACY – By 2015, females will make up 64% of the world’s (adult) population who cannot read.
  • SCHOOL DROPOUT – Only 30% of girls in the world are enrolled in secondary school. In America, the dropout rate is worse for boys but one in four girls does not finish high school, and the dropout rate is even higher for minorities.
  • FORCED MARRIAGE – One in seven girls in developing countries is married off before age 15.
  • VIOLENCE – In the US more than half (54%) of all rapes of females happen before age 18. One in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. Worldwide children as young as age 11 are forced to work as prosituties. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year.
  • BODY IMAGE – More than half (54%) of 3rd-5th grade girls worry about their appearance and 37% worry about their weight. More than half (57%) of music videos feature a female portrayed exclusively as a decorative, sexual object.

You can find these facts and so much more on the International Day of the Girl website.

What better time than today to sit down and talk with your daughter about these issues (age appropriate, of course)? To help you along, they’ve provided a tool kit than you can download here.

Let’s hear it for the girls!

Categories: Baby Mama