Today’s our day, girls.
As you read this today, take a deep, diaphragmatic, breath. Watch your stomach fill up with air. Be full of life. Right before you exhale, let out a smile. A smirk. A giggle.
Today’s our day, girls.
We have been targeted and opposed before we were even born. It doesn’t come as a surprise to us that there are more boy than girl births around the globe. What does come as a shock, however, is the gender gap presented when collected data is analyzed.
According to Population Research Institute, there should be about 47 million more boys than girls in the world since the year 2000 simply due to the fact that 51% of births naturally result in boys. However, because of sex-selective abortions, there are actually 71 million more boys than girls born. Talk about a disadvantage when fighting for equality.
These statistics are alarming. Interestingly, a lot of these sex-selective abortions are happening to the East of the United States (i.e., Africa, Europe, Asia). If that wasn’t horrifying enough, sex-selectivity has been used as humor all throughout film. A pretty recent example is the scene in the Dictator where Aladeen jokes about throwing the new-born baby girl in the trash. Way to make us feel wanted, Larry Charles.
So now we’re here. We were born. We’re alive. We should feel welcomed, right? Wrong. It’s not easy being a girl. A lot of times it feels like a battle just being here. And then the world throws in pink taxes, education barriers, hyper sexualization, marriage pressure, and even sex/gender discrimination in the workplace. Not to mention the hidden acts of exploiting girls as household servants, dowry, neglect, abuse, and sex trafficking, Just reading this list feels overwhelming. Now imagine living with these barriers every. single. day. No one would feel welcomed with these economical, emotional, and social impediments.
In an effort to ensure the well-being, empowerment, and human rights of girls around the globe, United Nation leaders set a Sustainable Development Agenda which they hope to achieve by 2030.
With this agenda, they promise all girls quality education and health services. We all agree with the United Nations when they state [that], “Investing in girls is both the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. It has a powerful ripple effect across all areas of development, and reaches forward to future generations.”
In order to commit to this goal, the United Nations General Assembly ratified Resolution 66/170 to affirm Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl. This day is used to “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” according to the United Nations.
Over the last decade, the UN reports significant progress in improving the lives of young girls. Since 2015, girls are said to have higher rates of enrolling in primary school, receiving vital vaccinations, and suffering less from health and nutrition problems. In fact, Unicef declares that although the difficulties we encounter, us girls are surviving childhood and attending school more. Girls Not Brides also reports a decrease in child marriages. Even so, there is still so much more work to be done to equate our place in society amongst boys.
While world leaders and local organizations are working hard to promote our value in society and end discrimination against us, it is up to us, as girls, to continue the conversation not just today, but everyday. Just as President Obama encourages in his proclamation, “Let us keep working to build a world that is more just and free — because nothing should stand in the way of strong girls with bold dreams.”
Investing in a girl means investing in a world. It is not a secret that we, as girls, carry a lot on our shoulders. We have succeeded times and times again even with barriers of discrimination. Imagine what we could accomplish if there was an equal level playing field between us and boys?
It’s crucial we change the way we view girls. Don’t think of us as someone’s daughter, sister, mother, wife. We are our own entity. Our value does not depend on our relationship to you. Don’t see us as equals because we are simply human beings. Rather, treat us equally because you are being human.
Today, several groups and individuals are gathering to observe International Girl Day with programs, activities, conferences, and ceremonies that advance and celebrate opportunity and well-being for girls everywhere. What does that mean for us sitting behind piles of assignments for school and/or work? A well-deserved five minutes to smile, breathe, and feel proud of how far you’ve come. Share your love and success with those around you. Share your love and success with those farthest from you. Extend joy and continue to empower each other in order to move forward, together.
This one’s for us, girls.