Why Are Girls The Answer?
With the documentary Girl Rising soon to come out, we may need a refresher… why GIRLS?
Why are girls the answer? What is it about the situation of girls in poverty and the hope of girls in empowerment that make this effort so essential to not only the girls themselves, but to global poverty and to justice?
The statistics alone are convincing:
Empowering Girls Fights Injustice
- Women work 2/3 of the world’s working hours, produce ½ of the world’s food, yet only earn 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property
- 66 million girls are denied primary or secondary education around the world
- Girls are 3x more likely to be malnourished than boys
- 70% of the people living in the most extreme poverty are women and girls
Empowering Girls Gives Hope to the Girls
- One extra year of school increases her lifetime income 15%
- HIV spreads 2x as fast among uneducated girls than educated girls
- A girl with primary and secondary education is more likely to stand up for her rights against violence
Empowering Girls Spreads Live to All that Girl Touches
- Mothers who had finished primary school have less children and healthier children
- Women bring home more of their earning to their family than men
- Educated women reinvest in their community and country more than men
These extraordinary statistics and current global facts are convincing enough that helping girls is just smart, powerful community and justice work. Girls in poverty are the most vulnerable group in the world and yet their empowerment means the greatest long term change for their communities and countries.
If these reasons and numbers alone weren’t already enough, I’d suggest one more thing…
These girls belong to someone.
On my daughter’s 5th birthday, she had 2 friends over and they danced and played to their hearts content. They knew nothing of want or fear. Had someone come in the house to hurt my child, they would have had to kill me first. Similarly, if someone would tell me that she couldn’t be educated or have food or healthcare simply because she was a girl (or for any other reason), every part of the mother bear in me would rise up to fight. These are the blessings and responsibilities of being an empowered girl myself.
So why is “that girl” somewhere else any different? She doesn’t speak my language and she doesn’t look like me – maybe it is hard to identify with her. There are just too many and the systems are too hard to crack – maybe I’m overwhelmed. But, once I change it from “that girl” to “my girl”, I don’t care about language or obstacles. She is mine and she needs me. And the truth is that all of these girls need us because somewhere in there – a parent, a country or a system has let go of “my girl.” We must be willing to make them ours – for they have always been “HIS.”
by Anna Goodworth, WOV Hartford, CT