Monday, June 28, 2010

Cause of the Month: The Girl Effect

I started the Cause of the Month post after the lovely SocialWrkr24/7 started a monthly meme featuring a Cause a Month, where she speaks about a cause that represents her work in the field (child welfare) or something she is passionate about. Be sure to check out her blog! I've learned a lot from her.

Please take a moment to watch this video before reading the post.

Being a woman, an activist, a humanitarian and someone who wants to empower young women, this video gets me every time. I honestly do not remember how I came across this amazing message, but is definitely a message that we all need to hear. Females are very lucky in the United States of America. In fact, most of us do not know how good we really have it. Despite our equal opportunities here, we still see discrimination, and the so-called "glass ceiling" effect.

In many countries around the world, women have no voice, and even though we had to fight for it here, women elsewhere sometimes literally face death in such a fight. Situations have changed and continue to change in a lot of countries, but females have a long way to go. It is unfortunate that so many people do not realize the value of females, aside from their baby-making abilities. Yes - that is a major and very important piece. But they have so much more to offer, as the video above describes.

The Girl Effect is an interesting and inspiring organization.

"The Girl Effect is the powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate. It’s an untapped force in the fight against poverty, and it’s driven by champions around the globe: the Nike Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the UN Foundation, the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, CARE, Plan, the Population Council, ICRW and the Center for Global Development – and many others."

Why Girls?

Because there’s poverty, and war, and hunger, and AIDS, and because when adolescent girls in the developing world have a chance, they can be the most powerful force of change for themselves, their families, communities, countries, and even the planet.

But while those 600 million adolescent girls are the most likely agents of change, they are often invisible to their societies and the world."

  • Girls really are an untapped resource. In developing countries, there are usually no identifying documentation, so a girl doesn't know her age, and cannot protect herself from child marriage, vote, open a bank account, find a job.

  • 70% of the world's school-aged children who are not in school are GIRLS! Girls have the human right, just as much as boys, to be educated and given a chance to make a better life for themselves!

  • Child marriages are the norm in many countries because women's bodies aren't considered their own! Many adolescent girls die from childbirth. This is a major violation of body and soul!

  • Girls can be educated about HIV but it is not enough. Until they don't risk the chance of rape the minute they leave their home, or have a voice when it comes to sexual relations, no amount of education will help.

  • Girls can learn the skills for economic independence! They need to be given the tools, the education, and the respect first.

  • A girl is said to reinvest resources within her community at a much higher rate than a boy would. Girls are better investments.

  • Girls are a distinct category. They deserve this distinction when it comes to aid, education, sports, civic participation, health and economics.

  • Girls need US - YOU and ME - to speak up for their human right to live a life of their OWN! We all have a stake in the future of these young ladies. Their future is our future.
Source: The Girl Effect

So what can you do about that?

Join the movement: A million people can make a lot of noise. Help make girls visible. Stand up and be counted by becoming a fan of The Girl Effect, and getting your friends to do the same. Tell the world that you think the 600 million girls in the developing world deserve better – for themselves, and for the end of poverty.