I have two daughters (14 and 11) and if they were born in some cultures in developing countries there is a high probability they would be married by now, have little education, or would even be young mothers. Those are absolutely terrifying notions for me to fathom, and yet that is the reality for millions upon millions of girls around the world.
Girls in developing countries are often denied the opportunity to finish school because they become young brides and mothers. According to Plan International 10 million girls under the age of 18 marry each year, many as young as 8. Additionally, 800 women die during childbirth every day. Maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls 15 years and younger according to the World Health Organization. Young girls have not had the opportunity to fully develop and therefore face a statistically higher risk of death while giving birth.
With so many obstacles facing girls, who incidentally are the greatest asset to many developing countries, the world will celebrate the International Day of the Girl for the first time on October 11, 2012 to bring worldwide awareness to issues girls’ face. There are several organizations and initiatives that will celebrate the Day of the Girl this year. Here are three organizations’ campaigns I recommend. Also, be sure to follow #DayoftheGirl on Twitter to keep abreast of news and events.
1. Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign: Plan International, the first organization to lobby for an International Day of the Girl, is raising awareness about girls’ issues by calling for one million people to raise their hands in support of education for all girls.
Raising your hand for girls’ education is as simple as making a simple pledge on Facebook. I raised mine.
2. Care.org’s Help End Child Marriage campaign. According to Care.org 15 million girls become child brides every day. 50 percent of all girls will become mothers during their childhood. On the Day of the Girl, Care is bringing global awareness to child brides and how we can stop this practice in order to give girls greater opportunities to live more productive lives. You can help spread the word about Care’s Help End Child Marriage on Twitter and Facebook by attaching a Twibbon to your profiles.
3. 10 x 10′s Basic Math campaign: 10×10 is a feature film, Girl Rising, and a social action campaign advocating for the education of girls, created and launched by an award-winning team of journalists. On International Day of the Girl, 10×10′s Basic Math campaign will raise awareness about girls’ right to education through local events hosted around the world.
The premise behind the Basic Math campaign is that positive and measurable results from girls’ education is easy to calculate. According to 10 x 10 access to education for girls has the power to end generational poverty and lessens the chance that girls will marry and have children too young. Learn how to host a 10 x 10 event in celebration of Day of the Girl.
International Day of the Girl Child Blog Hop: Paula Rudnicka of Smile Play Learn is organizing a blog hop for those who are writing posts about the Day of the Girl. Rudnika provides a thorough background about the Day of the Girl, how it came to be, why it’s important, and what you can do to spread the word about issues affecting girls in developing countries. The blog hop goes live on October 11.
What do you plan to do to celebrate the International Day of the Girl?