International Day of the Girl


Dinan, France, August 2017

Life has been full. I wrote about the notion of time recently. 

The same schedules for travel, work, and school seem to shift in varying degrees each calendar year. That’s why we all feel like time is flying by. All the opportunities and choices we are lucky to have such as education, career, family, vacations are things that fill our time.

Yet some things stay constant. Some things don’t seem to change fast enough. Sometimes things get worse.

Today is the International Day of the Girl. A day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

There are 600 million adolescent girls in the world, most of them living in the developing world. Every 10 minutes, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death and illness for adolescent girls. 65 million girls are out of school. Almost 1,000 young women are newly infected with HIV every day. And more than 13 million girls will become child brides this year alone.

Having a young girl myself, it’s impossible for me to imagine her suffering from any of these adversities.

Each girl possesses the potential to become an entrepreneur, a scientist, a visionary change-maker, or the leader of her country. Unfortunately, too many girls face daily, arduous barriers that prevent them from reaching their potential. Things as simple as the absence of sanitary napkins during menstruation to early and forced marriages often resulting in sexual violence.

This International Day of the Girl comes at turbulent times. Whether caused by armed conflict or natural disaster, humanitarian crises always hurt women and girls the most – they account for more than 75 percent of the refugees and displaced persons at risk from war, famine, persecution and natural disaster.

The theme of this International Day — “EmPOWER girls: emergency response and resilience planning.”

It’s hard to know what to do when your daily life is so removed from this harsh reality. I hope these words at least serve a reminder that we are the lucky ones. The ones with the schedules, routines, and plans. We are lucky to have plans. We also aren’t helpless. Use your voice, your platform (Twitter, Facebook, IG), your dinner conversation or your written word to speak about issues you care about and have a positive change in your community anywhere in the world. Be part of a global movement for positive social change.

Even though it’s difficult for my daughter to comprehend the level of complexity or misfortune people endure, I try to teach her to respect differences, embrace diversity, learn something new and be true to yourself.   

To learn more about the International Day of the Girl, visit here and here.  Use the hashtags: #dayofthegirl, #girlstakeover, #girlhero, #IDG2017, #ourgirlsmatter, #justiceforgirls.

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