Imagine yourself as a 13 year old girl. You are excited about starting high school, you're visiting the mall with your mom to try on your first training bra, and you might even be googly-eyed over one of your classmates. Puberty means pimples, a growing body, and a new wardrobe from Charlotte Russe. More than likely the last thing on your mind is marriage and bearing children.
Now imagine that you are a girl in an impoverished country. Here, the worst of puberty does not equate to a few awkward phases or simply coping with raging hormones; puberty means dropping out of school, becomming a wife, and having children with a man twice your age. Just because you are a girl, your village, country, and even your parents consider you far less valuable than a boy. However this mentality is not only inhumane, it is incorrect.
Statistics are not necessary to prove that girls are as valuable as boys-- just look around you! In the United States, we watch girls grow up to become successful members of our society -- scientists, doctors, teachers, writers, and leaders -- almost everyday! During this day and age, all people should know that girls are mentally, emotionally and physically capable of becomming more than just mothers and childbeares. However there are still those, many of those, who can't accept this. Lets prove those people wrong with a few empowering statistics.
According to the 10x10 campaign, research consistently proves that educating and empowering girls breaks the cycle of generational poverty. For instance, when a country has 10% more girls going to school, its GDP increases an average of 3% (Council on Foreign Relations). A countries overall health is bettered when women are educated as well. Educated mothers are 50% more likely to immunize their children; and when more girls are educated, a country's malnutrition and HIV rates decline (UNGEI, the Council on Foreign Relations). Also, wouldn't a less corrupt world be nice? Research from the Center of Global Development shows that when women take leadership roles in their community, corruption diminishes.
With this pressing issue in mind, the United Nations declared the first International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2012! People across the world are joining hands to celebrate girls by hosting events, socials, and online campaigns to raise awareness of isues that face girls in impoverished countries.
At Virginia Commonwealth University, the student organization and online women's magazine, Her Campus VCU, is hosting an event on October 11, 2012 from 8 pm to 11 pm in the Richmond Salons 3&4 of the University Student Commons. Admission is free and open to the public; and there will be talks, discussions, video previews, refreshments, and socializing to bring people together over the cause.
You can support and raise awareness of International Day of the Girl in the following ways:
- Attend Her Campus VCU's International Day of the Girl Child event
- Join Her Campus VCU in their Facebook campaign by changing your profile picture to yourself as a girl with a caption saying "Support International Day Of The Girl on 10/11 by changing your profile picture to yourself as a child!"
- Change your cover photo on Facebook to a flier of International Day of the Girl or Her Campus VCU's event flier:
- Join the conversation on Twitter. From 9am to 9pm EST, join the International Day of the Girl 12-hour Tweet-A-Thon, covering a range of topics, from the barriers to education girls face, to ways you can get involved. Featuring discussions with several non-profits supporting girls’ empowerment, female bloggers and influencers. Follow along and join the conversation all day using the hashtag #IDG2012.
- Educate yourself by checking out 10x10's campaign