October 11 was coined in 2011 as International Day of the Girl for the advocacy of the young female body and education reform for girls around the world in every country. This movement is a way for girls to know how to speak up when things are simply not right. This organization also pushes for the training of addressing things from sexual harassment in schools to understanding the changes a young girl’s body will go through. This day is unique. This day is different. This day is literally for all of us.
Now, if you have seen this hashtag pop up alongside the photos of many of your favorite girls on your timeline then you already know that they just might be celebrating too! But you may wonder, how do you celebrate this? Well the good news is that it does not require you to order a cake, purchase balloons or to send out invites (unless that’s your thing). I have those answers and some GSU organizations below to help you celebrate all year.
1. Advocate, advocate, advocate!
This day is not just another day ladies and gentlemen, this day was coined because girls everywhere do not have free access to education. Earlier this year, President Trump de-funded Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative because it was not a priority on his list. Not only was this decision detrimental to us locally, but it was heart wrenching globally when millions of girls’ education funds were cut. In other words, he cut the source and it is up to those who have access to education to make it even more accessible and normal for girls everywhere. If we understand the word education, it goes beyond your eight hour school day. Education is understanding your whole self and ultimately the world around you. It is a way to explore the ins and outs as well as the things that no one can tell you verbatim. Education is comprehending that this person will experience changes mentally and of course, physically. It is an international way to equip young girls who do not have the tools with elements to help themselves reach their peak of womanhood with minimal errors. No initiative is perfect, but the fact that one of this caliber was de-funded just shows us how much further we have to go.
2. Understand public policy and the gender divide between education and equal pay
Though the gender gap is rapidly closing, it is not closing soon enough especially in the realm of education. According to a study done in late 2016 by the Public Policy Institute of California, though women are said to be more prepared for college and graduate at rates higher than their male counterparts they will still earn less in terms of pay rates. Pretty unfair, huh? So how do we change it? We become even more involved than we already are. We as women have always been the forefront of many movements and in modern times, this still rings true.
3. Stand together
Girl power is literally the ultimate super power and to have it right at our fingertips is the best thing since sliced bread. We have the power in our hands to change the world and we become an even bigger force when we take the initiative and work with one another. Seriously, we cannot be stopped! So if you go to Georgia State and are looking for a place to stand together with a group of like minded women, The Georgia State Section of the National Council of Negro Women, College Girls Rock, S.H.E., EmpowHer, Softer Touch and so many more are going to be your go to options! These ladies and so many more on the campus of Georgia State exhibit not ony amazing leadership qualities but also have the quality of life for the communities they serve as their first priority. From mentorship programs to community outreach to reinforcing personal goals, they have it if you need it. Check them out in orgsync and on their personal Instagram pages!
4. Grow beyond yourself
Understand that if you are currently enrolled in some form of higher education then you are the role model for a girl who thinks that she cannot do it. We all experience times where the best just seems so far away. Well for many girls, thse thoughts are all they have. All over the world little girls succumb to their circumstances and it does not have to be that way. Of course, we cannot save everyone (really, I wish that we could) but putting ourselves on our platforms and being a voice to those who do not have one is always a great stepping stone. The future really is female.
5. Some progress is good progress, even if it is slow progress
Who else likes for things to happen when you have the inkling to implement that level of change? I know I do. But slow change, even if it is somewhat stagnant is better that what was experienced yesterday. Let’s be honest, at some point we are hoping to get this holiday recognized as an official one where everything is closed and women and girls could be..well, women and girls. It is not easy being a girl by far. It is not easy having your reproductive rights bargained by those who have never experienced cramps and it is not easy when you push on as undermined minority. Nevertheless, the more dust we kick up the more public leaders have to pay attention. Change is coming ladies.
Inspired yet? I hope so! The International Day of the Girl goes beyond the calendar. It is a great initiative started worldwide to bring attention to the many issues that almost every woman will experience in her lifetime. This initiative and holiday is more than what people will paint it to be. Girls and women everywhere are the source that this world needs to survive and in order to keep a source, you ultimately have to respect it. We hope you want to make a change with us!
All images provided by Giphy.com