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Girls have an astounding effect on the state of the world, so why do so many seem to get ignored? The Girl Effect offers insight into the state of the planet and how impacted it is by females. It might not seem like a significant issue, but it is.
So why girls? Girls are agents of change in the world. By investing in the potential of the lives of females when it comes to problems such as education, AIDS, child marriage, and teen pregnancy, the cycle of poverty can be broken. Because girls account for much of the ignored population of the world, once we listen to them, then many of the issues facing society can be alleviated.
Excluding women and girls comes at a high price. $10 billion dollars of income in India is lost through teen pregnancy, 85% of girls leave school early in Uganda, and by delaying the marriage rate of young girls in Bangladesh, $69 billion can be added to the income of the country.
The question shouldn’t be “Why girls?” but “Why wait?”
#1) We All Have Rights that Shouldn’t Be Taken Away
Being born a girl shouldn’t be a punishment. It doesn’t mean living a life of less freedom than a boy or a man. In a world that is dominated by men, The Girl Effect helps to banish gender stereotypes to make the world a safe place for girls.
25-year old Mirna Ines Fernández, a professor of EMI University has this to say,
“Young people are the protagonists for thinking outside of the box. They can themselves create new definitions of what is masculinity and femininity, and break stereotypes that are the root causes of gender inequality. My vision of gender equality is a world where girls and young women can be themselves, develop their leadership skills without any fears. It is important that we take into account the deeper causes of gender inequality. Governments need to make mechanisms available to hold them accountable, but we as youth, have a critical role to hold them accountable.”
#2) Girls Are the Future
According to the Girl Effect, girls and young women are the future mothers of every child born into poverty. They need the services and means to stay happy and healthy.
Issues such as FGM (female genital mutilation) is running rampant in parts of the world, affecting over 140 million women today. We often hear of the physical traumas that are highly horrific in itself, but no one talks of the psychological traumas that effect young women who were plagued by FGM.
With the help of The Girl Effect, FGM is becoming more widely known and is seeing more accountability from doctors who perform the procedure. The Dahlia Project , a nonprofit organization based in London, is the only place in Europe that provides an open arena to talk about the effects of FGM. It’s a small start but hopefully FGM will become outlawed world wide if not most countries.
#3) Safety in Numbers
You’ve probably heard about the rampant problem of street harassment in the media and other sources of social venues. When women feel unsafe, their ability to be themselves or go about their daily lives are threatened.
Ending violence against girls and women is one of the biggest steps towards ending global poverty. 33% of women are affected by violence yet many people still don’t see it as an issue. “The pick-up artist” Julien Blanc is one of many that attempt to normalize violence against women. People all over the world, not just men, should stand up to violence of any kind, so that children can recognize female violence when and if it occurs.
The Girl Effect encourages us to break the walls of silence and forge more policing when it comes to violence of girls. Children forced to marry and not allowed to get the education she needs leaves no room for her to learn that what is happening is wrong.
#4) Girls Have the Power to Change the Economy
Opening a bank account can lead to a world of opportunity for a young woman who doesn’t have any other means to independence. A father can earn six cows and a goat by marrying off his daughter, but if a girl gets the education she needs, she can make enough money to take care of herself and her family.
FGM is not only about tradition, but about money. After a circumcised girl gets married, the father usually doesn’t have to pay for her education yet in return receives a bride price from the groom.
Send your girls to school instead of mutilating and selling them, because this education will benefit you and your family,” urges, Gladys Kiranto, founder of Tareto Maa, an organization who supports girls who run away from home to avoid FGM. She compares the economy to FGM to urge people of the profound effects it has on girls.
The Girl Effect, as well a any other non profits, are allowing girls and women to sound off about how they view the world. Hopefully, the troubles surrounding women will shatter as people become increasing educated on the effects that it has on the world.
Tell us what you think of the efforts of The Girl Effect. Are you aware of FGM and street harassment? Please tell us your opinions in the comments below!