You might say we’ve come a long way in regards to women’s rights. You wouldn’t be wrong in saying so, but you’d also have to agree that we still have a ways to go. The recent attempt on the life of 14-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban because she’s been outspoken in trying to get education for girls is a perfect example of just how much work needs to be done on behalf of girls and women everywhere.
In the hopes of bringing attention to the issues that girls face all over the world, the United Nations have declared October 11th, 2012 as International Day of the Girl. What does this day mean in words? The dayofthegirl.org explains it perfectly:
The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe. When girls come together to talk about what really matters to us, we can teach other people–grownups, boys, girls all across the world–a new way of thinking about issues like gender stereotypes, discrimination, and opportunity. October 11 is not just a day but a movement. 10.11.12 is bigger than one issue, one organization, or even one country.
Why should you care?
Because all girls grow up to be women, and it’s our responsibility to pave the way for them and put an end to injustices based on gender.
What can you do?
You can be an active member of your community in supporting education for girls, teaching them that glass ceilings deserve to be broken and loudly condemning acts of violence against women all over the world. You can tell the girls in your life about Malala Yousafzai‘s courage, Gloria Steinem‘s never-ending advocacy and Abigail Adams, one of the earliest feminists who famously wrote to her husband, John Adams, to “remember the ladies” in 1776. In the letter that also stated her fierce opposition to slavery, she threatened a rebellion by women because “we will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.” (Hell yeah, Abby!) And these are just a handful of so many women to whom we should all aspire and think about on a daily basis if we’re to make any sense of this world that still needs a lot of help in seeing women as not just equal, but in some cases, human.
I’ll be celebrating because I don’t want to have to explain to my ignorant neighbor what women’s reproductive rights are anymore this calendar year, because I’ll never be as badass as 14-year-old Yousafzai and because should I have a daughter someday, I want her to always feel like there is nothing in the world she can’t do. Yes, those reasons right there are enough for me, but there are a hundred more on my list, too.
What are you going to do today to celebrate International Day of the Girl? Besides being your usual awesome self, of course.