Thursday, December 22, 2011

Because I am a girl

In my previous blog series I focused on the power of a First Lady and highlighted the wasted opportunities by some of these First Wives. In this next set of blogs I want to share the reality of gender inequality. This is an issue First Ladies around the world should rally around considering some of these atrocities are happening in their own backyards.

We are thinkers from an early age
Gender inequality is not a new issue but it is taking a long time to get traction and attention around the world. The reality is that across the world, girls face double-barreled discrimination due to their gender and age placing them at the bottom of the social strata.

Research shows that girls are more likely to suffer from malnutrition,  forced early marriage, violence and/or intimidation, trafficking, sold or coerced into sex trade or become infected with HIV.

It is only the girl-child that is subject to infanticide while still in the womb.

Plan International, a UK based, children's development organization, began a campaign called "Because I am a girl" in 2007. The purpose of the campaign is to fight gender inequality, promote girls' rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty. In their quest, Plan is producing one girl report each year in the run up to 2015, the target year for the Millennium Development Goals. Each report provides tangible proof of the inequalities that still exist between boys and girls. Their latest success was the United Nations declaration October 11 as the Day of the Girl.

Here are the sobering facts from one of the reports:

  • I have the same rights as my brothers, yet I am discriminated against even before I am born.
  • I and 68,000 teenage girls will die from unsafe abortions this year.
  • I and 62 million other girls are not in primary school.
  • I and 2 million other girls will undergo female genital cutting this year.
  • I and more than 100 million girls under 18, some as young as 12, are expected to marry over the next decade.

Below is a moving video based on the campaign.

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