Forget history -- it’s herstory time! Today is the first ever International Day of the Girl, brought to us by the United Nations and awesome girls everywhere.
What is the day all about? It was created to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls' rights everywhere. The situation girls are in varies greatly around the world, and some facts might blow your mind. The Day of the Girl concentrates on a number of different issues that girls face worldwide, and we wanted to highlight a few of them for ya. We also have info about how you can make things better, cuz that’s what this day is all about.
Only 30% of girls make it to secondary school. And by 2015, 64% of adults who can’t read will be women. In some countries it costs money to go to school, and if a girl is poor or there is no school available, then she just doesn’t receive an education. But getting an education makes such a big diff: it can break through sexist gender roles, help women earn more money and help the economy as a whole. Women who are better educated know how to protect themselves from diseases and can also control how many kids they have, if they decide they want kids.
How you can help: You can ask your representative to co-sponsor the Education for All Act to help ensure even girls in poor countries get an education or get involved with the helpful group She's the First, which is all about girls' education in the developing world. You can also get involved with keeping kids in school in America through Get Schooled.
+ Human Trafficking
mtvU’s Against Our Will campaign is out there to fight human trafficking, and so is the UN. Since human trafficking happens to women as well as men, the fight against modern-day slavery is a big part of International Day of the Girl. Trafficking takes place all over the world, including right here in the United States. According to the Day of the Girl org, the average age an American girl is forced into commercial exploitation is between 12 and 14. And Against Our Will tells us that it's believed somewhere between 12 and 27 million people are enslaved globally.
+ Female Mutilation
Most people don’t realize that female genital mutilation (FGM) is done regularly in some countries, including many parts of Africa. There are different forms of FGM, and in one form the majority of the external female genitalia is cut off and stitched together so the girl has just enough room to use the bathroom and get her period. This is an extremely painful practice and it is typically done to young girls without pain medication or even sterile equipment. Part of the idea is to make sure women don't enjoy sex, and the cutting gives them health problems, from infection to painful childbirth to death. Blown away yet? Get this: it’s estimated that up to 140 MILLION women have been genitally mutilated.
How you can help: Learn more details about mutilation at DoSomething, including the different types and reasons the practice is happening, and get involved with orgs like Tostan and Equality Now to help end this women's rights violation.