At 12 years old, I was graduating from the sixth grade. My big issues were my knobby knees and the fact that I was wearing totally un-cool 1/4 inch heels. I was about to enter middle school, a land of shared lunches and unknown possibilities. At 15, my problems were “popcorn” reading assignments and rebelling against the fact that I have curly hair. We’re talking, big issues here. Issues that have shaped the person I am today. For those curious, I eventually did learn to love the curls and grew into my knees. And sure, there were some girls that really had it rough during their tween and teen years, and, yes, maybe I had more serious problems too. The point of the matter is that the average girl dilemmas only shed light on a few universal underlining issues regarding body image and self worth. But what if the self worth isn’t an issue of internalizing emotion and giving too much authority to the popular kids in class?
What if the problem is that, as a girl, your society limits your worth and your opportunities.
We have a serious problem… but I think we’ve found a solution:
The Girl Effect is looking to help change the course of history by educating women and fighting poverty. Research shows that educated mothers are more likely to send their children to school, thus creating a ripple effect. As Anita shows, it starts with one girl. The first girl in her village to go to school, she is now a business owner, inspiring other girls to strive for an education.
For most girls of third world countries, their issues are serious. While most young girls are worrying about boys, there are girls out there being forced into marriages at the age of 13. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-18. Think about that, while you were giggling in health class learning about condoms and fallopian tubes. Married girls are dying from unhealthy pregnancies, giving birth, and AIDS. In some countries a woman’s body is not even considered her own property.
Statistically, when a girl in a developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. The health risk of pregnancies is lower as is the number of children making it is easier for families to provide for a flourishing future. Again, The Ripple Effect. It has also been found that, on average, a woman of a developing world will give 90% of all of their earnings to their family. In essence: Give a girl a chance to survive, to be educated, and to flourish and that girl will become a woman who gives back.
How Can You Give Back? Donate. If you don’t have money to donate (remember, even the smallest helps), donate your time. Spread the word. Write a blog post. Tweet a message. Hold a fundraiser. Put this on your Christmas list. Ask for donations in lieu of presents. I do not own a business, I do not sell a product, but when I do, I will donate a portion of my earnings to this organization because I believe in it. I know how much an education has helped me and the only thing holding me back was myself.
To learn more about The Girl Effect visit: http://www.girleffect.org/question
To see what others bloggers have to say about The Girl Effect, take a look The Girl Effect Campaign.