It’s a really good time to be a girl. Last week, global leaders gathered at Mashable’s Social Good Summit and while I only attended the last day of the summit, one major takeaway was clear = we can end poverty if we just invest in girls. Last night, Part One of the Half the Sky documentary premiered on CBS, and Sheryl WuDunn so articulately stated, “Educate a girl and she will change the world around her.” Next week, millions of events, fundraisers, talks and celebrations will take place to commemorate The UN’s Day of The Girl.
Why so much double X love lately? Because of journalists like Nick Kristof, and because of the instantaneous global access social media provides, people are starting to have a much richer understanding of how bad things really are for girls growing up in the developing world. The horrors are unimaginable, how poor village girls are sold to brothels at the age of 8, raped as toddlers, burned with acid, or forced to give birth before their bodies are developed enough to bear that burden. Go look up what a fistula is and where in the world it happens and tell me you’re not compelled to do something to help these poor girls. The issue has always been that these girls are so undervalued so nobody has paid much attention to them. So as a result they have no means or knowledge about how to get out of their situation, with no access to education or no knowledge of anything but their one remote village, it has been almost impossible for them to make a different life for themselves and their future generations.
Two years ago when the Girl Effect video came out, I wrote about how lucky I felt to have been born in America. The amazing thing that’s happened in bringing all these horrible issues to light, is that people are paying attention. People have started to do something about this problem, and change is happening. Organizations are popping up everywhere, from fistula hospitals in Ethiopia to foundations that invest in female business owners in the developing world, to organizations that invest solely in girls’ education so they can try to prevent the problem before it starts. Girls who are educated are more likely to marry later, have fewer children, and to provide for their families, lifting them (and their communities) out of the cycle of poverty.
I hope you’ll watch the second part of Half the Sky tonight, participate in The Day of the Girl, start a fundraiser of your own or donate to one of the organizations below, which I personally love so much. If one little girl can trek two hours in a riverboat every day just to be the only one in her small Cambodian village to graduate from high school, we can easily click a button to help inspire more girls to follow that path, right?
Here are some things you can click:
And just so we’re ending on a lighter note, a reminder text from Hillary.