MAKE A STAND... The International Day of the Girl 2012 11 October 2012 is not just an ordinary day. Supported by the United Nations, it is the first International Day of the Girl... ever! Its purpose is two-fold; celebrating the accomplishments of girls and highlighting the widespread global discrimination which still exists. Really? Is it needed? Unfortunately, yes. International charity PLAN’s Because I am a Girl campaign illustrates the injustices that people face across the world simply because of their gender:
• Because I am a Girl... I am more likely to be living in extreme poverty. 70% of the one billion people living in extreme poverty are women and girls.
• Because I am a Girl... I am three times more likely to be malnourished than boys.
• Because I am a Girl... I will probably not attend secondary school.
In the poorest countries of the world, 50% of girls do not attend secondary school. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right. And we need to do something about it. Only two days ago, Malala Yusafzai, a 14-year-old education rights activist, was shot and injured while on her way home from school in Pakistan by the Taliban. Her crime? That she advocated that girls in her community should have the right to attend school just like their brothers. Education is the key Girls can break the cycle of poverty. With an education, girls are less likely to marry young and more likely to survive into adulthood. It empowers young women to make life choices for themselves and be transformation agents in their communities. Education is the key and it should be our focus on action on the International Day of the Girl.
So what can I do? God call us to care. God call us to act justly. God calls us to demand change. ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah Ch.6:4). Sophia Network wholeheartedly supports the International Day of the Girl. Today, we ask you to speak out for young women like Malala by committing to five steps for change...
1. Sign the UN petition: Spare 30 seconds and sign PLAN’s petition to ensure that the UN Secretary-General prioritises girls’ education. Add your voice to the thousands here - http://www.plan-uk.org/what-we-do/campaigns/because-i-am-a-girl/day-of-the-girl/sign-the-petition/.
2. Spread the word on social media: Today, make your tweets and status updates count! Post a link to the petition and upload photos to your social media here - http://www.plan-uk.org/what-we-do/campaigns/because-i-am-a-girl/day-of-the-girl/support-through-social-media/
3. Get clued up: Don’t know much about the situation of girls globally? Make an effort to ‘wise yourself up.’ A great place to start is PLAN’s ‘State of the World report 2011’ available online here - http://www.plan-uk.org/what-we-do/campaigns/because-i-am-a-girl/girls-rights-resources/. Or order a copy of Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
4. Pray: Use web resources as prayer guides. Pray individually, pray creatively or even form a prayer group and organise a prayer breakfast for your community. Do not underestimate the power of prayer.
5. Encourage someone: Look around... there are young women in our lives that need encouragement and prayer. Make it your mission to encourage someone today. Are you mentoring a younger woman? Perhaps God is asking you to?
Together we can be God’s agents of transformation in the world. The time is now.