Before I start talking about this day, there is a li’l story I have to share.
The story is about this wonderful woman, whom I call dida. Dida means maternal grandmother in Bangla. She is 93. No, wait. 94. Oh no, it doesn’t matter. We stopped counting after 90. From the very first day that I had seen her, she has these white hair and wrinkled face. But she will always remain this young woman who believes in living in the present and the most logical woman this century or this millennium will see.
She is a feminist before it was cool. She has always believed in gender equality and made us believe in it too. While my friends used to talk about how orthodox their grandparents were, I used to thank the universe for giving me such a cool couple as my grandparents.
My dida is super strong. She has not only looked after a family and brought up two entire generations with such strong values, but she is emotionally a rock too. She is one woman I aspire to be. Life is not easy for anyone. And the way she behaves and reacts even today, at this age, is commendable. There have been times when we have seen tough days as a family, and we have broken down but not this lady. She has always maintained the rationality that we seek.
She has always believed in me – encouraged me to do stand up for myself.
Why did I talk about her today? Because she is the source of the feminism that I follow today. It is deeply imbibed in me.
Not just one single day
I understand that not every girl is blessed with such families. Some people still believe in oppressing girls and depriving them of their human rights. We might blame a country or a Government for the inequality that exists in the world that we live in, but it always starts from your own home.
If you are thinking that I am on a spree of writing about all the days to gain traction to my website – you are wrong. I am writing because these things matter to me. I have got a platform and want to start a conversation which will help in building a better world to live.
What is this day about?
For me, growing up as a girl in this era was not very tough. But it is very difficult for a lot of girls out there. Of course, I have seen a lot of discrimination and biases. I have seen violence against women. But the real world is much more difficult for girls than just that. To talk about it, build awareness and help in reaching out to as many girls as possible and providing them with the resources to make a better life for themselves, the Internation Day of the Girl Child is being observed since 2012.
Currently, there are 1.1 billion girls in this world. 260 million children don’t get to complete primary education out of which over 60 per cent are girls. According to the World Bank, better-educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labour market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and enable better health care and education for their children, should they choose to become mothers.
Every 10 minutes, a teenage girl dies because of violence. More than 20 million girls, aged 15-19 years, became teenage mothers last year. Close to 500 million women and girls don’t have access to hygienic sanitary condition – leading to an increase in school dropouts. These girls should have a choice with their lives too.
These are just a few of the problems that are being tried to address by observing this day.
How can you help?
The least you can do – start a conversation. Educate people around you with the importance of education and their fundamental human rights. Try to talk among friends and family. Or with the people – like your domestic help – who need to learn this a li’l more than you do.
There are a various organization working towards the betterment of girl children all around the world. You can spare some time or/and money to help these organizations.
If everything else feels a bit too much for you right now, social media has a considerable reach. Maybe share one tweet/post or this(or any) article about the International Day of the Girl Child to spread awareness.
Written for #CauseAChatter