International Day of the Girl: “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence”
Isn’t it fitting that the day before the International Day of the Girl, Malala Yousafzai is honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest ever to be awarded that honor. She shares the Nobel Prize with a child rights advocate from India, Kailash Satyarthi, who has worked for girls’ empowerment in his life’s work. As we celebrate Day of the Girl, we honor not only the potential, the dreams, the future and empowerment of girls but also we denounce the violence directed at girls as a result of just being born a girl, of wanting to go to school, for speaking up, having a voice and forging their identity as a young person.
Malala receiving the Nobel Peace Prize brings together interlinking issues:
Peace, Violence and Education.
In many countries girls are on the front lines of violence due to an entrenched system of patriarchy and discrimination, but also due to a cycle of poverty and inequality in which girls live day in and day out. Exercising her right to education and speaking up for education equality spurred the violence against Malala. “Who is Malala?” was followed by rapid gunfire but later this violent action generated random and peaceful actions of “I am Malala.”
A young woman, Angelica, touched our hearts last year at the FTF co-sponsored Girls Tribunal on Violence recalling the dangers girls face getting to school and of ethnic-based bullying and being subordinated in school. In their daily lives they face the rampancy of gang related sexual violence against girls in El Salvador, a country ravaged by war, then calmed through the Peace Accords and now considered “one of the most violent countries in the world.”[i] Poverty is driving children, including girls, to flee the country.
In Africa, while supposedly safe in school, 276 Nigerian girls were abducted by the Boko Haram sect in Chibok, Borno State six months ago. Next week family and friends of the 219 girls still in captivity (57 escaped) will launch a Global Week of Action from October 11 – 18th to mobilize government and political action to #BringBackOurGirls. According to organizers, “These are adolescent girls who, against all odds, sought education in order to be empowered in their bid to become responsible leaders of the society. Our world must not forget them. How can the world move on without 219 promising young women whose zeal for education should be an example for girls everywhere in the world. We cannot afford for girls and parents anywhere in the world to be forced to choose between education and personal safety,… Our world must not forget them.”
#MalalaYousafzai “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform
your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl.
[i] Overseas Security Advisory Council, https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=15771, June 2014.