- In 2007, the first 'Because I'm A Girl' report noted that: "'Inequality between boys and girls remains deep-rooted and starts early." Research into adolescent girls and gender justice carried out by the UK's Overseas Development Institute in Uganda noted: "Within the first seven years of life, girls are already indoctrinated into the idea of being subject to men. This starts in the household and is reinforced in the community."
- The 2013 World Health Organization report found that 29% of adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 19 who have ever been in a relationship have experienced violence at the hands of a partner—that's over a quarter of girls and women under the age of 20.
- 14 million girls under the age of 18, the official age at which a child become an adult under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are married each year. Child marriage, often to an older man, not only deprives a girl of her childhood, and often of her education, but is the source of countless rights violations for girls, particularly during adolescence. Becoming pregnant and giving birth before her body is fully mature is a leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19. In addition, studies have found that because of the power imbalance, such marriages can lead to high levels of domestic violence.
- During an interview with a young Filipino girl named Jacel, she states that the boys don't let her play football with them because only boys are allowed to play the game since "we [girls] are weak".
- Another young girl named Rosybel, from Dominican Republic shares, "My younger brothers cannot do chores at home, only we girls. If my little brother dirties his clothes, I wash them."
- Lorena from Brazil states, "I think men and woman can do the same activities in the same way. My dad doesn't help my mother. I think my father could help my mother [with household chores]."
- An adolescent girl from Rwanda shares, "We need leaders who really understand our needs and who understand gender equality. Women leaders in high positions of leadership inspire us. Me personally, when I see them, I know that I can be able to take a decision."
- A UNESCO representative who visited a school in a remote village in Liberia observed a girl running around and playing with the boys in the school yard. The male Principal was appalled and reprimanded her for being rowdy by saying, "you are a little girl; you should be quiet and not running around making so much noise. The little girl pondered for a few seconds and said quietly: "Teacher, be careful how you talk to me. Don't forget our President is a woman."
- A mother from rural Ethiopia articulates very clearly, "My wish for my daughter is that she should marry after she has become self reliant; I wish her to complete her education, then to have her own work and then to marry a person whom she loves and with whom she wants to live."
- "In the future, I want to be a very successful auto mechanic. I think I am a good role model. Sometimes people in high positions encourage and advise me to tell me I'm a good example. I make them happy as they just cannot believe that a lady can do such things!", stated by 18-year old Gloria Joyce who is a trainee car mechanic at Plan International's Juba Technical High School in South Sudan.
- girl's education to be prioritized by world leaders
- girls' completion of quality secondary education to be a major focus of international action
- funding for girls' education to be increased
- an end to child marriage
- and end to gender-based violance in and around schools
- girls and boys to participate in decision making and inspire those with power to take action
|chatting with RikiFlo of Magic 89.9 and Paulene of Plan International|
|with Lindsay Mercado (in black), Girl Declaration Project Advocate|
The entire event made me realize this—that instead of using our womanhood as an excuse, we should make it a means. A means to live an empowered, fruitful and beautiful life, a life of purpose and passion.
Personally, I am driven to create a community of strong, brave and confident women, because I'm a girl.
What are you empowered to do because you're a girl? Lemme know on the comment section below.
Also, feel free to contact Paulene Santos if you have ideas on how to help.
(photos by Eloisa Lopez)