I am a girl. A mother. A wife. A daughter and a sister.
As a mum of 3 precious, precious, PRECIOUS and BEAUTIFUL girls I was challenged this week. Really challenged. I had the opportunity to watch a moving film about an issue that i already “knew” about yet it was brought to my attention in a tangible way. It was a documentary sponsored by World Vision Australia called “Girl Rising”. It was a real eye-opener. It brought an ache to my heart whilst at the same time to my knees in humility and absolute gratitude for the life I live. For the time, country and family I was born into. The film has some heavy weight celebs involved too… Liam Neeson narrating with each girls story voiced by the likes of Alicia Keys, Cate Blanchett, Kerry Washington, Chloe Moretz, Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek, Selena Gomez and Anne Hathaway.
…this really hit home for me. It moved me and stirred me to write about this. So that you can know too. So that you can have compassion and be aware of the reality of so many girls across the globe. I mean once made aware of the actual statistics how could I not do something? Anything? You see our way of life…it really is the minority compared to the rest of the globe. The luxury of cheap education being made available to us…to girls is unbelievable to much go the globe. In a country where NOT EDUCATING your children would flag you as abusing or neglecting your child!
Here are 10 facts I that I learnt this week.
Around the world, girls face barriers to education that boys do not. But educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. These statistics offer insights on those barriers and also illustrate the lasting impact education has on girls, families, communities and nations around the world.
1 There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school.
Education First: An Initiative of the United Nations Secretary General. 2012.
2 66 million girls are out of school globally.
2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report.
3 If India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, its GDP would rise by $5.5 billion.
CIA World Factbook,Global Campaign for Education, and RESULTS Education Fund.
4 A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
The World Bank, August 2011.
5 Girls with 8 years of education are 4 times less likely to be married as children.
National Academies Press, 2005.
6 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year. That’s 38 thousand today – or 13 girls in the last 30 seconds.
7 In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence. UNIFEM, 2011.
50% of sexual assaults in the world victimize girls under the age of 15.
8 The #1 cause of death for girls 15-19 is childbirth.
World Health Organization, 2012.
9 A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
10 Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.
**taken from the GIRL RISING website**
Let me just highlight 2 of the above statistics that just freak me out to the core.
No. 6 – 18 million girls under 18 will be married this year!!
I sure as hell know that if one of my girls want to get married before she’s even 21 my husband is gonna be institutionalised…right after he’s jailed for assault on the male who wants to try and marry one of his girls!!!
No.8 – the number one cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 years of age GLOBALLY is not war, not famine, not even drugs…it’s childbirth!!!??? WHAT THE? Obviously directly linked to No.6!
This film also made me think about our country, the lucky country, and boy are we lucky! After really looking into just a tiny glimpse of a few girls REAL stories from around the globe on this film it made me think of how quickly we can judge people from other cultures, other country’s. How easy it is to stereo-type and lump people all together without knowing “their story”.
However if I were in any of those situations that make up those HORRIFIC statistics mentioned above – I know I would do anything i could to GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE, to try and create a better life for my family, for my girls.
It reminds me of Jesus when he talks about the day He comes back…
“I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited” – Mathew 25:41-43 (The Message)
how so many people will plead and say…
“Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’ – Matthew 25:44-45 (The Message)
This passage scares the crap out of me.
It challenges me.
It inspires me.
Be grateful for the life you have and extend a hand to others where and when you can. We can’t do everything but we can do something. You never know who or what is on the other side of your compassion.
As I sit here grumbling over my house being a mess, or whining to my husband AGAIN how I neeeeeed a new phone… the latest Samsung galaxy s4 of course…because my Iphone 4 has a cracked screen…AGAIN…Talk about first world problems! While I blog from my ipad and feed my chubby, more than nourished, very welcomed and loved 3rd baby GIRL. When a across the same ocean shared is another mother trying to work out how she’s going to feed her family ANYTHING, or where are they going to sleep for the night? It’s such an unreal concept for me. I cannot even begin to know what that’s like.
I am one blessed girl. My super-mum is 1 of 11 kids. She comes from the Philippines which is a third world country and I am forever grateful for my grandpa who knew the intrinsic value of education, not just for his sons but for his daughters too. He worked damn hard to send his eldest children to school and then to university, and those older siblings payed it forward so that once they graduated and were able to earn a decent income they began to send money back home to pay for the education of their younger siblings and so on and so on so that all 11 siblings have university degrees. They knew that education was their only way to escape the cycle of poverty and from this legacy my brother and I get to call Australia home and raise our children with the peace knowing they are safe and have the world of opportunity in their hands.
I strongly urge you to click this link so that maybe your “something” could be to sign the WORLD VISION petition to end child marriage.
Would you want your daughter, your sister, your cousin or friend to be BOUGHT or GIVEN to a man at 16? what about 14? What about 7?!!! And we all know what happens to these precious little girls to consummate a marriage! At least stand up and let our leaders know that it’s not OK and to please do whatever is in their power to bring change where they possibly can. To work with the powers to be and speak out for the helpless.