International Day of The Girl 2017
Mar here, with a pretty important question: Did you know October 11th was International Day of The Girl Child?
If not, you do now! This day is celebrated all over the world and aims to educate others about the unique experiences of girls and women everywhere.
This year to celebrate, BRAVE attended the International Day of The Girl Summit at the United Nations. This is my third year attending this conference with BRAVE and every year seems to get better and better. For example, this was the first year IDG was sold out! Imagine the general assembly filled with passionate feminists ready to speak out and stand up for gender equality.
As Meaghan would say, such good vibes!
At IDG 2017, girls from countries like Brazil, South Africa, and Canada came to speak. They shared their stories of how they struggled with gender inequality, how they have worked to create change, and how they challenge us to do the same.
With so many incredible and inspiring voices it is really hard to sum up this day! So, I recruited the help from my fellow BRAVE humans! Here are some of our favorite moments! Check out the links for more info about this day and how you can create change!
1. We love you, We believe you, You are not alone.
At IDG, some topics are best presented in poetry and skits. When this was the case, you could count on the four actresses, Gabrielle, Maya, Nathalia, and Shaina, to do so. In one skit, the girl's demonstrate what it is like being the recipient of a Hotline Call.
When told a story about sexual assault, one actress admits she does not know how to respond. This is a feeling many might experience when being confined in.
Together with the audience, the four actresses lead in reciting three phrases that are always important to say and make known to survivors of sexual assault: "We love you," "We believe you," and "You are not alone."
After each poem and skit that came through the "hotline" we recited these important words.
We love you, We believe you, You are not alone.
Check out what the national organization RAINN does! They work to put an end to sexual violence and help survivors of sexual assault. Click here to learn about them!
2. For All The Dreamers
Favorite of Jamiah Bennett
When it came to giving a voice to the Dreamers, the recipients of DACA, Desiha, a Moderator at IDG, did an incredible job. In her speech, she expressed how deporting recipients of DACA would mean sending them back to a country, a world they do not know. She explained how impactful these people have been to the success of our country and reminded the audience…
"Dreamers are America. They risked everything in seeking a better life."
In conclusion, she challenged us to empathize with those who immigrated to America and face discrimination daily for where they come from.
“No person should live in constant fear...in shame for where they come from, for seeking a better life for themselves and their family”
3. Choose Kindness
Favorites of: Shelby Mehmet, Molly Kozlowski, Emma Whitmore
Maryam Monsef, a representative from Canada is the first Afghan and Female in parliament from her community and the first Muslim the be part of the Cabinet in Canada. While her story of her journey to position she holds today was inspiring it was how she challenged the audience that was truly impactful. She challenged us to remember the privilege we have, regardless of where we came from and who we are.
“Regardless of the hardships life has thrown our way, we are in this room because we have privilege; and with that privilege comes responsibility to look out for and to speak up for those who have yet to be able to find their place.”
She stressed the importance of being kind.
“The road we have chosen to travel is not an easy one. We are trying to change the status quo and there is always going to push back against every step you try to take forward and the people in this room and people like people in this room are your allies”
And incase IDG wasn’t enough of a motivation she reminded us…
“Dream big, if not now then when?”
Want to see what work Maryman Monsef is doing? http://mmonsef.liberal.ca/
5. The Pledge
As IDG came to a close, Lakshmi Puri, a representative of UN Women, spoke and encouraged the audience to work together towards the common goal of gender equality. She challenged us to include all women in our mission regardless of religion, seuality, race, economic status, or disabilities. Every women’s rights need to be guaranteed and protected. As a conclusion of her speech she gathered everyone's energy and lead the following pledge:
"We pledge to work for include and empower girls and young women in all ways to respect, protect women's human rights and girls humans rights in all circumstances including emergencies.
We pledge to keep all girls safe and secure.
We pledge to nurture their capabilities in all fields.
We pledge to aid girls voices talents and creativity integral to decision making.
We pledge to promote and harness girls leadership as seclusion in lifes and unleash girl power from all its dimensions so that all potential is fully realized.”
Learn more about UN Women Here!
6. Schools Can't Push Us Out
Favorite of: Sarah Dottor
Christina, a high school student from New York, shared her fearless passion to receive the education and school environment she and her classmates deserve.
Faced with sexist dress codes, school metal detectors, and a poor curriculum Christian expresses how black and Latina girls are disproportionately affected by something she calls “School Push Out” She explains School Push Out is when, “a student is forced to leave school for reasons rooted in racism, sexism, islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia.”
With unfair dress codes, high security measures, and a curriculum that represents only a fraction of its students, the stress placed on affected students makes pursuing education very difficult.
"Curriculum, teachers teach students about Europe and European History but not what's happening in our country right now. We feel left out because we are not taught about our culture or anything good in our culture...."
She later explained the impact such a curriculum can have,
"1/3 girls of color felt disconnected from their curriculum and 80% of girls of color said it was because they do not see themselves reflected in their curriculum."
She ended her speech by expressing the importance of representation in the curriculum.
"We deserve to learn about the accomplishments of women of color We deserve to learn about each other's culture and nationalities."
She called the audience to action, by encouraging them to speak out and demand the education they deserve to be represented in their curriculum and be supported and accepted by their schools.
Check out the organization Christina belongs to and how they fight School Push Out! Girls for Gender Equity.
We believe each and every one who presented at this summit were incredibly BRAVE. They were empowered to make a difference in this world and it showed. They used their voice to share their experiences and passions. In doing so, they inspired others to be better and work harder towards gender equality. This is an example of bravery, leadership, and self-empowerment that BRAVE works to develop in its members every day.
Hopefully by sharing some of these moments with you, you are inspired as well and will find ways in which you can make your dreams, passions, and goals come true!
Stay BRAVE Everyone!