“Unlike so many girls around the world, we have a voice. That’s why, particularly on this year’s International Day of the Girl, I ask that you use yours to help these girls get the education they deserve. ” Michelle Obama, We Will Rise
CNN International: “We Will Rise” promo
Globally, 62 million girls are not in school. As a girl grows older the fight to get an education becomes even harder. Her family must be willing to pay school fees. She risks long, unsafe walks to school. She may be forced to marry. And she often lacks access to healthcare and the support she needs to learn. USAID LetGirlsLearn Initiative
What issues matter to you and your loved ones? Did you know that yesterday was the International Day of the Girl Child? Did you also know that our first lady, Michelle Obama, in collaboration with CNN, has created a documentary that speaks to the challenges and issues facing young girls around the world? The documentary, We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World, which airs tonight on CNN at 9pm EDT focuses on how education for girls can empower and increase their participation as productive members of society. The inspiring piece is a stark and powerful reminder that girls education and empowerment must remain one the most important goals of the 21st century. We live in a world where 62 million of 1.1 billion girls do not have access to an education. Tied in with the denial of educational opportunities are the lack of equal economic opportunities and the freedom to shape their own destinies. When girls are denied access, the impact is long reaching and increases lingering generational poverty.
While many of us live in nations where we enjoy the right to express our opinions on a wide range of subjects, many girls are forced into silence because they live in countries where girls and women remain subservient to males. According to data gathered from UNESCO and other sources, girls remain the highest percentage of victims of violence globally. Girls lag behind in education with 30% not enrolled and forcibly discouraged from going to school. Sadly, what is often forgotten is that when a society encourages all its people to step up and participate in all arenas, such participation leads to national growth and prosperity for all. In the documentary which shows Michelle’s visit to Liberia and Meryl Streep’s visit to Morocco and the conversations they have with young women in those nations, I am reminded again and again how fortunate those of us who live in countries that offer some modicum of equality are, and how much work still needs to be done globally.
“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights” United Nations Resolution 66/170 – via dayofthegirl.org
The First Lady Speaks on the Film We Will Rise – This new film tells the story of adolescent girls overcoming incredible challenges to achieve their educations and change their own lives, with contributions from Mrs. Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, and CNN journalist Isha Sesay.
The documentary stresses the importance of girls’ education as their potential and contributions to society are what ultimately strengthen communities and nations. The film is inline with the First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which seeks to break barriers to education for girls around the world. Rolling Stone
Female empowerment is not an anomaly and it begins with us. We can support the various initiatives that encourage gender equity by educating ourselves and others about the merits of encouraging all our children to receive an education. When girls are included in the conversation of a nation’s prosperity goals, everyone benefits. As a mother, I know that because my daughters were able to go to college and find jobs in their fields of interest, they will contribute their skills to society and be able to make choices freely. This year, the UN theme for International Day of the Girl (11 October) is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls. One of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to support gender equality globally, and we can only achieve that goal if we support programs and demand laws that lift barriers to female empowerment.
In the USA, we can support equal-pay-for-equal-work in our places of work, and encourage our daughters to venture into fields that were once dominated by males. Globally, we can support organizations that fight to increase female education and socioeconomic participation, and make a commitment to practice what we preach in our homes. We can choose to wear blinders or make a concerted commitment to encourage our daughters, sisters, and other females to reach for their dreams. We can do our part by sharing information on data and programs that help build gender equity, that offer opportunities for girls to get an education, and that help them to become fully vested in participating in building their communities. It is an arduous but not an impossible task. It will take our commitment to reach that goal.
READ: CNN – Michelle Obama: This issue is personal for me
RollingStone – Michelle Obama, African Girls Talk Education in Inspiring ‘We Will Rise’ Clip
“The world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future. Yet the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights the preponderance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere on a daily basis.” UN/GirlChild
Actress Frieda Pinto on ‘Girls Rising‘
Michelle Obama | ‘This is For My Girls‘ Released for Charity
The Diane Warren-penned “This is for My Girls” featuring Missy Elliott, Zendaya, Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monáe and others. Proceeds from the empowerment anthem benefit Let Girls Learn.
As I was doing research to gather data for this post, I took a look at the Discover Challenge for this week and it spoke about radical authenticity (I like that term) and the art of exploring subjects and conversations that matter to us. Personally, I’ve always believed that each of us thrive when we stay true to our own personality and concerns, despite external pressures. As a mother, educator, and immigrant woman, I write about subjects that hold my interest and that help me, and hopefully my readers, learn about issues that affect us all. I am concerned about living in a world where all of our views are respected and valued. I am concerned about gender equity and the rights of those who don’t have a voice. We Will Rise speaks to my heart and life experiences because I know distant relatives who never got an education and continue to struggle to make ends meet.
I am concerned about creative freedom and the right to express our views however we wish and not be censored by those who think we ought to write about or be X, Y or Z. I am concerned about living in a world where we can choose to view the world from a lens of our choice. If I choose to write about happy moments or sad moments so be it. Frankly, I have family and friends I turn to when I have personal struggles and need advice and I’m not interested in public confessionals so feel free to blame it on my generation … we just didn’t hang our dirty laundry in public. Today, I invite you to watch We Will Rise at 9pm EDT. If nothing else, the lives of the young women featured in the piece will inspire and encourage you. Some go to school at great risk to their lives and many live in abject poverty…. These stories matter to me. Do You. Write what you enjoy and let it inspire you to keep at it. Honestly, I think authenticity is an overused and abused word and people express it differently; it means different things to different people. If we stay true to what matters to us then that is where our authenticity lives; not in someone else’s vision of what it ought to look like. To each his/her own, right? Enough said.
READ: LA Times – Meryl Streep heeds first lady’s call in CNN documentary ‘We Will Rise’
People.com – Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep Hug at White House Screening of We Will Rise Documentary
Part of this post is inspired by the Discover Challenge Post: Radical Authenticity: This week, explore authenticity and the breadth of our emotional experiences. To help other participants and new fans find your response in the Reader, tag your post #DiscoverWP. Not sure how to add a tag? Learn more.
Have a productive week!
What are your thoughts? Did you celebrate International Day Of The Girl Child? Do share! Thank you.
For More: Women’s Lives & Issues
Positive Motivation Tip: Equal opportunity should be a given, not a privilege. Take a stand on International Day of the Girl Child. Your voice matters.
- UNICEF, International Day of the Girl Child
- UN Women, International Day of the Girl Child
- UN Women Special Focus compilation on the Girl Child, one of the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
- Message of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child
- UN Secretary-General Campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women