October 11, International Day of the Girl Child

When I first heard that the U.N was making October 11, 2012 the first “girls day,” I thought that the idea was ludicrous. I feared that this sort of attention would bring gender equality backwards in the western world. But, I was thinking selfishly. Today isn’t a day for western women, in the most part. It has nothing to do with the fact that we were once a minority.

Today is a day for young girls in developing nations that need help desperately. October 11 is here to raise awareness to the struggles that some women still face, simply because they are women. It is important for people, especially Americans, to understand that equality and independence are still dreams elsewhere in the world. This day is all about ending child marriage and the poverty that currently keeps young girls in shackles.

For example, in India, they are trying to lower the marriage age to help protect young girls from sexual crimes. The U.N is trying to convince India that this will not work. Forty percent of all child marriages that take place in the world happen in India and if the legal age to marry is lowered even further there is no telling how high the number will rise. Child marriage is detrimental to society. Not only does it hinder with the girls’ education greatly, but it also makes it virtually impossible for these young girls to obtain any sort of independence and financial freedom. These young girls are too young to know what is happening to them and are made both prisoners in their own homes and victims according to an article in The Hindu.

In Thailand, young girls are being forced to work in brothels. The local police hardly ever helps these girls because of the immense corruption that engulfs the country. Many girls end up contracting HIV/AIDS because of men not using protection while raping them.

These young women have a lot going against them, and very few forces working for them. This is why I celebrate International Day of the Girl Child. They still have so far to go, and the awareness brought upon them by the U.N can only help. Let us not take our freedoms for granted and help to share them with young girls living all over the world.

Photo Credit: sknvibes.com

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