Today is October 11th, meaning it is UN designated International Day of the Girl. You've no doubt heard of the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban on a school bus after making herself a voice for change advocating for girls' right to an education. She's not the only one fighting for her fair shot at an education. Around the world, girls are being kept out of school. Whether it's the threat of violence, sexual assault, or money issues, it's almost always the girls who fall victim to broken systems. Girls who do not get educated are given few options. Many are forced into child marriages, and soon after, pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, on this planet, the number one cause of death for girls between 15 and 19 years old is childbirth. Others still are kept in poverty with few options for gaining financial security or political agency. Some are even forced into prostitution or slavery in order to survive.
Investing in girls' education is one of the best investments you can make. You want to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS? Send a girl to school. You want to strengthen an economy? Get girls into class. You want to help girls avoid child marriage? Enroll her in school. Putting a girl in a classroom takes her out of harm's way and improves the outlook of her life-- as well as that of her children, and their children. By sending a girl to school, we can break cycles of poverty, illiteracy, and disease.
So how do we make a change for the better? The first step is to make noise and raise awareness. Tell your friends. Get educated by visiting sites like Day of the Girl, The Girl Effect, 10x10 / Girl Rising, and She's the First. Bring screenings of Girl Rising, an award-winning documentary about the importance of girls' education in the developing world, to your area or campus-- if not, screen the Nepal Chapter for free. Spread the knowledge. Then, take it to the next level. Fundraise-- whether it's a bake sale at school or asking for donations rather than Christmas or birthday gifts. A little money goes a long way, and a lot of money goes much further.
This week, I've worked with Her Campus W&M to bring Girl Rising to our campus, and we've run a small benefit concert and a night-time bake sale fundraiser outside the library to capitalize on midterm-munchies. It's been a lot of fun to bring our girls together to support a great cause.
|We raised over a hundred dollars with a few dozen cupcakes|
I encourage everyone to take 10 seconds out of their day today to post a facebook status or video about this cause. Awareness is the first step.
In order to help get the word out, I'm running an ad promo. Write a post about International Day of the Girl on your site, and use the code "GirlEffect" when buying an ad spot on my blog (which you can do here) and get $10 off. That means that my Small and Skinny Medium sized spots are completely FREE and the Thick Medium and Large spots are significantly discounted. Ads run for THREE FULL MONTHS! There are only 10 redemptions for this offer, so get your International Day of the Girl Post up today for your best chance at getting an ad slot. What I hope is that this will help spread the conversation about the need to support girls in developing nations by getting them to school. Thank you to everyone who lends their voice to the cause today (and any other day).