Taking a Stand Against Gender Inequality

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Many people –  even human rights activists –  are unaware of one of the most important days of the year. This day is International Day of the Girl which is celebrated on October 11th and promotes the years of struggle and hard work to help achieve gender equality.

Malala, the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating for women’s education, summarized the importance of attention to this issue when she said  “One child, one teacher one book and one pen can change the world.”

Currently, women do not have the power to change the world in many countries, where they are being oppressed. The theme for 2015: International Day of the Girl is an adolescent girl’s right to a safe, educated and healthy life. Girls all around the world lack these rights and suffer as a result.

In various parts of the world, girls lack basic rights such as education, the right to choose a marriage partner and access to health care. The U.N. reports that 700 million girls are forced to marry as children. Often, child marriage can lead to girls contracting STDs or can result in unwanted pregnancies because of the lack of sexual education. Girls getting an education is the path to empowering them to stay out of a number of awful situations, including  potentially having to sell their body in order to provide for themselves.

The International Day of the Girl is a day that strives for the 2030 vision of the adolescent girl. This would be a world in which girls are not married off at the age of 14, do not suffer of mental and physical abuse, and have the right to an education – a world where girls can make their own choices, and with their education, can support themselves and get married and have children only if they so chose.

In order for this to happen we have to enact change. The U.N. is working on developing schools, investing in girls’ education, health and nutrition, and creating policies to help combat child marriage.

In order to achieve gender equality, the public needs to be educated about the issues, and as International Day of the Girl becomes better known, it may have the power to change the world.

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