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Day of the Girl Child -- Writings by Afghan women
an article by Maryam Zar, Huffington Post (reproduced and abridged within the principles of "fair use")

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11th as the "International Day of the Girl Child", in an effort to bring stark recognition to the universal truth that girl's rights are commonly withheld around the globe, and the challenges they face are unique to their gender.

click on photo to enlarge

This year the theme of the International Day of the Girl Child . . . is empowering adolescent girls. Every year, nearly 10 million girls succumb to child marriage, and are given away as brides before the age of 18, with no say in the matter. They are rarely schooled, and are the first to be pulled out if there are chores to be done or work to undertake to feed an ever growing family. They are often assaulted, physically and sexually, while performing chores like fetching water or wood, or worse - while at home, caring for children or younger siblings or just finding respite in a refuge they never can find. . .

IDGC is intended to draw attention to the uncontested fact that everywhere in the world girls face some sort of discrimination. To be free from violence, to have access to education, to be able to work or own land, to gain in inheritance or to decide when and whether to marry are rights many girls and women do not enjoy. It is all too common for girls to be denied agency over their bodies, denied the freedom to think and learn, denied the choice to marry or to procreate when they are ready in body and mind . . .

The freedom to write is empowering. When girls are empowered, they thrive. So it is in the spirit of empowerment, and in a bid to amplify the voice of the girl child, that Womenfound is partnering with the Afghan Women's Writing Project (AWWP) from this month to publish the works of Afghan women and adolescent girls in the Huffington Post. The AWWP works on the ground in Afghanistan to empower women and girls with the mighty pen. In 1839 an English author famously said, the pen is mightier than the sword. Nowhere is this more true than in its application to girls around the world today, who risk life and limb for an education and the power to speak their mind. The aim of this monthly blog is to give girls a platform through which to say their piece and be heard.

Today, to mark International Day of the Girl, what will you do? How will you empower an entire gender left behind in our 21st century world of unsurpassed advancement, luxury and digital connectivity? You can begin by reading. Read these selected pieces by young female Afghan writers, and join the IDGC in empowering adolescent girls by giving them voice.

[Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.]


Question(s) related to this article:

Gender equality in education, Is it advancing?

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Latest reader comment:

Re: Gender equality in education: is it advancing

Considering that the first women to somehow get into universities was in the 19th C, we are making tortoise-like progress. Although there are more women than men in most schools now they tend toward the Arts where they are scorned by men in science. That's the kind of thing that was passed around 60 - 70 years ago but it's still here today. But, there is a trend that will make a difference quite soon: the majority of regional politicians are women who are Arts grads and they are going to shift the weight of policy to domestic from global. That will mean less war, more peace, more freedom and better education for women.

This report was posted on October 14, 2014.