Friday, October 11, 2013

International Day of the Girl Child

This article was about how the United Nations is promoting their 2nd annual International Day of the Girl Child. Reading this article made me realize how lucky I am to live in a country where there are equal rights regardless of gender. It's scary to think that girls so much younger than I am have gone through so much worse. You don't really think about those kinds of things when you are not faced with the same kinds of challenges. The statistic that 1 in 7 girls marries before the age of 15 puts things into perspective. When I was 15, I was worried about freshman year of high school, getting my driver's permits, and fighting with my brother. Puberty is already bad enough; I cannot imagine having to go through it while having the prospect of an arranged marriage over you. You don't know where your childhood stops, and where you have to grow up and mature. During your teenage years, you should be getting ready for the adult world by preparing for college, while at the same time making all those mistakes that come with the teenage years. You should not have your education halted because of societal restraints. No one should ever have to suffer from mental, physical, or sexual abuse; you definitely should not been trapped in a marriage where this happens. I know that this happens all over the world and to women of all ages. But it makes it different when it's happening to young girls who have no means of escaping such situations. Their one means of escape could be education, but even that has been stripped away.

It makes me wonder how long or how much it will take for this to change. For example, the child labor laws in the United States were enacted in the early 20th century. They have not always been present, but it took some events for the laws and society to change. Unfortunately, that is not the case all over the world. The first step is to carry out the legislation to reduce child domestic labor. If the society is not going to change on its own, you will need to force it to make a change for the better.
Where would those girls have been or who would they have become if they hadn't been limited in their development and growth? It seems simple that children should have a childhood and opportunities like any other, but unfortunately it is not universal.

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