Today, October 11th, is International Day of the Girl Child.
This was first created by the United Nations back in 2011, and it’s now in it’s fifth year. The idea is that every girl should have equal access and rights to an education, healthcare, a legal system, nutrition, and protection from forced child marriages.
The theme for this year’s, 2016 day is Girl’s progress = goal’s progress : What counts for girls . Meaning that progress for girls, for their rights, education etc, is actually progress for their family, their community and further afield too.
I believe there are a lot more struggles facing girls and women across the world, other than what I’ve witnessed or experienced. I feel lucky, blessed that I didn’t have to fight for an education, health care, a legal system or nutrition. In my own little bubble, I can also admit I don’t personally know anyone who was forced into marriage at any age.
However, I believe that everyone can make a difference, however small to how girls and women are perceived and treated. Not just abroad, but here in your own town too. Here are just some of the comments I’ve heard over the years, where girls and females are supposed to ‘act’ a certain way :
‘You don’t want to play with that, it’s for boys.’
‘Female photographers always shoot a certain way. I can tell a female photographer a mile off.’
‘They are boys clothes.’
It’s these little assumptions, stereotypical in nature, that can have an affect on girls, and women, even in first world countries, in modern day living. None of the above statements need to be, or are true.
The most important thing of parenting for me, is that our children know that they can be whatever they want to be. They can wear whatever they want to wear (providing it’s clean and it fits). They can play with any toys, whether bright pink or otherwise. If they are being the best them they can be, that’s all that matters. It’s also setting an example for everyone, that as well as being your own person, it’s also ok for anyone, not just girls, to be their own person too.
As for those that tried to define who I am as a girl, and as a female. I’m still here. Still holding the camera, still trying to carve out my own business. Whilst also being a lot of other important labels as mother, partner, daughter, family. Sorry, but not sorry if the ‘woman’s ‘ touch is apparent when viewing the image, before even noting who the photographer is. I guess I shouldn’t be shooting all those images of blood and gore too ‘as a girl’.
So if you would like to know what difference you could make on International Day of the Girl Child, start at home, at school, your town, your family, your friends. Let a girl, a woman, a female know they can be anything that they want to be.
You can find out more about International Day of the Girl Child here – Unicef Day of the Girld Child (external website link)
Rose-Sky Journey Pieces.