Last Thursday, October 11th, 2012, was the first UN International Day of the Girl Child. Nowadays most people agree that one of the keys to the well-being and prosperity of the planet lies in the education, protection and enfranchisement of girls and women. Unfortunately, most people doesn’t include the parents of millions of girls who are forcibly married off every day. Or the government of Iran who have recently banned women from 77 university courses. Or the Taliban in Pakistan who shot 14 year old Malala Yousufzai in the head last Tuesday, October 9th, because she had spoken out in favour of the education of girls and said –
“I have rights. I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.”
Fortunately, more and more girls themselves are refusing to be married. It takes great courage to do this but many little girls are doing it. It takes courage on the part of parents as well as most of them are arranging marriages for their daughters because they love them and are worried about their futures. These parents are nervous about stepping outside of tradition but many are beginning to listen to their daughters.
If you have time today perhaps you’d like to read what Desmond Tutu and Ela Bhatt said about this subject last Thursday – Today, A Promise to Girls.
Or maybe you’d like to watch this short video about one girl’s stand against marriage – and her family’s surprising reaction.
Or maybe you’d like to see what Mary Robinson – and others – have to say about child brides –
If you have a minute you might also go onto the Amnesty USA page to send a message of support to the family of Malala Yousafzai.
But even if you don’t have the time to do any of those things perhaps you’d just think about the lives of the millions of little girls married against their will. You might even talk to others about it and then, gradually, we will all become aware of how these little girls are robbed of their childhoods and chance for education and how this destroys hope for the future all over the world.