Hello fellow girl champions!
I am so excited to be Girl Up’s teen reporter for the Clinton Global Initiative and the Social Good Summit 2011! The Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges. President Clinton founded the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005 to turn ideas in to action and help our world move to a more integrated global community.
I will be reporting on all things girls: from the barriers, the solutions, and the people pushing for women’s rights! My hope is to inspire you all to continue to help girls in developing countries and to track the process of the path to a more equal world for girls and women.
My journey to helping find solutions for girls began at the Unite for Girls Clean and Clear Tour in New York City. I arrived with a few of my classmates from the Hewitt School and we were immediately issued with our “passports” to visit Girl Up’s countries of focus.
I learned so much about each country and realized how many girls this pandemic of lack of women’s rights affects. When we returned back to the United States, we went through immigration and we entered the auditorium where we heard performances from Project Girl Performance Collective and listened to a panel of Girl Up experts. I want to share with you a little of what I learned about each of these countries and the necessity to take action now. My itinerary for the trip is below:
Guatemala: My first stop on my journey around the world was Guatemala. Here I learned about the lack of education for girls.
Did you know that only 1 in 10 girls are enrolled in secondary school? Or that 1 in every 3 indigenous Guatemalan girls is illiterate? In Guatemala, we shared why we value education and discussed how important it is for girls around the world.
Liberia: My next stop was Liberia where I learned that that in 2008 Liberia’s adolescent birth rate for girls ages 15-19 was the 2nd highest in the world. Not only that, but there are not enough services to teach girls about health!
Ethiopia: When I visited Ethiopia, I struggled to carry a huge jug of water for a short distance, and learned that girls spend 15 hours a day walking extremely long distances to carry water to their family. Statistics show that women and girls reinvest 90% of their income into their families and communities, compared to 30-40% for men.
If girls received an education they could spark economic and social change in their community, so why are they being held back?
Malawi: Last stop on the trip was Malawi. In Malawi, I learned that nearly half of the girls are married by the age of 19. The long distances they travel to collect water and fuel places them at risk for violence. I signed a petition to end early child marriage and watched other teen girls signing and working together for a common cause — it was truly inspiring.
When I returned from my trip, I realized that no matter how many times I hear the statistics, I am saddened and yet inspired even more to get involved. It is so important for us girls to join together to fight for the rights of our sisters in other countries.
A question that I am working to answer and to change is “why is it that we get the opportunity to be educated because of the place we were born and why should girls with the potential to make a difference in the world who are born in developing countries be denied this opportunities?”
What question drives your inspiration as you jump on board and I take you along for a week that could help change history?
Follow my blog posts on Girl Up as we learn from leading figures of our time how we can create change for girls and women around the world.
Girl Up BFF