Today, 11 October 2020, is International Day of the Girl – a significant day to celebrate how girls became Egypt’s face of social change this year.
We have witnessed them become activists and leaders. We listened to them as they fought for justice, equality, and change. We saw them demand bold actions and collectively unite to support one another.
Yet this day is not just to celebrate the force of good that girls can be, but also to raise awareness on the many issues, inequalities and challenges girls continue to face: from sexual violence, to period poverty, trafficking, child marriage, and female genital mutilation.
Here’s how you can celebrate this day and take action to empower girls:
1. Raise a Leader
If you are a parent, a sister, a brother, or a relative, remember to raise a leader. Ask her about her dreams, her ambitions and her goals – make her feel that she can be part of something big.
Show them examples of different leaders, and particularly young female leaders such as Jana Amin, Greta Thurenburg, Emma Gonzalez, and Malala Yousafzi.
The main goal is not just to teach them skills, but to boost their confidence. It is about going deeper and changing underlying beliefs girls have of themselves and leadership. Play a role in changing these beliefs.
2. Amplify girls’ voices
This year, International Day for the Girl’s theme is – ‘My voice, our equal future’. To truly support girls, it is important that you don’t belittle them or dismiss their demands.
Amplifying their voices, and making them feel that they are heard, is one of the first steps to move forward. Listen to their stories, follow leading activists such as Nadeen Ashraf, founder of Assault Police and Zeina Amr Al Dessoky, founder of Catcalls of Cairo, and many more to widen their reach and impact.
You can also check Dawwie, which is led by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, and promotes the voices of girls (and boys) committed to actively create change.
To directly address the challenges girls face, you can volunteer with NGOs such as Heya Masr, and Banati Foundation, as well as national institutions such as the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.
There is also Rosie, a social enterprise that markets and sells organic pads that are eco-friendly and affordable for women in rural areas, and also allows them to make a living by including them in the production and manufacturing process.
To feel inspired and also contribute to the cause, grab a copy of ‘Because I am a Girl‘ by Plan International, which calls for global change by telling the stories of individual girls around the world.
From 2007 until now, Plan International releases a series of annual reports focusing on girls and young women in the world, providing data and the experiences of marginalised girls on the major challenges facings them.
It is time to focus on girls
Girlhood is never adequately put at the centre of policy or research, despite the fact that it is one of most important indicators of society’s growth. Knowledge of girlhood, in all of its forms, provides us with a better outlook on how far we’ve come, and what we’ve yet to accomplish ahead.
It is important to realize that empowerment is not a service, but a journey that is influenced by various factors, such as the community, family and environment a person grows up in. Today, be part of changing one girl’s journey.