Boys and … Girls.

In many countries children are not simply children. There is a difference if you are born as a boy or as a girl.

Just think about it: in many countries in the world parents are hoping that the mother gives birth to a son whenever she is pregnant. That slight dissapointment when the child turns out to be a girl is not the best way of starting a life.

Because I’m a girl is a global campaign by children’s charity Plan International to improve the life of girls. They publish every year a report on the state of the world’s girls. Plan International mentions many fields in which a different destiny might await girls than that is waiting for boys; hereby some possibilities:

Being married at a very young age “One girl in 7 in developing countries marries before age 15.”

No access to education “53,000,000 girls in developing countries are denied access to primary school.”

Extreme poverty “70% of the one billion people living in extreme poverty are women and girls.”

Health problems “75% of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62% in 2001.”

Female genitale mutilation “An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.” (WHO)

Sexual exploitation –> child sex tourism, child pornography, human trafficking, etc..

There are many more, like for example being responsible for all household chores or the lack of opportunities in the economic world, and so on.

This year’s report is concentrating on the role of men and boys for achieving more gender equality and strengthening girls and their rights. By doing so they try to redefine the idea of “men” saying: “We believe that manhood is not defined by how many sexual partners you have or by using violence against women or men, not by how much pain you can endure nor by whether you are gay or straight.” Rather they stress respect, speaking up against violence, being able to ask for help and sharing decision-making and power. In the end it is not enough if girls know their rights, only together with the boys they will shape a more equal future.

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2 thoughts on “Boys and … Girls.

  1. It wasn’t that long ago that gender inequality was accepted as normal here in the US. In the 1970s things began to change, but there is still a long way to go. Since the 1970s the generally accepted definition of gender has been expanded, better explaining gender’s true nature but complicating gender inequality issues. Our society, as advanced as it likes to believe it is, continues to struggle with outdated and narrow-minded views that retard its own social, intellectual, cultural, and economic progress.

    • I know what you mean. It was only in 1971 that suffrage was given also to women in Switzerland. Even if the federal council (our 7-headed president so to speak) is now dominated by women, there is still a long way to go if we want to show girls that they have the same opportunities in life as the boys. I do believe nevertheless, that in the end it also comes down to parents, all of us to get away from the princess-idea and appreciate girls for more than just their beauty.

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