Hey fellahs, did you have any idea that today is International Day of the Girl? Be honest, do you even have a clue what that is? Me neither. I woke up today, saw it flash up on my screen and thought crap, was I supposed to buy gifts? I’ve got at least five young females in my life right now, plus their moms, so if I dropped the ball here, that ball’s gonna be doing a lot of bouncing.
Thankfully, there’s Google.
Turns out five years ago today, the United Nations created the International Day of the Girl in order to highlight the challenges that the roughly 1.1 billion young girls face around the world. This year the theme is: “EmPOWER girls: Before, during, and after conflict.”
That’s the last word I think of when I picture my eight-year-old daughter and her female cousins, but the article quoted the UN saying, “Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence.”
Wow. Thankfully, the five young girls in my life have never been subjected to gender-based violence or exploitation, child marriage or trafficking. Their conflicts are primarily with little brothers over TV shows or classmates during recess.
As it should be.
But the fact that so many young girls around the world aren’t as lucky as mine is mind-boggling, gut-wrenching, and unacceptable. I’m a pretty tough guy, but the thought of all those young girls dying violently makes my heart hurt. My daughter could be one of them, or her cousins, or their female friends. I suppose that’s the point of International Day of the Girl, to raise awareness about such things.
So fellahs, why should we care?
Because I’m guessing that you’ve probably got a daughter, or a niece, or a young sister, or maybe your friends do, and it might be kind of nice to spring some positive feminist words on them today. When they hear a big guy like you tell them that being female is not only a good thing, but a powerful and amazing gift to this world, worthy of equal treatment and pay, they might start to believe it even more and act accordingly.
And that’s a good thing, fellah.
Feel free to print these, cut them out, and read them aloud to the girls in your life:
“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.” —Sheryl Sandberg
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” —Madeleine Albright
“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”—Beyoncé
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a b*tch. You’ve got to go out and kick a$$.” —Maya Angelou
Okay, that last one might be for the older girls, but Ms. Angelou says it like it is. If you have a problem with that, then you might want to examine your own views on gender equality related to cursing.
My wife and I took my daughter and son to the Dallas Women’s March in January, and I saw a lot of you fellahs out there, as well. It made me proud to march with my boy alongside so many empowered women and girls. Giving male support to a female cause makes it a unified cause, and that’s exactly what the UN is trying to do worldwide on the International Day of the Girl.
What to do today?
The day is marked by events all over the world, from India to Kenya to Washington to Paris, put on by humanitarian organizations, nonprofits, and governments alike. To find something near you visit DayOfTheGirl.org and pick out a good one.
Last thing, fellahs – take this seriously.
There’s nothing worse than being THAT guy who makes a joke out of a cause like this. But if you are THAT guy, surprise us today. Say something empowering to your daughter or wife or girlfriend that blows them away, read them the quotes provided, or at the very least bite your tongue whenever a ‘young girl’ joke pops into your head. You can do it, fellah, you can evolve yourself starting today.
On this International Day of the Girl, 2017, may all your dreams be powerful ones.
– Mike Lukas
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