“I raise up my voice – not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai, Activist
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man.” -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Writer
Women empowerment is a topic of great significance in our country. We get to hear good stories about women who took a stand for their rights and at the same time, we happen to come across heartbreaking incidents about discriminatory practices against them. Thus, on the International Day of the Girl Child, we take a moment to understand the idea behind observing this day.
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated every year on October 11 since 2012. It is an international observance day declared by the United Nations to support better opportunities for girls and spread awareness of the gender discrimination that girls endure worldwide. International Day of the Girl is not just about empowering women but it also acts as a day to intensify global efforts to improve a girl child’s life.
Arunima Sinha, once a national volleyball player had to get her legs amputated after she was thrown out of a moving train by thieves while she was resisting them. But that did not stop her from following her dreams. After her injury, she trained hard and went on to become the first amputee from India and the first female amputee in the world to climb the Mount Everest and five other peaks.
Inspiring stories of brave women like Arunima Sinha, Mary Kom, Olympic Indian boxer, who have fought adversities to become a living legend are slowly gaining momentum. In a place like India, where girls are always considered the “weaker sex”, where the voices of girls are muffled at the time of their birth, where girls are taunted and exploited by virtue of their gender, it is difficult for girls to fight alone against patriarchy. Although the government has introduced a few measures for the upliftment of women like BetiBachaoBetiPadhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Account, One Stop Center Scheme, Mahila E-Haat.
The theme of this International Day is to“Empower girls: emergency response and resilience planning”. It syncs well with UNESCO’s commitment to ensuring the protection of girls from conflict and violence-prone situations. The aim is also to strengthen the resilience of the girl child while ensuring their full participation in mediation and negotiation processes.
Girls all over the world face discrimination and inequality in terms of right/ access to education, legal rights, proper healthcare facility, lack of nutritious food, lack of safety and protection from domestic violence and child marriage.
The celebration of the day also marks the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct group in development and planning of policies, programming sessions, campaigning for causes and researching grave issues.
At Jain International Residential School, girls are at the forefront of all the events and activities. Girls are encouraged and introduced to ample opportunities where they can hone their innate potential and excel accordingly.