11 October 2013

Day of the Girl Child

I have been fascinated today by the interpretations around International Day of the Girl Child and how some have hijacked it to get all man hating and rah rah rah 'we does have rights as women right like you know' without any reference to what the day is actually about.

Which is to highlight the inequity between the rights of boys and the rights of girls world wide.

We're talking fundamentals here people - not the right to wear short skirts and have sex with whoever you please and what not.  We're not talking about glass ceilings.  We're not talking about pay differences.

Those things are all true.  They all matter. They do - but to grown ups (primarily) in the first world. And I'm not saying that I have all the answers.  But as the mother of daughters, I fiercely and passionately want for all small girl people, the same things I want for my own daughters.

Girl Power.

For this is about the girl child.  Child.  In first, second, third and fourth worlds.

We're talking right at the beginning - to be as pleased with the arrival of a girl baby as a boy baby.  We're talking about living a life that is not considered lesser, of having access to a proper education, the right to become an adult without being married off or handed over as part of a deal.

We're talking about living a life that is fearless, where violence isn't visited upon you, where you can catch a bus to school without being shot in the head or your mother burns you with cigarettes because she doesn't want you 'growing up pretty'.

We're talking about the right to play sport, to run free, to be fed, to be cherished. We're talking about the right to be loved, irrespective of gender.  To be valued because you exist, not because you've 'earned' it.

We're talking about a world where to 'run like a girl' or 'fight like a girl' is not seen as weakness, where being female isn't considered a liability or being the third girl doesn't cause your father to abandon your mother to find a woman who can birth him 'real children'.

We're talking about allowing children to be children, whether they are boys or girls.  We're not talking about the adults they will one day be if the world continues as it is, but rather - what if EVERY child had the opportunity to be loved, to be educated and to forge their own lives, with the same opportunities.

Love. Education. Freedom. Respect.

That's girl power.

That's power.  Full stop.