Today is October 11, 2012, or, as it's more fun to say 10/11/12. It's also International Day of the Girl. It's the first day of its kind, and one that hasn't fully reached awareness yet. It was declared by the United Nations General Assembly last year as a day to "to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world."
Many people might think "what's the big deal?" - why should girls get a day? Because, every day there is a struggle to be seen as equal. Because girls around the world are being forced against their will into marriage or prostitution at tender young ages. Because girls who are still children themselves are raped and forced to bear children, which often results in injury or death. Because girls in certain cultures are denied an education, suffer poverty, and are not afforded the most basic of human rights. Because girls in China are often aborted before they are even born because boys are preferred under the one-child law. Because girls are still seen as "less than" and that all needs to stop - even here in the U.S., where there is still social suppression of girls and women.
Because girls could do a hell of a lot better running this world than the men, if given the chance!
And on this day, let's remember Malala Yousafzai - the 14-year old girl who was shot in Pakistan by the Taliban because she dared to speak out and fight for her right, and the right of other girls, to receive an education. Her dream is to become a doctor. The Taliban shot her because they felt she was promoting secularism and Western culture. I will say this once - and let's be clear - The Taliban are a bunch of unworthy cowards who could not, in a hundred years, with all their threats and suicide bombs and terror plots, have the strength and courage that Malala has demonstrated. She is an inspiration and her passion will not vanquish because a group of backwards-thinking people do not like what she has to say, nor should it.
It is because of Malala and all girls around the world that we need to refocus our sights on what can be done to help them, to elevate them, to remove these barriers. I don't know that blogging about it here will cause much change - but I hope to at least encourage you to be a part of the conversation. Get outraged. Get motivated. Now, let's get moving...