Today, Thursday is the first annual International Day of the Girl.
Did you just scratch your head and say ‘Uh, what? Tell me what that is again?’
Well, we can forgive you for not having heard of it before as it was only officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly late last year, but I’ll fill you in because you need to know.
“International Day of the Girl seeks to bring awareness to the plight of girls in developing countries, advocate for girls’ rights, and push for greater gender equality for voiceless girls the world over.”
This year the focus is on ending child marriage.
Apparently 25,000 girls become child brides every day. Some of them are as young as seven years old. In Niger, the rate of child marriage can be as high as 75%.
Three quarters of little girls are married off? Are they kidding?
And here’s another charming nugget for you: In developing countries, nearly half of all those child brides (little girls, remember?) will become young mothers.
I didn’t make this up. These statistics come from Care.org.
These children frequently die in childbirth because their pelvises are not sufficiently developed to carry and deliver a baby, or they develop debilitating fistulas which then cause them to be shunned and discarded by their husbands and families – an effective death sentence. Girls are regarded as property – they are bought, sold and thrown away at the whim of their husbands.
I can’t even write about this without my blood pressure rising and jumping up to rant at Husband who looks mildly terrified and, after telling me anxiously that he is against gender inequality of all kinds, looks hopefully back at the lecture he is preparing for his students tomorrow.
Goddamn it! Rapists are getting away with unbelievable crimes in France, third world pedophiles are forcing kids into unwanted marriage and motherhood every second of every day, and the GOP thinks it’s better equipped to make decisions on my behalf about what goes on in my uterus because clearly, men are doing such a brilliant job of looking after the ones that are already here, let alone the girls who are going to incubate within them.
We need this day, we need it badly, and we’d better fucking celebrate it hard every year until we’ve made sure every girl everywhere has at least an equal shot at a decent life without fear for her safety and well being, just because she had the misfortune to be born with a vagina.
Happy International Day of the Girl Child