The Biggest Human Rights Issue of Our Time

Hey IndieVolunteers!

In honor of The Girl Effect’s Oct 4th Blogging Day – they are inviting bloggers across the world to write about The Girl Effect today – I am re-posting a blog that I had written when I first learned about the organization. I am first going to add some things that I learned recently, however.

I’m taking an Applied Anthropology class this semester with Dr. Amy Parish, a fascinating renaissance woman who is simultaneously a biological anthropologist, feminist, activist, and mother. She teaches in both the Anthropology and Gender Studies departments at USC and for my particular class, she encourages us to go to all sorts of intellectual events. I’ve attended things like lectures about the intelligence of dolphins to interactive discussions with a sex therapist. When she actually lectures and we have “traditional” class, it’s no less fascinating. As a Darwinian feminist, she guides us in examining the status of women around the world from a biological and sociopolitical perspective. I would like to share some quotes and statistics from the class with you all.

“In the savage state (man) keeps (woman) in a far more abject state of bondage than does the male of any other animal.”
– Darwin

“The sustained degradation and subjugation of girls and women remains the world’s most pervasive human rights violation in its number and scale. Today, well over 100 million are ‘missing’ because of increased mortality from inequality and neglect and the majority of the 2.4 million victims of sex trafficking – which treats people as products – are female. The systematic discrimination outstrips even the wholesale abuses of the 18th and 18th century slave trade, which we today deplore as an obscene example of  inhumanity from another era.”
– Gordon Brown (This is the article which the quote comes from.) 

Where does this all begin? How can we begin to try to right the injustices of patriarchal systems?

By caring about girls and making sure that they are educated, healthy, and safe.

One of the major reasons why I’m interested in working in NGOs that focus on female education/services/financial development is because after reading Half the Sky, I realized that if I was born in poverty in a developing country, my future would be bleak. I would be characterized by my sexual promise and procreational ability, enslaved to menial labor and probably never given the opportunity to pursue higher education and a rewarding career. I would constantly be in danger of rape and violence. It’s a frightening reality that the majority of the world’s women face, and it’s our responsibility not only to fight for their rights as humans, but to also provide them opportunities so that they can create a better world – it’s clear that men are not doing a good job at it.

Here are some videos that illustrate this reality (girleffect.org).

It’s important to become aware of what is going on. At the same time, we must guard hope and believe in  the possibility of change in order to work towards it.

I believe in the Girl Effect, n: The unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world. Research shows that support and services to girls ages 10-18 dramatically improve their lives and opportunities – and also results in significant benefits for society as a whole. Educated girls result in more stable families, more productive economic activity, improved health, less disease, and in general, better societies.

Quoted from http://www.girleffect.org

If you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It’s called the Girl Effect, because girls are uniquely capable of investing in their communities and making the world better.

This is what I believe in. This is what I’m working towards. Learn about The Girl Effect today and start advocating for young girls around the world! They need your attention and your voice.

As Nicholas Kristof said, the moral issue of the 19th slavery was slavery. The 20th century was totalitarianism. The struggle of the 21st will be about gender inequality. This is the biggest human rights issue of our time. We are the ones who need to fight for gender equality and make it happen. Gender equality is not simply a concern; it is at the heart of the most pressing social, political, and economic problems of our century. We can begin to change systems that are simply not working, by going against what they say about who are valuable, and care for little girls.

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3 thoughts on “The Biggest Human Rights Issue of Our Time

  1. Great stuff. As Kofi Annan so rightly said, ““Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

  2. Oh wow, you live in LOS ANGELES? I do too! This is so amazing. It is almost 1 in the morning, but I have to tell you, you have seriously inspired me to be a better person. You are so young and have already done so much! Absolutely amazing.

    • Hi Corinna!

      Please email me if you’d ever like to meet up. I’d love to meet you. I’m only here until Dec 7th, normally I’m in NY where my family lives.

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