Friday, 11 October 2013

International Day of the Girl - and a question


Did you know that a child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5 years old?*

Did you know that a girl with just one extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult?*

Did you know that an educated mother is twice as likely to send her own children to school?*

Did you know that a girl with 8 years of education is 4 times less likely to be married as a child?*

Did you know that 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year?  That's 38,000 girls today alone - or, to put another way; 13 girls in the last 30 seconds*.  Some of them will be as young as (or younger than) 11 or 12 years old - and mothers themselves by the time they reach 13.  Always assuming, that is, they survive giving birth.

Because, did you know that the largest cause of death in girls aged 15 - 19 years old, world-wide, is childbirth?*

It's easy, in our privileged parenting world to lose sight of, not know or to ignore the facts above.  We get bogged down in cajoling our own children out of the house on the school run every week-day morning whilst we recite the daily litany of of 'have-you-packed-your-lunchbox-where's-your-school-sweater-and-don't-forget-to-take-your-library-books-back-today', and forget those girls who through factors outside their control are unable to access education.  But they exist, in their millions.  33 millions, to be precise. (There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary schools worldwide*).

Today, the International Day of the Girl, I was lucky enough to attend a screening of a new movie 'Girl Rising'.  It presents the stories of 9 girls fighting for their right to education, as told by celebrated writers from their own countries and voiced by well-known actors.  It will leave you with powerful images and most likely, the understanding that unless we face up to the statistics above - and try to change them - nothing will alter and the cycle will simply continue.

So, one more question:

What if a girl's life - the lives of 33 million girls across the world - could be more?

*Statistics from the Girl Rising website


  1. That's another reason why it is such a shame that Malala didn't get the Nobel Peace Price. It would have been perfect considering these facts and this film.

  2. This is such a powerful post. Those statistics are staggering and I'd love to see that film.

  3. The stats say it all, don't they?!

  4. They should be more. Their lives should be more. Such a strong and important post, because we have to remember and do what we can to make sure they will be more.

    * Got here through MBPW

  5. Must watch it. At "my" school in Ghana it's a constant challenge to keep the girls in school past the age of about 12. What families don't realise is that the whole family benefits from an educated daughter. They give back a larger percentage of their wages to the family than the sons do.


Go on - you know you want to...