Just a few of our girls in Guatemala
What does it mean to be a woman in this world?
For my grandmother it meant the right to vote. For my mother it meant the right to work. For me it means the right to choose.
For me, growing up as a girl in America has meant the choice between pigtails or braids, between plaid or polka dots. Later it meant choosing to be a tomboy or a girly-girl, and eventually it meant prom dresses, graduation pearls, and wedding rings. Today, being a woman in this country means that I have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of generations of women before me. Brave women. Proud women. And because of these women, I have every choice I could ever want – when to work and when to marry, who to vote for and what to wear.
When I wake up and choose between flats and heels, between career and family, it is all too easy to forget that women everywhere aren’t making these same choices.
There are places in the world where being born a girl is a lot like losing a lottery. You’re unwanted. You’re a liability. You’re a burden. You may be traded like livestock or abandoned completely. Growing up as a girl in these parts of the world may mean you get married instead of going to school, you have your first child before you can even read and write, you sell your body so you can feed your family. In these parts of the world, being a woman may mean risking your life to get to work, walking through fields where you’re likely to be raped, being in before dark so you don’t risk death. It may mean your parents choose your spouse, your in-laws choose your home, your husband chooses your worth. Being a woman in these parts of the world may mean you have no real choices whatsoever.
The inequity of what it means to be a woman in this world is staggering, but so too is the opportunity before us. Give a girl an education and you give her the time to choose between work or marriage. You give her the capacity to earn a living. You give her the opportunity to achieve her full potential. Every year of education that a girl receives increases her lifetime earning potential by as much as 10%. And of every dollar that the educated girl eventually earns, she’ll reinvest 80 cents back into her family.
Last Friday was International Day of the Girl. Around the world women like me are standing up, joining hands, and speaking out. Stand beside us, won’t you? Here's how:
- LEARN: Head over to our blog and learn what our Founder & Executive Director, Linda Smith, had to say about her time to Guatemala. She met with some of our most inspiring female scholars and her unfiltered stories are worth the read!
- GIVE: Conisder giving one dollar for one young woman so she can spend one hour reading to one girl. Together our dollars add up to make the difference; together we can build a foundation for girls’ education in Guatemala.
- REACH: Forward this on to ten people you know and ask them to stand beside you in supporting girls' education in Guatemala.
Thank you for standing beside women around the world. Thank you for caring about our girls in Guatemala.