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Blogs from 2012

Half The Sky

on Saturday, 29 September 2012 01:05. Posted in 2012

Half The Sky is a two-night event on your local PBS channel on Monday October 1 and Tuesday October 2.  As it says on its web page, http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/half-the-sky/ it talks about “turning oppression into opportunity for women.

If you know my books at all, you know that this is a cause dear to my heart. Please watch this. It’s so important that young people (and some older ones, too) understand that there is one group who are bullied and ignored and disenfranchised and hurt more than any other—and that they make up half the human race. You may not be a racist, an age-ist, a snob in any other way, and you may be a girl or woman yourself, but you may be contributing to the hardship of other girls or women without even realizing it.

The only thing evil needs to triumph is for decent people to do nothing.

There’s another site I’d like you to visit. It’s called Because I Am A Girl, at http://www.planusa.org/content2722639 and it tells you the shocking truth about what it means to be a girl today. Did you know that . . .

  • One billion people live in extreme poverty—70% are women and girls.
  • 67 million children worldwide don’t go to school, over half are girls.
  • One extra year of primary school can mean 10-20% higher wages for a girl.
  • When a girl in the developing world stays in school for seven or more years, she’ll marry later and have fewer, healthier children.
  • There are nearly 60 million child brides worldwide. Some as young as 12.
  • Girls who give birth before the  age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their twenties.
  • 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence and exploitation.
  • Nearly two-thirds of new HIV infections among youth 15 to 24 are in girls.
  • In a survey for the 2011 Girl Report, 43% of boys agreed with the statement: "There are times when a woman deserves to be beaten."
  • And in the same survey, 60% of children interviewed in India agreed that if  resources are scarce, it’s better to educate a boy than a girl.
  • $92 billion—that’s the estimated economic loss in countries that do not strive to educate girls to the same level as boys.

How many of those facts did you know? I was appalled to read about them. I’d say I only knew about half, and I think myself well-read on the subject.

Most of my readers are girls. In one way or another, they will run into prejudice just because they were born female. (I read a great fantasy story about two kids in the future laughing about the idea that back in the days when people were ignorant and thought that people born with an “innie” were inferior to those born with an “outie.” Maybe they were talking about bellybuttons—but I don’t think so.)

Please at least be aware of what girls go through, and what you can do to protect yourself and even help others if you like. Please know that girls and women own half the sky and half the stars and half the hope in this world.

Thank you for caring!