Understanding Global Health by Celebrating Girls
As a newcomer to K4Health with a lot to learn about global health and the challenges of girls and women worldwide, I spent the first two weeks in my new position reading all I could about reproductive health and family planning. In the process, stories about the creativity, leadership, and bravery of girls keep rising to the top. The first observance of International Day of the Girl Child brings global focus to girls by making their stories, their obstacles, and their promise more visible. Here are just a few to get started:
Pooja, a 13-year-old from India, found support from her family to continue her education and delay marriage. Watch her story in a video from the Half the Sky Movement.
Catherine Wong, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, invented a portable, inexpensive electrocardiogram that connects to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. Find out more about her big idea.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old from Pakistan, advocated for girls’ education under the Taliban. She is recovering from surgery after being shot by Taliban gunmen.
Sisters in Strength, a group of girls in New York, speaks up about street harassment through video, rallies, and city council hearings.
Though girls are still vulnerable to violence, child marriage, and lack of education, I see International Day of the Girl Child as an opportunity to celebrate of girls’ stories and successes.
A move toward gender equality, one of the Millennium Development Goals, begins with girls. One way you can help is by giving girls a platform for their voices, ideas, and opinions. A resource in the Knowledge Management for Health and Development Toolkit called Harnessing the Power of Videos illustrates how production and public screening of videos by adolescent girls can help bring communities together. Find additional resources in the IGWG Gender and Health Toolkit, the Youth Policy Toolkit, and the K4Health website.