Girls’ Journey To Equality Starts Here

This week we were challenged by UNICEF to produce a video about the most pressing issues facing children around the world.

I have decided to focus specifically on girls, as they tend to bear the burden of poverty unequally. They're the first to drop out of school, get married off at an early age or get otherwise enlisted to help those around them. This doesn't only affect the girls themselves - when the female population doesn't thrive neither does the rest of society.

In the wise words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai: “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave, to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential.”

The video above features an interview with Bogaletch Gebre, the founder of KMG Ethiopia. For many years her NGO's main aim was eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM). But thanks to her tremendous success, bringing the rate of this practice down to 4% in her native Kembatta region, she has set her sights on an even greater task. Now Boge, as she's affectionately known among her community, wants to do away with violence against women altogether.

As she rightly states, any such change must begin at home. This is often where girls first get introduced to the notion that they're lesser beings vis-a-vis their brothers. But with a little help and a lot of dedication we can achieve real change for the next generation of girls and boys alike. Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, we all gave a great role to play.

The previous Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, said: “There are more than 500 million adolescent girls living in the developing world today. Every one of them can potentially help break the cycle of inter-generational poverty, with ripple effects multiplying across her society.” In other words, gender equality is not a female issue - it's a challenge we need to overcome collectively as a society. Our children's future depends on it.

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