The holiday season is upon us once again, and although I’m aware that everybody around the world chooses to celebrate this time of year in different ways it is obvious that regardless of your beliefs, the close of one year and the dawn of another present an ideal time to reflect on what has been and what you hope will come to be. So in the spirit of the time here is a selection of New Year's wishes for girls around the world.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation."
Throughout history, educating girls has generally not been deemed a necessity. Times are changing though and in the developed world, women have surpassed men at many levels of education. While in developing countries, higher rates of high school and university education among women have helped them make inroads to professional careers with higher remuneration. People are fast learning that the benefits of educating girls improve the prospects of entire communities, as women invest more of their income in their families than men do. Yet many barriers still exist for girls seeking education. Hopefully 2012 will see these barriers continue to fall as the world realises the importance in investing in educating all of its citizens, regardless of gender.
“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.”
Developments in education for girls bring with them the added bonus of improvements in health and health awareness. However, government or NGO intervention to ensure that necessary access to medical care and funding for health initiatives and education is vital for stemming the spread of infectious diseases and preventable health afflictions. I wish that 2012 ushers in greater emphasis on womens' health, particularly in the areas of reproductive, antenatal and mental health. May all women be empowered with the ability to care for their body and make conscious decisions about what it is subjected to.
“I like the feeling that I’m giving young women self-confidence. It sounds so clichéd, but it can be very moving.”
Girls these days are faced with a tidal wave of influences from popular culture. For parents interested in knowing what they should be promoting to grow bright, brave, creative and confident young women, wading through the murk of modern day culture can be depressing. Rail thin, sometimes child models; sexually suggestive children’s clothing and toys; Photoshopped and airbrushed images; fashions and television which “dumb down” girls all are common place. So this New Year I’m also wishing for more positive role models for girls around the world. Role models that go against traditional notions of gender, that represent a wide range of bodies and ethnicities, that encourage girls to value themselves for reasons other than their looks and that inspire girls to be interested in areas where women are under-represented.
Now is that too much to ask?
What are your wishes for girls this holiday season?
Girl Museum Inc.