Today in the inaugural United Nations International Day of the Girl Child. The day is meant to bring awareness of the issues girls face around in the world in achieving their full potential, due to discrimination, violence, and poverty.
We are lucky to live where we live, with many role models for our young girls, and programs which support their education. For example there is the Go Eng Girl program happening this weekend for girls in grades 7-10. And a special event happening today at the University of Guelph for young women in grades 10 and 11 which celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child and empowers our girls to help each other and other girls around the world.
At the library today the Guelph Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women is screening a series of films about girls and some of the struggles they face in accessing education, health care and equality. The event begins at noon and includes:
- Shannen’s Dream is a film about Shannen Koostachin and her belief that every First Nation child should have the right to go to a safe and ‘comfy’ school.
- A Walk to Beautiful, an award winning feature-length documentary, tells the stories of five Ethiopian women who suffer from devastating childbirth injuries and embark on a journey to reclaim their lost dignity.
- To Educate a Girl, filmed in Nepal and Uganda, two countries emerging from conflict and struggling with poverty, addresses the question “What does it take to educate a girl?”
- Mohawk Girls, filmmaker Tracey Deer, like half the teenagers in Kahnawake, utilized government subsidies to attend private school in Montreal. Vowing never to return, she left the reserve to attend college in the U.S. Now a graduate of Dartmouth University, she has come home to Kahnawake to play a role in the evolution of her community.
For younger children, this can be a challenging issue to talk about. There are some great books at the Guelph Public Library to help you talk about the issues kids face around the world, or just to celebrate the strength and power of girls.
Girls hold up this world by Jada Pinkett Smith with photographs by Donyell Kennedy-McCullough.
“We are sisters of this Earth — members of one powerful tribe. /Every color, shape, and size, we’re united by beauty inside.” Artistic photographs enhance the positive message of Jada Pinkett Smith’s inspiring poem. A renowned actress and loving mother, Smith brings warmth and heart to this celebration of young women. While so many girls today struggle with self-doubt, this poem focuses on the power ALL girls have within them, regardless of color or creed. This is the perfect book for mothers, daughters, sisters and friends to give and to share again and again.
Not one damsel in distress : world folktales for strong girls collected and told by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Susan Guevara.
A collection of thirteen traditional tales from various parts of the world, with the main character of each being a fearless, strong, heroic, and resourceful woman.
Girls Who Rocked the World : Heroines from Sacagawea to Natalie Portman by Michelle Roehm Mccann.
This fun and inspiring collection of influential stories provides forty-six illustrated examples of strong, independent female role models, all of whom first impacted the world as teenagers or younger. Originally published in two volumes over a decade ago, this fully updated and expanded edition of Girls Who Rocked the World spans a variety of achievements, interests, and backgrounds.