Wednesday, January 01, 2014

CC 9 - Because I'm a girl

This was my CC9 delivered in November. I haven't had time to post it until now. The goal was to influence your audience.

Have you ever seen this poster? Have you ever heard of the ‘BECAUSE I’M A GIRL’ campaign?
Toastmasters and dear guests, ‘Because I’m a girl’ is a global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls, and everyone around them, out of poverty. Their motto is to invest in girls and change the world. Why girls? Because of the way girls are treated in poorer countries around the world. Because they are the first ones to suffer. Yet, they have the biggest potential to help themselves and their families if they are given a chance. Because I am a girl provides these little girls that chance. Let me give you 3 reasons why I am raising awareness to this cause today.

First, let's talk about food. When I was growing up, my mom would layout the food on the table and everybody would serve themselves to as much food as they want. Now picture yourself as poor in a developing country and that for dinner everybody else was allowed to eat first before it was your turn. Imagine that the same scenario happened every day, where you would silently pray that the other members of your family would leave you some food or you'll have to wait till the next day to see if you will have better luck. This happens not because your parents do not love you as much as the other members of your family but because of your gender! Little girls around the world go through this every day. They have to watch the male members of their family eat and hope that there is enough left for them to eat. Is that fair? From someone who would not even let her brother get away with a piece of chocolate if she also didn't get one, that idea is outrageous to me. “Because I'm a girl” initiative, provides food to little girls around the world so that they have a fighting chance to survive poverty. 

The next thing where girls are overlooked is education.  66 million girls in developing countries are not in school. The main reason is because families think that the daughters will be more helpful working for the family than getting an education. Since there is little opportunity for girls to get a paying job even if they are educated, the family seldom wants to spare them, so that they help with cleaning, cooking, collecting wood or water and looking after the younger children. Another reason that families do not send the girls to school is that most schools in poorer countries do not have the facilities to accommodate girls. ‘Because I’m a girl’ helps to send girls to school by building schools with the appropriate facilities and by giving them food if they need it. That gives the parents an incentive to send them to school as well. Research has shown that for every year of school a girl attends, her lifetime income raises by 10 to 20%. And the more education she gets, the healthier her children will be. My dad is a male chauvinist, but he never denied me the education I wanted. He could have said ‘you are a girl, you do not need an education and certainly not in Canada’, but he didn’t.

Thirdly, by promoting gender equality, ‘Because I’m a girl’ is not only promoting a better life for girls but also for boys. Children have a better future when their mothers are educated and their fathers are more involved in the family life. For example, let’s take my brother and I. My dad believes that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. He never goes in the kitchen except to eat. Yet, for all of his shortcomings, or maybe because my mother was educated enough to know how to counter argue him, my brother and I were raised in a gender equal environment. Every chore was divided equally between my brother and I, regardless of the nature of the task, from cleaning the kitchen floors to raking the yard. Today, my brother is well versed in domestic chores, something that I’m sure, his wife appreciates. But more than that, the cycle of gender inequality has been stopped in our generation.

With a little food, as much education as they can get, and by promoting gender equality, girls have the potential to lift themselves out of poverty. The global initiative ‘Because I’m a girl’ is changing the world, one little girl at a time. If you want to help be part of that change, you can donate or shop on the website www.because I am a Or you can make a difference by fundraising or by increasing awareness to the cause. Little girls everywhere need YOU to advocate for them so that THEY in turn may make a difference in THEIR world.