Saturday, April 18, 2015

Because I Am A Girl: A Global Social Movement

As a woman, I always believed we deserve the same rights as men.
I held firmly on this idea when I watched a short clip of The Impossible Dream on my Soc Sci 3 class.
Growing up, I hated being told that "You're not ready to marry a man yet because you don't know how to cook."
AS IF it's every woman's end goal to get married, right?

BEFORE you judge me as a "feminazi" or something. Being a feminist isn't about hating men. It's about wanting gender equality. Where you could feel free walking in the streets not worrying about your safety and the like. That kind of freedom. What do I mean?

Lately, It makes me cringe seeing a lot of horrible things in the news on how women are treated inhumanely like the 2012 Delhi gang rape / ISIS' traumatic attacks against Yezidi women and children have I really realized that there is an urgent need to empower girls of all ages to be educated so that they know how to fight back from their oppressors.
One my main motivations in doing my thesis research.

Because of this, I decided to join Plan International's Media Briefing held last March 26 at Il Ponticello Cafe Ristorante, Makati City. So that I could learn more about their Because I Am A Girl Campaign.

During the intimate luncheon, I got to meet a lot of wonderful open-minded women who shares the same beliefs towards gender equality and the like. Beside me is Girl Declaration Project Advocate - Lindsay Mercado and Campaigns Coordinator of Plan International-Philippines - Paulene Santos.

As a part of its commemoration of Women's Month, Plan International shared its 2014 report on the State of the World's Girls. Paulene Santos shared some startling facts about the pervasive issues that girls around the world continue to face every day; namely, the lack of access to quality education, child marriage, early pregnancy, violence, sexual abuse, and gender discrimination.

Some of the facts discussed included the following:
  • 65 million girls across the world are out of school
  • Globally, 1 in 5 girls of lower secondary school age is out of school
  • Girls' primary school completion rates are below 50 percent in most poor countries
  • Every year, 10 million girls are forced or coerced into marriage
  • Every 3 seconds, another girl is forced or coerced to marry.
  • 1 in every 3 girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18.
  • 1 in 7 marries before they reach the age of 15.
  • 150 million girls, and 73 million boys, under 18 have experienced rape or other forms of sexual violence.
  • The leading cause of death for young women age 15-19 in developing countries is pregnancy.

The critical role of men and boys in the process of achieving gender equality was also made clear. "Bringing about change means men and women from across the social spectrum must challenge collective power than can bring about transformative change touching on all the institutions that surround girls - the social, the economic, and the politico-legal.

The issues that girls here in the Philippines face were also discussed, as Plan International-Philippines shared its data indicating that girls drop out of school for several reasons ranging from poor quality of education, poverty and child labor to socio-cultural norms and high rates of teenage pregnancy. Human trafficking was shown to be a very real problem in the country as well, especially in times of emergencies when women and adolescent girls are more susceptible to being victimized.

Plan went on to share some of its current initiatives which are aimed at addressing these issues in support of its Because I Am A Girl campaign. One of which is recently launched Girl Declaration Project that Michelle Caindec, Plan International-Philippines' Child and Youth Advocacy Coordinator, explained will allow for a youth-led advocacy to influence the government in including girls' rights as an integral part of its sustainable development goals.

Want to know more about Because I Am A Girl?
Check out their FB page at

For further information, please contact:
 Paulene Santos - Plan International Campaigns Coordinator
Email: paulene.santos(at)
Telephone Number: 810-0033

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