July 11 th is World Population Day, and this year’s theme is “Investing in Teenage Girls”. It is an annual event which looks at issues affecting the global population. The United Nations Population Fund have created this short video outlining some of the issues facing teenage girls in developing countries today, key among them being marriage before the age of 18 and a lack of access to sexual and reproductive rights and health services. The UN has also created Girl Up, a campaign aimed at empowering girls around the world to take action and help girls in the places where it’s hardest to be female. To commemorate this day, we have come up with 7 things you can do to get involved in the campaign for a better world for girls around the world.
1. Get Involved in an Event
Girl Up are hosting a variety of events which you can attend and encourage others to attend as well. It could make for a really fun and empowering day out with your mom, sister, friends and other female (or male) relatives.
2. Learn about the challenges girls face
You can find out about how education is an issue for many girls around the world, and the impact it has on health, finances and a girl’s future in general. Learn about the impact of self-harm on teenage girls, and the need for females in positions of power to create change for women.
3. Be an Advocate for Change
As Gandhi famously said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. This means that instead of being disappointed with the world and hoping it will change by itself, taking an active stance to create change, to educate, to empower others. One way to do this is to blog. Blogs have far-reaching audiences and your words can end up reaching others when they are most needed. Make sure your arguments are well-researched and fact-based with links to sources. The UN.org website is a great source of information, and there are more ideas for advocating here.
4. Learn about your rights
Check out your rights as a child (anyone until the age of 18) in reader-friendly language here.
5. Read and watch other people’s stories
Reading other people’s stories can help you to understand the facts from a personal place and see how they impact on real people. Girl Rising is a great documentary available on Netflix which shows girls in developing countries overcoming obstacles to obtain education and lead to a brighter future.
6. Get your school involved
Girl Rising has a resource for teachers and teachers can help spread the word about Girl Up and their Girl Up Clubs.
7. Read up on inspiring teens
There are inspiring teenage girls all over the world, and throughout history. You can check out just a few of them here, here and here. The more we recognize each other’s talents and ability to change the world, the more empowered we are to follow in their footsteps.