Let Girls Lead is thrilled to launch our celebration of International Day of the Girl 2014 with a blog series written by amazing girl leaders involved in our work around the world. Today we are sharing a piece by Gabriela del Carmen, an 11 year old girl from Guatemala who shares her vision for girls and asks us to imagine a world of mutual respect and equality for every girl around the world.
I am a girl. I imagine a world in which we girls are respected, where we are not abused, and where our rights are respected by everyone around us. A world where we are loved, taken care of, protected, taught, and empowered.
In this world, every girl would be born by her parents' choice, not by obligation or carelessness; this must not be taken lightly. Parents should be prepared and ensure that they will be able to provide a proper home, security, protection, love, and education. To achieve this, parents must be given information and counseling. The idea is that they should be ready to teach in a fun way, with games and songs, that allow girls to learn about their body and sexuality, free from fear and taboos, for this could give them the wrong idea about themselves. Our parents should be prepared to teach and counsel without hitting or yelling, never thinking they own or are superior to us girls.
Education should be free of all these things, as well as free of stereotypes that claim girls must cook and sew, like the color pink, exist only to please their husbands, and become mothers by force. We should also be free of the pressure that tells us we must look like Barbies. The classic stereotype of women is someone who is tall, blonde, and thin, desires unnecessary things like trendy shoes and jeans, and longs to find the alleged Prince Charming.
In the world I imagine, we would be free. We could express our doubts about our bodies and sexuality. We could also be ourselves without being judged, no matter what we decide to do, knowing that we will always have the support of our parents.
When I picture this world, I realize it is completely different to the world we live in today.
We girls have rights that must not be abused. Everyone around us must be taught to respect us and not to see us as objects that can be manipulated. We are not anybody's princesses or queens, nor are we the actresses of our destiny; we are the authors of our way.
Now, let all of us girls use our beautiful voices and get everyone to listen to how we picture the world. How do you imagine it?
We invite you to follow our @LetGirlsLead blog series, running from Monday, September 22nd to the International Day of the Girl on Saturday, October 11th on the Huffington Post. Each piece is an intimate window into the experiences of a girl leader and what she is doing to make the world a better place. Through the series, you can learn firsthand about the challenges facing girls globally and the amazing work girls are doing to create a better future.
Let Girls Lead is building a global movement of Champions who empower girls to attend school, stay healthy, escape poverty, and overcome violence. Let Girls Lead invests in girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, storytelling, economic empowerment, and strategic partnerships. Since 2009, Let Girls Lead's externally validated model has contributed to improved health, education, livelihoods, and rights for more than 3 million girls through laws, programs, and funding. Let Girls Lead's sister initiative, Champions for Change, leverages this proven model to save the lives of women, newborns, and children by empowering leaders and organizations to advocate for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health in Nigeria.
Champions for Change and Let Girls Lead are headquartered at the Public Health Institute in Oakland, CA, a leader in global health and development for 50 years.