A platform for voices supporting women's rights
Whilst global days such as International Day of the Girl and the ever-increasing intrigue in Malala Yousafzai’s incredible story help to raise consciousness of the formidable barriers that young girls still face across the world, Ms. Pinto urges us to consider the development of young girls as crucial in the development of society as a whole. Working for the Agassi Foundation and touring from country-to-country with Plan International, Ms. Pinto has had a first-hand insight into the critical issues that effect young girls and subsequently, society as a whole. She writes that in denying girls the right of education “we are shortchanging humanity both economically and intellectually”.
The current reality is grim. 66 million girls still have no access to education, there are estimated to be 14 million child brides in 2013 and 150 million girls are sexually assaulted each year, half of which have not reached puberty. Forced child prostitution, young girls dying from childbirth simply because their bodies are underdeveloped, the horror stories are rife.
Yet Ms. Pinto describes feeling encouraged by the positivity and determination of the young women she has met on her travels. She has seen young girls fight for their education, who marry when they are ready and give birth, to fewer, healthier children. She has seen these educated mothers raise sons who respect women and their right to education, creating new generations of men who believe the genders should be equal. Even though we seem to be light years away from true interdependence between men and women on a global scale, if we were just prepared to commit to these girls when they are young and at their most vulnerable, we could affect real change.