Writing (and cut & pasting) a quick blog all thanks to a fellow Instagram Dad (Greg aka @London_Dad). A couple of weeks ago Greg posted a cryptic note about how in conjunction with UNICEF he was going to be posting, discussing, campaigning for the International Day of the Girl.
As a proud father to a little girl, and as a playworker that visits many communities across Gloucestershire where girls don’t feel empowered enough to join in games or activities, where girls are suffering more than boys (or at least showcasing more signs) from the mental health impacts of stress at school, society views, shit going on at home and everything and anything in between, I was keen to know more.
Yesterday Greg sent through the information below. More will be coming from me today in support of this campaign. My Mum dragged me up, with help from family and friends, but crucially my father didn’t want to stick around (his loss). So from a very early age I realised that women & girls have an equal footing in any walk of life. My sister played rugby for boys teams (there were no girls teams in our county at that stage), my grandmother was the ‘boss’ of the family (we weren’t the Mafia or anything, far from it, it was just the fact she was an ex matron so knew how to control a rowdy bunch of grandkids).
Since mum died, and I have had my own little bundle of joy (read; a vomiting, pooing, sleepless nights providing, food throwing, laughing, farting, running, jumping, using head as a brake bundle of joy) it has dawned on me how bloody hard mum worked on her own bringing me and my sister up. Hard because she faced a lot of stigma being a single Mum, stigma I haven’t seen or heard towards single Dads. Hard because she had to make a choice, career or kids.
I became a rugby coach for my local girls team after returning from my travels (PS in New Zealand women are part of the teams that dig the holes in the street, making sure houses have heating, water on tap, infrastructure is provided for all… bravo Kiwis) – it wasn’t long after my first season with the girls that i was in one of the local bars and a guy I played rugby with as a lad, a guy who was (at the time) playing for the first team, came up to me and told me I was
“… a disgrace to our club, why are you coaching girls? Is it because you can’t coach a proper team, a boys team?”
This was not too long ago, this is why I am posting Greg’s message today about the International Day of the Girl. We shouldn’t need to do it, as a father I shouldn’t be concerned about when my little girl grows up and has to deal with awful predators like Tangerine Trump, shouldn’t have to deal with inequality in the work place, shouldn’t have to deal with drunk idiots who believe girls can’t compete… and all the other BS that seems to still be in place in the 21st Century!
Around the world, girls between 5 and 14 years old spend 40 per cent more time, or 160 million more hours a day, on unpaid household chores and collecting water and firewood compared to boys their age.
What can we do? As parents sure we can send money to another text appeal or do a spot of fundraising but what we really need to do is help. Weather it’s fgm, getting girls educated, stopping child labour or just a one size fits all equality of the sexes, we have a platform and can use it for the power of good. You might have 50 followers or 50k followers, tweet snap or gram, none of that matters, the only thing that matters is that we unite as parents and spread the word.
Sure you might be a father to daughters or a mother to sons but none of us would want our children to be disadvantaged because of their sex. Our girls still have a way to go before they are on a level footing but girls around the world are a long way behind. The real focus of this years international day of the girl aside from celebrating what it is to be a girl, is to actually gather data to see how disadvantaged girls really are. Currently there are huge data gaps that exist in knowing how many girls are without education etc so how can a charity like unicef help or fundraise without knowing what it is they are up against?
Isn’t it time you did something about it?
Doing something about it could be sharing this blurb to educate more people about the cause, it could be making a donation, sponsoring a girl or actually giving your time. Whichever way you choose, choose one. We wouldn’t want our children to be discriminated against and if you only have boys then it’s just a chromosome that separates them and the girls who suffer so much.
If you think you don’t have enough money to donate or sponsor a girl,? of course you do. #liberatewithlattes why not make your morning coffee at home once a week and donate £130 quid a year, give it weekly, monthly or yearly…. whatever just give it.
And I know that we all have a cause close to our hearts, we donate to GOSH but we are parents lucky enough to be able to live where we do and provide for our children, educate and feed them. This is a cause that you can make a change to right now.
If you really can’t do any of the above then the one thing you can do is share, share on instagram, twitter, facebook, on your blog or tumblr and even talk to your friends about it, yep in real life, person to person. The more people who are aware of the issues faced by girls and the charities trying to help them, the more girls will benefit in the future.