This One’s for the Girls

Happy International Women’s Day, ladies!

Now, I am no feminist – I am no anti-feminist either. I believe in gender equality. I believe that girls should have the same rights and access to education – at the same levels – as boys. I believe that women should have access to childcare and resources to help her raise her children while working and making a living for her family. I believe that all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere needs to end. I believe violence, sexual exploitation, and trafficking of girls and women need to end. I believe that harmful practices such as forced/arranged marriage, and female genital mutilation need to end. I believe in the 2030 Agenda – the agenda that wants all of those things to be fixed by the year 2030. In 2030, my daughter will be 19 years old. She will be a new adult, thrown into this crazy world. There are so many people in this world who support women and girls and tell us “you can be anything you want to be!” – but then there are people who still don’t believe that women deserve to be equal; these people are closer than we think – they can be our neighbors, our family.

My biggest wish for my daughter is that she never has her dreams crushed because she is a woman. I hope she never feels inadequate because of her gender. She is strong and independent and she is such a fighter – and I hope she never, ever loses that. I am raising a woman – even though she is only four, we are teaching her how to be successful and that she can do whatever she wants when she is older. I am so grateful to live in a country where my daughter has access to education, and even higher education; where my daughter will have access to obtain a job, schooling, and daycare for her children; where there are medical resources available to her for pregnancy prevention and pregnancy care. We are so lucky to have these things in America, yet it goes unacknowledged all too often.

International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world, in many countries, and has been for 107 years. We have come a long way. However, we still have a long way to go. There are still so many cases of girls being trafficked. Women are being raped and sexually exploited. There are developing countries where women can’t even cook a meal for her family without worrying about toxic stove smoke killing her family. There are countries where girls are married off to rich men before their 5th birthday. There are more than 350,000 women who die in childbirth each year because they lack medical attention in doing so. There are 12 million girls just in Sub-Saharan Africa who will never get the chance at an education.

Today isn’t just celebrated by feminists – and it isn’t just celebrated by women. Today is about awareness – about coming together – finding the rainbow. It’s about making my dream for my daughter come true.12825434_10156605101130564_1896326552_n

XOXO, Shelby


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