Girls Strive Towards Brighter Future for International Day of the Girl

I am very proud to have been a part of a historic day as International Day of the Girl and for the opportunity to be a part of the assembly that was held at our school. It was exhilarating to present everything we learned about girls education globally to our peers.

I am glad to be taking Ileana Jimenez’s feminism course because before this, I was not aware of all of the privileges that I had as an American male citizen. My mind was so stuck in America that I was unaware of what was really happening around the world.

Scholars like Richa Nagar and her documentation of stories from girls and women in India really opened my eyes to see the truth, and I can honestly say that the truth hurt. Fortunately, I discovered that the remedy for the pain that I felt, was the willpower and determination of young girls to break out of the cycle of oppression that they were born into.

Playing With Fire by Nagar brings together seven women and seven different stories of women activists in India. Nagar brought these women together to share their stories and to enlighten them.

This journey that these women have embarked on has led to a “much sharper vision to live and fight in a society whose chains burn us and ignite us to smash and break them.”

I think that is very powerful because that just shows how determined these women are to fight against the chains that keep them down. Chaandni, one of the girls in Playing with Fire, still managed to fight on even with the “painful separation from her first daughter.” She was separated from her first child, and I cannot even begin to imagine how painful it would be to separated from my two year old nephew, who I held the day after he was born and have cared for since. Even through all of that pain, she can still manage to find the strength to keep moving.

When my fellow classmate, Noel, presented The Importance of Educating Girls from the 10×10 Educate Girls website, numerous amounts of benefits of educating girls came up such as a 15 to 20% increase in wages; better health; and an increase in children going to school as well. I was amazed that girls were still being denied education.

Then, fellow classmate, Bruke, spoke of various reasons why girls are denied education, which include: poverty, gender discrimination, and lack of safety. He also stated that 50% of the world’s population lives in poverty. That is just insane and it takes away the hope that I had in woman like Chaandni to break free of the cycle.

I was losing hope until I introduced a video by 10×10. This video is called the Value of an Education for an Indian Girl and it focuses on a girl named Parvati. Parvati is from New Delhi, India and she is only ten years old. She is so inspirational to me, and I was honored to introduce her in the video, because she is the first in her family to read and write; she loves going to school, and she is so determined to get an education.

In the video, she looks so excited to learn and go to school alongside all of her friends. The teacher seems so determined to help these girls. This ten year old girl has the most determination to break out of the cycle that she was born into that I have ever seen. It tells me that if this little girl can keep fighting, then so can I.

Before I took this feminist course, I tried to live my life and run through all the walls that stood in my way by following my favorite superhero, the Green Lantern. The Green Lantern embodies willpower and he uses it to fight and channels his will power through a power ring. In this story, will is a tool for fighting injustice. I used this hero as an inspiration to work harder and to be a better person.

For me, it most definitely works. I can admit that the Green Lantern is a fictional character but he is a lot more to me. After this International Day of the Girl assembly, its clear to me that heroes like the Green Lantern do exist, and their names are Chaandni and Parvati. They can use their willpower as a fighting tool, but they can do it without power rings.

The Green Lantern showed me that I can be a better person and to have hope in myself. Chaandni and Parvati showed me that I can have hope in people. If they can be stronger, then I have to channel more willpower and work harder and be stronger too.

International Day of the Girl has really opened my eyes and my ears. Now that I am listening and paying attention, then maybe now my classmates and I can help and be apart of this movement. It really brings a smile to my face to have been a part of this assembly and to show the story of Parvati. I only hope that people will open their eyes as well.

11 thoughts on “Girls Strive Towards Brighter Future for International Day of the Girl

  1. I also love the Value of Education for an Indian Girl video. The fact that Parvati, a ten year old girl, is the first person in her family to read and write is both sad and a great accomplishment. It is sad because no other person in her family had the opportunity to get an education but the fact that this little ten year old girl is learning and is so motivated to learn is heart warming. Hopefully she is the start of a new generation, where education is more accessible.

  2. Great choice of media to place into your blog post. It brings joy to me to see how hopeful, excited and eager to learn Parvati is in this video and i know that given the opportunity, every girl will have just as big a smile on her face as Parvati does.
    In addition, I appreciate how you compared your struggles to the Green Lantern. It really is a different sort of lens that i haven’t looked through. Interesting to think about.

  3. I know what you mean when you wrote “I was not aware of the privileges I had as an American male citizen. My mind was so stuck in America.” It seems that living in America makes one unaware of the real issues that happen outside of the country. We are all taught that outside the United States, poverty, disease, and lack of education are still major problems in developing countries. But taking the feminism course made me realize that girls’ oppression in the world is actually a real issue in these countries and its actually a bigger problem than one thinks. Poverty, disease, and lack of education all intertwine with girls’ oppression. Lack of education forces a girl to be poor. It can also force a girl into prostitution, therefore, exposing her to diseases. It all connects and I think that girls’ oppression should be a problem taught just as much as poverty, disease and lack of education are problems outside the country. Just like we were both unaware, it’s our duty to help the people in our communities educate them about this problem that we didn’t know about before. If possible, then we can really help Chaandni’s and Parvati’s dream come true. And I agree, Parvati and Chaandni are true role models and heros because even though their lives were not as perfect as they could’ve been, they never gave up on hope and they still fight to make their dreams come true.

  4. There is a common thread among all these blogs, the idea of having our eyes open by knowledge. I think it’s inspiring to see all the different ways our eyes were opened. In your blog you spoke about how you were “amazed that girls were still being denied education.” It’s the knowledge that we have been exposed to that allows us to make these realizations, and thats why it is so important for us to be educated and fight back and change the world for the generations to come. As you said in your reaction to the video you posted, “It tells me that if this little girl can keep fighting, then so can I.” It’s the stories that we have heard and seen that truly opened mine and clearly your eyes to the atrocities that happen in this world.

    Great job!

  5. Loving the addition of the video in the post, it truly does the post and the video itself justice. You had a very cohesive piece and you managed to weave in views from your peers to tell your story. As far as the story itself, I enjoyed it thoroughly because it took us on a ride of emotion similar to Eliza. You introduce us to all these problems and then you take us this decline or hope and then it slopes back up after you introduce this video. I thought that was interesting. You also referenced what Bruke and I had written and reflected on what the various statistics and videos made you think in relation to your piece as well. I loved how you also related it to something in your personal life, a belief or mindset. This made your piece a lot more personal. You then provided possible solutions putting a closing end to your story.

  6. I really appreciated the depth of the connection you have with the pieces you have read and the authors that have wrote those pieces. You mentioned, “Scholars like Richa Nagar and her documentation of stories from girls and women in India really opened my eyes to see the truth, and I can honestly say that the truth hurt.”
    I also respected the fact that not only did you put forth the problem and how you felt about it, but you also gave the reader the answer and how to solve it by saying: “I discovered that the remedy for the pain that I felt, was the willpower and determination of young girls to break out of the cycle of oppression that they were born into” I also think that this is a very important step in order to thrive to make a change. I strongly believe that to feel a personal connection to a cause makes fighting for it a joy.
    Another powerful part of your post was when you spoke of what your classmates Noel and Bruke presented during the assembly; because it showed that not only did you connect with what you personally said during the assembly but to the presentation as a whole.
    Finally I found your conclusion inspiring, and when you talked about the ways you have changed by taking this course is deeply touching.

  7. I enjoyed every word. Through your post, I can see that, clearly, you are a wonderful writer. And great writers are able to connect the topic of which they are writing about, to the world around them, and even things such as a fictional character. It is amazing how you compared Chaandni and Parvati to your favorite superhero, the Green Lantern. I would very much agree with your analogy, they are fueled by their will and struggle “to live and fight in a society whose chains burn [them] and ignite [them] to smash and break them.” I also like how you mentioned their influence on you, and how you figured that if they are strong enough to deal with all the hardships they’ve been through, such as being separated from their child, that you should be able to be strong as well. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!

  8. I would just like to start with saying that I liked the way you tied in your own lack of awareness with the glory of American privilege in the beginning of your post. When you explained that “[your] mind was so stuck in America that [you were] unaware of what was really happening around the world” gave me an image of you as a turtle poking your head out of your shell. Through your post I have come to understand how entering our feminism class has sparked the realization that there was so much more to be seen and understood, “[opening your] eyes to see the truth, and…that the truth hurt”. This became a segway to my understanding your perspective on International Day of the Girl and why you were so driven to “take action”.

    What was inspiring was the way that you connected Chaandani’s experiences to “how painful it would be to be separated from [your] two year old nephew, who [you] held the day after he was born”. You maintained a very passionate tone as you explained why introducing Parviti’s story was so important to you and that “if this little girl can keep fighting, then so can [you].” This resonated with me because I always feel like it is so hard to beat the system of oppression inhibited by mankind from the very beginning. This is also why people like Parviti give us hope and inspire us to be resilient and faithful.

  9. I thought it was really cute and sweet how you talked about the Green Lantern, and how you found women who have survived oppression to be equally heroic! It was nice to see you connect what you have learned about the struggle to end oppression of women all around the world to something you have loved and cared about for a long time. “She was separated from her first child, and I cannot even begin to imagine how painful it would be to separated from my two year old nephew, who I held the day after he was born and have cared for since. Even through all of that pain, she can still manage to find the strength to keep moving.” This comment really moved me, because it showed me how emotionally connected you felt to Chaandi, and how you really empathized with her situation. I was a little confused when you said that learning that 50% of the world lives in poverty “takes away the hope that I had in woman like Chaandni to break free of the cycle.” Perhaps it makes Chaandi that much braver!

  10. You are definitely not alone when you talk about how before taking this feminism course, you were “not aware of all of the privileges you [have] as an American male citizen”. I was also completely unaware of the systems of privilege/oppression in America and around the world. It was being in this class that helped me come into my feminist consciousness. It just goes to show how the important issues that feminism addresses don’t reach enough people, and emphasizes that more people need to be introduced and educated about feminism.
    I know exactly what you mean when you write about Richa Nagar and her documentation of stories from girls and women in India, and how upon learning the truth, “the truth hurt”. At times, it literally pained me to hear some of the more horrific details of the obstacles and hardships that girls and women face around the globe. It most definitely isn’t something that is easy to hear about.
    When writing about Parvati, you make a beautiful point when you say that she, “has more determination to break out of the cycle that she was born into that [you] have ever seen” and that this determination “tells [you] that if this little girl can keep fighting, then so can [you]”. I appreciated what you wrote here because oftentimes, people who have privilege tend to respond to stories like Parvati’s in a paternalistic (and slightly arrogant) manner. Your expression of admiration of her strength is not only inspiring, but it also says, “this girl is not someone to pity or look down on. She is strong, and her unyielding determination inspires me to be strong and to reach for my goals”.

  11. A thoughtful post. I appreciate your mentioning our reading of Playing With Fire edited by Richa Nagar and your personal response to it. I’m glad you mentioned what others did during the assembly as well. Though, I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more reflection and analysis of the issues that we covered in class. Your final lines: “International Day of the Girl has really opened my eyes and my ears. Now that I am listening and paying attention, then maybe now my classmates and I can help and be apart of this movement,” are moving. I’m looking forward to your future posts!

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