Updated: Nov 6, 2021
“When you invest in a girl’s education, she empowers herself, her children, her community and her nation” – Erna Solberg, former Prime Minister, Norway.
We are living in an era where the highest positions in top sectors such as government, business, and cinema are held by females. But did all of those strong female leaders come from rich, educated and aware households? I am afraid not! A lot of them rose from adversity, and most importantly because they had at least one person to support them and to help them visualize a better future.
What does the empowerment of a girl child mean in a truer sense? It means to build the scope and advocacy of the girls to make choices for themselves through improved skills, self-esteem, confidence, and capabilities; and assist them to grow healthy relations within the family, community and other stakeholders of the society.
Empowerment begins at home, as you support and uplift your daughters, sisters, and perhaps even your maid or her daughters. Here are 10 interesting and extremely day-to-day implementable ways by which you can be instrumental in empowering a girl child –
Speak up when you encounter inequality faced by females at your workplace or home. Speak up against inappropriate comments passed by anyone, support a female being harassed or bullied, defend the women being gossiped about, and most importantly, be happy and congratulate them on their successes.
Think beyond pretty! Girls are not to be complimented on the basis of physical appearances alone. Focus on their other qualities and encourage them. Alongside the compliment of ‘pretty princess’, she might also be smart, intelligent, brave, a warrior, confident, creative, curious, generous… you get the drift right?
Ask questions that prompt them to think about gender stereotypes like, “Does it seem fair?” or “Why should only girls (or boys) be able or allowed to do that?”, and guide them towards finding answers and solutions to those problems.
Support girls and women in crises. If you come across women who have been the unfortunate victims of domestic violence, abuse, trafficking, or child marriage, build up the courage to support them. You could educate and help them develop their finances, as that is one of the major reasons for such women to not speak up or leave their abusive families.
Use your voice to help keep girls in school. Advocate for their right to education and learning. SABIA’s COVID Impact survey brought to light an essential observation from teachers to contribute to the survey – that they saw a drop in the number of females attending schools, post-pandemic.
Get in touch with us at SABIA and volunteer to contribute to our project “Digital Literacy programs for young girls and women”, and make an impact in the lives of our girls.
Make schools safer for girls.
Help girls improve their self-esteem by teaching them life and leadership skills, exposing them to a higher vision of education, career, equality and strength prospectus. It could be done via classes or sessions at school, counselling, through TV, radio or social media like Whatsapp and Facebook.
Link the survivors of sexual and physical abuse to healthcare systems and government policies that are meant to support them. Ensure that you are at least aware of the females surrounded by you at home, and workplace.
Share books, movies, games and art harbouring non-traditional gender roles. Make sure to expose them to images and ideas not shown in mainstream media.
Food for thought?
Create a bucket list of the above-mentioned ways, and practice them one after the other, each for 21 days to bring about a difference in the lives of girls around you. And they will thank you and motivate others to bring a change.
What are we doing?
SABIA is all set to launch its fundraising campaign to continue supporting students. The learning loss, drop rate in schools, and mental health issues have increased due to COVID and we are helping students to overcome these challenges. The campaign will be active from November 14, 2021. We aim to establish new learning centers, and libraries. We also plan to introduce new modules and projects.
Dr. Harvi Patel