|Erin Davis, co-host of 98.1 CHFI's Morning Show, serves Pink LemonAid on Day of the Girl in Toronto in September 2010. Celebrity supporters helped Plan Canada raise awareness and donations for the Because I am a Girl campaign and encouraged others to get involved and take action. (Courtesy: Peter Bregg)
Girls face challenges here in Canada and across the world, from bullying and other forms of violence to discrimination and more.
"In the poorest regions of the world, girls face unique barriers to survival and development - like access to food or an education - simply because they are young and female," says Paula Roberts, of Plan Canada.
Investing in girls, especially in their education, can literally transform lives and end global poverty, says Roberts.
Plan Canada research reveals:
- An educated girl will be more likely to marry later and have fewer, healthier children.
- For each year a girl stays in school, her income rises by 15%. With the opportunity to earn a living, she will pull herself out of poverty, and bring her children along with her.
You don't need to be a celebrity ambassador to make a difference, says Roberts.
"Social change is something each of us can participate in if we choose to do so and join together with others who have that same interest or commitment. As a matter of fact, so much of what we've been able to accomplish so far started with smaller individual actions by 'average' people."
People, especially young girls, made it happen by talking to each other, telling their stories, and signing letters and petitions, she says.
Check out ways to get involved at Becauseiamagirl.ca.
Pinkstinks.org.uk promotes powerful female role models by counteracting "the media obsession with women who are 'famous,' 'thin,' 'rich' or 'married to famous men' by celebrating those women that we see as inspirational, important, groundbreaking and motivating."
Empower young women with tips from Cheryl Miller, of Greenlightforgirls.org:
- Find inspiring women role models around you and promote them to girls. "Study preferences for boys and girls are made by the time they're 15 years old so we have to be fast and efficient at sparking girls' interest in these traditionally male-dominated areas."
- If you can't find female role models, make them up! Good stories about girls/women -- real or not -- can make huge inroads toward changing society's attitude about girls and their own attitudes about themselves.
- Encourage the young girls in your life to study science and math with degrees in language, communications, teaching, etc. on top of that.