Every girl and woman should be in charge of her health and her future. Yet according to the United Nations, approximately 800 women die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable -- a clear sign that we have a lot of work to do to ensure that women have the tools they need to stay healthy.
In 2030, my Khadija, you will not have to conform to any man's rule, you will not be anyone's play-dough, and you will not be moulded into figures of any man's invention. Come 2030, my baby girl, I hope you will be asking your mom about how she helped make this era the girl generation: a time when your children are born free.
Often a hectic schedule is invigorating to me. I like the feeling that comes with doing what I've decided to do, pursuing goals, solving problems and overcoming obstacles, one by one. But this particular week hadn't felt productive -- just busy. Was I really going anywhere? Or was I just running in circles?
I want to take that young woman, the younger self who was so eager to be liked that she lost a part of herself, gently by the hand and tell her that pleasing yourself first is so much more important than pleasing others. You place so little value on your own being when you live to please others. And you lose a very precious thing in the bargain; your voice and the right to an opinion.
The struggle that girls face in securing an education is not a girl or woman problem -- it is a father's and brother's issue too. Therefore, as we celebrate Father's Day in the U.S. on June 15, I call on my fellow fathers to join me to commit to ensuring that our daughters have access to a quality and safe education.
When we give impoverished women a place at the global table of economic development, we take a firm stand in decreasing rates of child mortality and fostering health and prosperity in the developing world. This is something that is well worth celebrating on Mother's Day and supporting all year round.