I have been working in the field of gender-based violence for over 20 years and know that fathers have the potential for lifelong and positive impact on their children. Fathers who are caring, engaging, loving and respectful towards their children can equip them with a resilience essential for navigating life's challenges.
Every day around the world, we as fathers make decisions about the future of our daughters -- whether they stay in school, marry too early (or against their will), whether we treat their mothers with respect, or whether we support our daughters to pursue their dreams and see themselves as competent and powerful.
The world must take action where governments and communities have failed our girls. They deserve to live and not to die in childbirth. They deserve to thrive and live healthy lives. Above all, we must protect these girls so that they live a life free of violence, abuse and stigma and can raise healthy children.
Fifteen years from now, my daughter Sierra will be 29 years old. Born prematurely due to a virus, my girl has cerebral palsy, is nonverbal and spends the vast majority of her day in a wheelchair. She uses an iPad with a special app as her primary mode of communication. When she was 12 years old, the sweetest words I ever heard in my entire life were the digitized words, "I love you mommy."