By Aisling McEntegart
In a world where girls are encouraged from a young age not to laugh too loud or think too hard, paid less than their male counterparts for the same work and are routinely married to older partners against their will in a shockingly high number of nations, striving for gender equality has never been more important. Oct. 11 marked the second annual International Day of the Girl Child, a movement working tirelessly toward achieving equality between the sexes.
It is vital to remember that the International Day of the Girl Child is a revolution that is not simply limited to one day. It will continue to be of grave importance until every girl born into this world is on equal footing to every boy born.
While Oct. 11 acted as a reminder of the inequalities faced by girls, with each day that passes this movement is growing in momentum and front lining the fight against sexism.
Sexism, arguably the oldest form of discrimination, must be ended. Like most forms of discrimination, the oppressed individual is essentially being punished for the crime of being born.
Thanks in part to this campaign, the winds of change are beginning to arise and gather strength among communities worldwide. Starting with a network of college students from countries across the globe, female empowerment is being established as an issue for all.
"I think the Day of the Girl is a great way to empower women around the world. Gender discrimination is still a very real social issue [and] we are long overdue for a change," said Angelina Bayer, a sophomore at Lynn University, the host of the Millennium Campus Conference 2014. "I think the biggest roadblock in gender equality is the fact that most people associate feminism with the hatred of men. Women deserve equality and I find it appalling we still have to fight for it."
The Millennium Campus Conference that concluded today at Lynn, a small private institution located in Boca Raton, FL, aims to put an end to various inequalities present in today's society by connecting college students from all over the world and allowing them to develop partnerships with a global community of like minded individuals. Thus, tackling sexism is a very important facet of this event.
The International Day of the Girl Child is by no means a movement exclusive to women, but seeks to educate society as a whole. The advancement of women's interests is not just a gender specific issue; it is a human problem that is being tackled with solidarity by the many delegates in attendance at this conference.
"Education is key to overcoming this problem, if men and women work together as equals so many other world issues can be solved with haste, whether it be political, environmental or health related," said Salomey Owusu, a junior at Lynn. "Men need to understand the world cannot grow efficiently with half its population treated as second class citizens. Women will bring a new perspective and that is what is needed in today's society."
When half of the world's population is subject to daily discrimination and refused equal opportunities, it does not just hold back women, but civilization as a whole. This results in the advancement of human sophistication being stunted.
With all of this in mind, there has never been a better time to put an end to this problem and embrace equality with open arms. Just imagine the things that could be achieved once worldwide gender equality has been compounded. The possibilities are endless.
Photo Credits: Kevin Studer