International Day of the Girl

October 11, 2013 | 8 comments
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Malala-YousafzaiToday is the International Day of the Girl.  Yesterday, the Deseret News devoted an article to it but 24 hours later, no one had yet commented. Another article appeared today, but as of now, no comments yet. Perhaps there is no need to voice support for something everyone agrees on? Still, worldwide, tens of thousands of children have been conducting activities to support education for girls, following the lead of Malala Yousafzai. Anything to report from Utah?

Other themes of the Day deal with forced girl marriages and teen pregnancies due to poverty and lack of sexual education.  In my home country, Belgium, teen pregnancy is very rare. So, for the campaign a short film was made about a 14-year old pregnant girl who comes to a Belgian school. I thought it would be interesting to share it on this International Day of the Girl.

8 Responses to International Day of the Girl

  1. European Saint on October 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Loved the clip from the John Stewart interview with this girl. What a powerful role model.

  2. Alison Moore Smith on October 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I was hoping she’d win the Nobel Peace Prize. :(

  3. Craig H. on October 12, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Thanks Wilfried, interesting clip. There must be some statistics about pregnancy rates in such places as Utah and Belgium, and attitudes toward pregnant teens and education.

  4. LB on October 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Girls Rising is a MUST See for you and your YW/YM. Would be a meaningful fundraising /education project for Scouting/Personal Progress goals. This film features Malala and a few other brave girls.

    You can get involved and bring “girls rising” film to a local theatre near you. Fill out the form on the website and they will help you get an audience. It was easy. We did.

    Great film for Youth (adults too). Deals exceptionally well with heavy themes of very young girls being married off and put into slavery, all being denied an education. A great mix of story and stats about economic growth possible in countries that are beginning to allow girls to go to school. Superbly done + a fund raiser for the organization that supports these yw worldwide.
    http://10x10act.org/girl-rising/

  5. Wilfried on October 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for asking, Craig (3). In Flanders (Dutch speaking Belgium), teen birth rate is 6 births out of 1,000 (2012 figures). In French speaking Belgium it is about 10 out of 1,000, reflecting the economic factor: more teen pregnancies come with lower income and lower standard of living. However, two caveats: 80% of these figures pertain to 18-19 year olds, which mean teen birth rate among the sub-18 is extremely low. And 30% occurs among immigrant non-Belgian girls, in particular Moroccan, Turkish, and East-European girls.

    Early sexual education, but also improving living conditions, are considered the best ways to avoid teen pregnancy.

    For Utah, I find these figures for the 2011 birth rates / 1,000
    - Non-Hispanic Whites, 16.5 compared to 21.8 in U.S.
    - Hispanics, 55.8 compared to 49.4 in U.S.
    - Non-Hispanic Blacks, 22.8 compared to 47.4 in U.S.

    So, roughly, Utah is doing better than the U.S. for whites and blacks, but its teen birth rate is still much higher than in Belgium. As far as I know sexual education through the school system is given at an earlier age and more explicitly in Belgium than overall in the U.S. and certainly in Utah. I assume that is one of the major factors for the low teen birth rate. Considering the Utah situation for Hispanics, the economic situation seems another main factor.

  6. Nathan Whilk on October 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I am the result of a Utah teen pregnancy. My mother was pregnant with me when she was a teenager; she and my father had been married in the temple a year previously. I don’t consider my birth to have been a tragedy, but opinions may differ.

  7. Wilfried on October 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Of course, you make an important point to nuance the figures, Nathan (6). Statistics do not take into account the difference between unwed pregnant teens and responsible young adults under 20 who marry and get a baby. In religious cultures such as Mormon or Jewish, and certainly in areas of their geographical concentration, to marry under 20 is not viewed as abnormal. Still, over the years it has become the exception. The average marriage age in Utah is now 26 for men and 24 for women. That’s why teen birth rates now apply almost exclusively to unwed teens or teens marrying after getting pregnant.

  8. don on October 15, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I think of all those very young girls who married older polygamous husbands in our past, including some in my own family. Did they do that of their own free will and out of romantic love?