Monday, 23 July 2012

High Street Feminism

Today I saw an interesting charity stall in Coopers Square, Burton-on-Trent.  Normally I avoid fund-raisers in the street like the plague; Birmingham City Centre is full of charity employees giving passers-by the hard-sell and I've learnt to avoid eye contact at all costs. My form of philanthropy is to volunteer for organisations or frequent charity shops.  With a bit of anticipation and mental preparation I approached a young, friendly looking woman to ask about how I could get involved in her organisation's campaign.

What was it about this particular campaign that caught my attention?  The campaign was called Because I Am A Girl and the posters displayed facts about the fate of young girls and women in other countries, with particular emphasis on child marriage.  After reflecting on what feminism means to me and assessing where I stand on current debates, I feel the need to actually contribute.  The young woman running the stall told me that across the world there are girls as young as five being forced or coerced into marriage with grown men.  The Human Rights Act states that the minimum age of marriage is 18 years old, or 16 with parental consent; these marriages of young girls are therefore violating the rights which are taken for granted in the UK.  

What is my plan to contribute to the Because I Am A Girl campaign?  I asked about volunteering for the campaign and was provided with the details for Plan UK.  For now, I have Taken the Vow and signed the petition to end early and forced marriage by applying political pressure to the UK's Secretary of State to work with other governments to end child marriage.  The aims of the campaign can be found on the website, including providing at least nine years of education to all girls and to protects the right of girls to the same extent as boys' rights.  For instance, sponsorship of the campaign is put towards the training of clerks across the world to record and issue birth certificates for baby girls as well as boys, so that it will be harder to marry girls before the age of 18.  

Please can you spare a few minutes to sign the e-petition and learn a bit more about this important campaign to find out how we can give young girls in other countries the same opportunities that we, our sisters, our mothers and our daughters have. It is only because of the geography of our births that this is not something that we struggle against ourselves.  

Over and Out,
Faye Stone

1 comment:

  1. I have just asked Guerilla Feminism to put the link to the Because I Am A Girl Campaign on their Face Book page. Within minutes, it was posted up! The immediate response from others was to "Like" and "Share" the page amongst their own networks. I felt like crying.