Growing up as an Indian-American girl in the United States, I learned to find a perfect balance between expectations of me at home and within my family as well as living up to society's standards in terms of my stature, behavior, and willpower. For decades and centuries, women and young girls were out of the spotlight and waiting for the opportunity to soar in many fields. Historical transformations throughout the globe made an impact on the integration of women into the workplace and politics, among other forays, but there is still room to improve.
There are over 1.1 billion girls on our planet facing a multitude of obstacles. Over one-quarter of young people, most of whom are girls, do not get to go to school and thus cannot get employed anywhere. In some societies, women don't go to school to get married early on, rearing the family and still live their lives without a sense of worth.
In an ever-changing, revolutionary society, I believe that every child and girl should have the freedom to pursue education to become successful professionally and socially. Each girl should be able to walk out on the street with her head held high, unafraid of what is yet to come or worried about what every individual will say about her. In order to revolutionize female empowerment and encourage girls to pursue their goals, the United Nations created the International Day of the Girl Child in 2011, with the mission is to, "galvanize worldwide enthusiasm to better girls' lives... [and] reach their full potential". October 11 is not just any other national [insert food here] day to get free items, but instead, October 11 serves a powerful purpose: to encourage legislators, leaders, and individuals of all ages to make a profound impact on the lives of girls in their communities.
Now is the time, more than ever, to invest in the education and human rights of women (of impoverished and affluent communities) from an early age so that future generations will not have to face scrutiny anymore. It is time for legislators worldwide to make a difference in their communities.
October 11, 2018, marked the seventh year of the International Day of the Girl Child. With the theme "With Her: A Skilled GirlForce", 2018 marks the beginning of a year of investment to improve skills for girls and young women to enter the workforce. By training girls to be employable, they can become the successful entrepreneurs physicians, journalists, astronauts - anything that they dream of.
2018 also commences the launch of Michelle Obama's Global Girls Alliance, which Obama mentioned in an interview on NBC. Obama's program supports grassroots leaders worldwide who understand the challenges girls face on a regular basis and initiates strategies to overcome common challenges. Through Global Girls Alliance, Obama plans to drive global awareness and generate commitments to help girls around the world.
The United Nations and the Obama Foundation are two examples of organizations that want to change a girl's life for the better as soon as possible. But now, I encourage individuals of all ages to bring awareness to their communities and schools. Through fundraising initiatives for organizations like the Global Girls Alliance, having empowerment training and self-defense for women to be successful outside of the home, small programs can build up to make a successful movement for the future. As Former First Lady Michelle Obama said, "an educated girl can lift up her family, her community, her country". It is time to stand with her.