That's what today, the 11th October 2014 is all about. Raising awareness of the inequality and stolen decisions thousands of girls around the world suffer daily.
As a woman living in the UK I have many rights. I will not be forced into marriage by my family. I married young (at 23) but I did not ever worry that I would be married to a stranger, or a relative stranger at the ages of 15-18 like 41,095 young girls are today. In some countries, forced marriage happens even earlier and it is heart breaking to hear of young girls having their childhood stolen, being forced to marry and start a family so young.
I started a family when I was 18. I was pregnant at 17. Many young girls across the world are much younger when they discover they are with child. Many girls fall pregnant after suffering a sexual attack (rape) whilst others who are still young but enter puberty (start menstruating) are seen as able to bring children into the household. Whether they'd want to or not.
47,000 women (of which young girls are included) die due to unsafe abortion every year. Think whatever you like about abortion, right or wrong, every female deserves a choice when it comes to having children and changing their lives forever. Especially when a girl finds out she is pregnant after being raped. We should always have a choice to continue a pregnancy after suffering a sexual and violent attack, the impact on mental health can be massive and it is important that these girls have information, support and options. Sadly they don't, and today 191 child brides will die during labour.
International Day of the Girl is about raising awareness for these bright, strong and intelligent girls. They should have rights, they should have education and they should options just as boys and men do. They should not be forced to marry, to die in labour, to carry unwanted children conceived through crime. They should not be one of the 8,000 girls to suffer female genital mutilation (FGM) (a destructive operation, during which the female genitals are partly or entirely removed or injured with the goals of inhibiting a woman's sexual feelings.) in Africa or one of the 54 girls under 15 HERE in the UK today.
Please consider signing this petition to help Plan UK do all they can to fight for these girls and their futures. Please follow PlanUK and visit their website here for more information. It's incredibly important to use our voices when those who are in need cannot always use their own.
Every girl deserves a future. So I lend my voice to this day and hope that one day, every girl will have the same options and choices as we are so lucky to have here.