Cui Servire est Regnare: International Day of the Girl

By: AJ Jeon ’14

(www.care.org)

A couple of girls on the Groton Community Service (GCS) Board and I got together after the second sit-down to discuss how Groton School could celebrate the very first International Day of the Girl. Ms. Hughes, our faculty advisor introduced us to the 10×10 Act and the International Day of the Girl. The International Day of the Girl (October 11th) is a United Nations sponsored event that focuses on advertising the importance of girls’ education. 10×10 Act is a follow-up movement and a film that has signed up more than 280 campuses that will host various events to celebrate the Day of the Girl. “10×10 is a groundbreaking film, directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, which tells the stories of 10 extraordinary girls from 10 countries, written by 10 celebrated writers and narrated by 10 renowned actresses,” and a “campaign to reach global audiences and inspire individuals to take action for girls,” says the website.

Unfortunately, while many around us get in line to get an iPhone 5, people in the Third World get in line for food. They still struggle against treatable diseases, and fight everyday against starvation. Many world organizations and individuals are putting effort into improving the conditions in such countries. Instead of being an observer, people should start tackling fundamental problems and witness long-term changes. Educating girls in those countries is a very effective and crucial way of supporting because “[educated] girls dramatically improve the well-being of their families, their communities, and their countries,” according to 10×10.

Educating girls reduces poverty. The Council on Foreign Relations reported, “when 10% more of [a country’s] girls go to school, [its] GDP increases an average of 3%.” Also, according to the journal Food Policy, “when female farmers are educated, crop yields rise.”

Educating girls reduces HIV infection rates and child mortality rates. The Council on Foreign Relations, stated that “educated mothers are 50% more likely to immunize their children and when more girls are educated, a country’s malnutrition and HIV rates decline.” Educating girls reduces corruption. According to the Center for Global Development, “when women take leadership roles in their community, corruption diminishes,” and also academic journal World Politics said that “when women are educated and empowered, democracy is more likely to flourish and the conditions that promote extremism are reduced.”Moreover, educating girls reduces population growth more effectively than the government’s vague promotion of contraception. As the United Nations Population Fund suggests “when girls receive 7 years of schooling, they marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children.”

Last Wednesday, October 10th, many students and faculty members attended the International Day of the Girl meeting and proved the warm heart our community has. The guest speaker of the night, Burch Ford, former head of Miss Porter’s School and the President of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, and our own Ade Osinubi(’14) and KT Choi(’14) gave presentations on background information about the importance of this event and education for girls. The meeting turned out very successfully: it grabbed a lot of non-GCS-members’ attention and many people participated in the Q&A session and asked many helpful questions that made the discussion richer. Hopefully, we can continue our interest in this topic and support many girls out there.

Groton is a wonderfully well rounded educational institution, and it would most certainly best represent us if we could return the privileges we have received so far by supporting the girls in need of education. For more information, check out the official website (10x10act.org).

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