Qing Girls

  A young girl made of bronze, holding an object we can’t identify, pleading with us to call her by name. That seems to be the story of so many girls in Qing China, the last imperial dynasty of an ancient land. The Qing dynasty lasted from 1644 until 1912, becoming known as a multicultural empire that formed the basis for modern China. Yet it was a rigid society, known for its strict class hierarchy and the oppression of women. Like this nameless girl, many girls in the Qing dynasty were expected to be silent. Though educated, it was only so that they could take their place as teachers...

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The First Day of School

  Many of us have a memory of a first day of school. Whether donning a backpack filled with crayons and glue for preschool, hopping on the bus for the first time as a kindergarten student, or entering the intimidating halls of high school as a 9th grader, the first day of school can be a big deal! How do we hold on to those memories? In my experience, my mom often snapped a photo to commemorate the first day of school – something that we could look back on to see how much I grew from year to year, or to laugh at the 1990s fashion. What was the first day of school like before there...

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No Time For Fear – Politicking Girls: Indian Girls Hunger Strike to Protest Sexual Harassment

  Earlier this month, more than 80 girls went on a hunger strike in northern India. The aim of the hunger strike was to protest the harassment the girls faced on their way to school. In India — and all around the world — dangerous commutes are a clear barrier to girls’ education. The girls who participated in the eight-day-long strike were facing the prospect of a daily 2-mile journey finish their high school education in a different location. The extra distance to school would likely mean more harassment and the prospect of more girls dropping out of school. The strike ended when the...

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Mary Wollstonecraft’s messages for girls

This etching at the British Museum caught my eye. I liked the title. Be calm, my child, remember that you must do all the good you can the present day. Is this an important message for girls of the world? Could this be a good motto for your life? With everything that has been going on in the world recently, I’ve been feeling angry, upset and helpless. Perhaps this is all we can do, keep calm and ensure we do as much good as we can each day. Initially I felt the etching didn’t go with the title. All I see is a wealthy trio out taking a stroll in the park – a mother with her two girls,...

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IDG 2016: Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress

In 2011, the UN declared the 11th of October as the International Day of the Girl, to empower girls and to acknowledge the discrimination and inequality girls face on a global, and staggering scale. The theme for the 2016 International Day of the Girl is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement. As girls make up roughly half of the world population, if girls aren’t achieving their potential, the entire world isn’t. When girls are educated, the entire world benefits. The UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics has found that 32 million primary school aged girls are...

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Review: ‘He Named Me Malala’

I’m slightly ashamed to admit I didn’t know all that much about Malala Yousafzai before I saw Davis Guggenheim’s latest venture (director of An Inconvenient Truth). I’d heard Malala’s story when it had been in the news some years ago, and once I had made the connection between my vague memory of the events and the film my friend was suggesting we watched, I was more than keen to tag along. For those out there who may still be uncertain as to who she is – Malala is a Pakistani activist still in her teens, who was targeted and shot by the Taliban in an attempt to stem her vocal support for...

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Guest Blog: The Spelman Course That Changed My Life: ‘Girls’ 

For a long time, I aspired to be a public relations and communications practitioner because I enjoy advocating and representing others. In fifth grade, the first time I represented others was when I became the class representative to room 17 at North Miami Elementary. I considered this my first political campaign; I made “vote for me” fliers from the pages of my composition notebook and handed out Oreos. Two decades later, I had no idea how me aspiring to be an advocate for my classmates and one Spelman course would change my life. On August 14, 3 days before the Fall 2016 semester began,...

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Education for All Report

  One of the stories in our April News Roundup episode of GirlSpeak featured the latest report from UNESCO. Entitled “Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges,” the report reviews the progress made on the Dakar Framework for Action that was put in place in 2000 with six wide-ranging education goals. This year, those goals should have been met. As you can read in their Summary Report, there has been great progress towards the goals. The Framework has helped achieve stunning growth in the number of children enrolled in school. In the past fifteen years, the number of...

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Happy Birthday, Juana Ines de la Cruz!

Today is the 363rd birthday of Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz, also known as Joan Agnes of the Cross. Juana was born in 1651 near Mexico City as the illegitimate child of Spanish Captain Pedro Manual de Asbaje and Isabel Ramirez. During her childhood at her grandfather’s hacienda, Juana often hid in the chapel to read her grandfather’s books – at a time when reading was forbidden to girls. By age 3, she knew how to read and write, and by age 5, she could do accounting. By her teenage years, she had mastered Greek logic, Latin, and the Aztec language Nahuatl while also becoming a poet. At age...

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Memories of Girlhood: Back to School

August and September have always been two of my favorite months. Why? Because it’s time to go back to school! It’s time to catch up with old friends, make new ones, learn new things, plan holidays and projects, and get new school supplies (yes, I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils). So what are you looking forward to this school year? Perhaps you’ll finally read a book you’ve wanted to discuss with others, or learn about a period in history or field of science that fascinates you. Maybe it’s the lunchtime chats with friends or the art projects you’ll make. But as you go back to...

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