Ankle Bracelet

    It‚Äôs pretty, this little bracelet. Looks like many bangles I see young girls wearing. Would you want to wear it? You only have to sign away your life. This ankle bracelet was worn by a girl slave in Niger. And she lived within your lifetime. Originally collected by Anti-Slavery International, it belonged to one of the girls they interviewed. Of those girls, 43% were sold between the ages of 9 and 11. 83% were slaves before their 15th birthday. Though slavery is banned in Niger, it continues due to a lack of political and legal enforcement against human trafficking. The girl was...

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Ana Sandoval

  Can you imagine being in high school and discovering that a mining company is coming to destroy your home? That‚Äôs what happened to Ana Sandoval, a young land rights defender in Guatemala, who dared to stand up and protect her community. As a teenager, Ana co-founded Communities in Peaceful Resistance, ‚ÄúLa Puya,‚Äù an organization that defends indigenous land in Guatemala from US-based mining companies. When big corporations take land from indigenous people, like the land Ana and her family live on, these communities often face environmental and economic harm. So in 2012, knowing the...

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Ladd Girl

  She seems so happy. Both of them do, actually. They look like any two schoolgirls, having a laugh in the hallway. But that‚Äôs not just any school. The young girl in this photograph was a member of the Ladd School for the Retarded in the 1980s. She was mentally handicapped in some way, though we don‚Äôt know her name or her full story. She represents a history of young girls with mental or physical disabilities whose stories go back thousands of years, yet remain silent and hidden. The first mention of intellectual disabilities dates to 1552 BCE, when the Egyptians noted that they left...

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Girls’ Circumcision Headdress

  This headdress was worn by a Maasai girl less than fifty years ago. Native to southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, the Maasai are a semi-nomadic people, known for living alongside animals and an aversion to eating game and birds. Because of their lifestyle, East Africa is now home to some of the continent‚Äôs finest game areas and wildlife refuges. The Maasai are also a strong patriarchal culture, led by a group of elder men and a full body of oral law. Their lives center on cattle, which are their primary food and currency, and they – unlike many other Africans – have never...

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Girl of Beads: Ndebele Doll

  We like to think of dolls as soft and cuddly, even the plastic ones are meant to be ‚Äòcute‚Äô. These are all constructed, typically by male designers, and marketed to girls to teach them what and how they should behave. This sounds a bit extreme, but bare with me. Dolls come in all shapes and sizes and looks, even the dolls that aren‚Äôt cute, the more artistic looking ones, are meant to impart lessons to young girls about their future. On toy store shelves, what is there and what isn‚Äôt speaks very loudly. The lessons of being a mother, a caregiver, a nurturer, are all born here. This...

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Pants for Protest

    For centuries, it was a taboo for European and American girls and women to wear pants ‚Äì until the 1970s. Crocheting, knitting, sewing ‚Äì the art of crafting your own clothes goes back ages and was very common during most of the 20th century. Most girls learned about needlework since they were little. For them, it was no big deal to sew a dress or crochet a bonnet ‚Äì a typical day‚Äôs work. So it was probably not a big challenge for a girl to create these beautiful bright colored pants in the 1970s in Europe. She used different types of yarn and wool to create her pants; she was...

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