International Day of the Girl Child was just last week. The voices of Gen Zers around the world continue to be heard in the fight for equal rights, in the form of the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights.
This bill is a beacon of hope for the feminist movement. According to the Girls’ Bill of Rights site, “The term girls is inclusive of all individuals who identify with the experiences of girls, including gender-nonconforming, genderfluid, transfeminine experiences, up to the age of 22.”
On October 10th, 1,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 22 created the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights and six of the young women who contributed to its creation, unveiled it to the U.N. This document called out the lack of protection over girls’ rights. This is because of how fervently our society defends the rights of boys and men. It takes into consideration the numerous cultural and ethnic backgrounds of girls around the world. It also considers how those cultures impact their rights to basic freedoms and safety.
Girls’ Bill of Rights
The Girls’ Bill of Rights is the first bill of its kind, made entirely by girls, for girls. The group behind the groundbreaking document is the She’s the First organization. This is a grassroots non-profit that has contributed to creating life changes for girls around the world. Their main goals support education, female respect, and giving girls a voice, advocating “for a world where every girl chooses her own future.”
It was a team of girls across the globe that contributed to the Girls’ Bill of Rights. She’s the First paired up with Akili Dada and MAIA, two organizations based in Kenya and Guatemala. They came together to rally an army of advocates to create the bill and over a thousand girls from 34 countries submitted rights they would like to see incorporated into the document. Girls submitted online, or submitted via local organizations. Once these responses were accounted for, a team comprised of 15 girls from all around the world called the Global Girl Panel communicated via WhatsApp to draft their final declaration.
Girls worldwide address ten issues in which they feel their rights are threatened in some shape or form. The bill appears as follows:
Protection from Harmful Traditions
These ideas align with She’s the First’s mission of providing girls with educational and leadership opportunities. They demand essential rights that aren’t given to girls, such as sexual education and access to affordable reproductive healthcare. This includes learning about consent, contraception, and having the ability to seek out services like abortions without facing harsh criticism. Because the Girls’ Bill of Rights also addresses the issue of violence against girls and women.
“At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM (female genital mutilation) in 30 countries where representative data is available.”Girls’ Bill of Rights
Protection from harmful traditions and enjoyment of positive cultural practices allows girls to remain connected to their cultures. This is accomplished without being put through the negative traditions that exist within those cultures.
This bill will protect girls globally, but especially girls who live in parts of the world that don’t value women. The Girls’ Bill of Rights gives these marginalized people a voice and it provides a sense of solidarity among girls and women that is deeply necessary in this day and age.
To stand with the girls fighting for their fundamental rights, co-sign the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights using the hashtag #GirlsBillofRights on social media. And tell your friends and family to jump on board to change the world.