A friend of mine recently donated to Malala’s charity as the organization of choice for her annual giving. Then she asked me if I’d follow suit.
Love the idea but no can do.
I’m not of the same mind, the token one-off giving of dollars for en vogue super “gurls” just so I can feel absolved from further support in gender issues for the rest of the year. It isn’t enough for me to donate to a charity and then blog or tweet about my altruism; cheque signed, my ‘Honk if you support Malala’ bumper sticker flapping in the wind.
How can we advance the cause of girls and women when we focus our financial contributions and 140-characters-or-less attention spans on the girl charity du jour for un jour? This one-off approach is über short-sighted. There are a million Malala’s in the world that need help every day: sometimes financially, sometimes not; sometimes across the seas, and sometimes in our own backyard. How are you supporting them?
Consider this: Malala cannot do it alone. But together we can help her and many more girls and young women. We need to exchange our traditional pedestal-planting, girl greatness tokenism, with a broader appreciation and recognition of the “Everyday Girl’s” potential to become an empowered woman.
Girls can do amazing things in their lives, and for their communities. However, we continuously obstruct their paths, squash their potential, and fail them as “non-Malalas” because we choose to ignore their experiences: the verbal and physical assaults they endure when bullied at school or online, or when raped at parties. We fail every child whom we shush for singing too loudly in a place of worship, or when we crush her dream of becoming a CEO, or heaven forgive us, a homemaker.
There is no ‘I’ in WOMEN, but there is definitely a ‘WE’. Supporting Malala, as well as the diverse girls and women all around us, of every skin colour, stature, ability, sexual preference, and might, is the only way to ensure a more courageous, confident and resourceful group of future leaders.
Supporting girls and young women is about enabling someone to conceive a future that she may otherwise only have dreamt of, or never had known even existed. Not every girl who learns about STEM will become a scientist, but she will have tasted the possibility. There is another word in WOMEN: ONE. Let’s work as ONE to support the WE in girls and women.
Talya, GGC staff