Report by Paula Antolini, December 22, 2018, 5:17PM EDT
Bethel Pubic Schools has announced that the Girl Up Campaign is coming to Bethel Middle School. Two BMS students, Alexandra Bender and Hannah Stowell, have begun to organize the founding of the BMS Girl Up Club. Middle school includes girls age 11 to 14.
Girl Up was founded by the United Nations Foundation in 2010, and continues to work across a global community of partners to achieve gender equality worldwide.
Girl Up describes themselves this way: “No matter their background, girls have the power to transform themselves, their communities, and the world around them. Girl Up is a global movement of empowered young women leaders who defend gender equality. Through leadership development training, Girl Up gives girls the resources and platform to start a movement for social change wherever they are. For those who stand with us in this movement, there is no rest until we achieve equal rights for every girl.” Because when girls rise, we all rise.”
Girls who flee their homes, poverty and conflict, the refugee crisis, low school enrollment, lack of learning materials, overcrowded classes, and language barriers (in Syria and South Sudan), early marriage, human trafficking, and child labor.
Health: Marriage before the age of 15, high rates of child marriage and teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, information on sexual and reproductive health, sexually transmitted disease, and psychological and physical harm, proper nutrition and clean water, regular check-ups, prevention of domestic violence, teen pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV prevalence rates in the world, how girls and young women can protect themselves from HIV.
Safety & Violence: Violence against girls and women, including sexual and gender-based violence, self-harm, homicides and gang related violence, physical violence, abuse, exploitation, violence against young women between the ages of 13 and 27, murder, safe space, widespread poverty, child marriage, displacement by humanitarian crises, skill-building activities, psycho-social support in community youth centers.
Leadership: Leadership and advocacy skills through girl-only youth clubs, girls’ academic clubs and school achievement awards, scholarships for girls, peace-building and leadership training, livelihood skills training and internship opportunities, job skills training and age-appropriate employment opportunities.
Being Counted: Lack of official data on women and girls is needed to help assess the need for foreign assistance and domestic social welfare programs. Birth certificates and other forms of official identification, birth registration laws, ability to attend school, getting a job, owning her own land, starting her own business and voting.
Advocacy successes are: Preventing child marriage, raising the legal age of marriage in Malawi, Counting Girls (lack of documentation and birth registration laws), Supporting Children’s Rights (Children’s Law of Liberia).
Why is advocacy important?
Girl Up directly impacts the lives of girls around the world by fundraising for UN programs that offer critical services to girls. To help change entire societies, we also need to ask our governments to support policies that make a lasting and sustainable impact for girls. That’s why we provide ongoing opportunities for Girl Up supporters to contact their policy-makers through letters, phone calls and in-person constituency meetings. Advocacy is the best tool for large-scale change.
How do you advocate?
To be a powerful advocate, you should educate yourself on the issue you care about and understand what you are asking your elected official to do. Luckily, Girl Up is here to help with both! Get started by learning about the various ways you can advocate for our current policy priority.
“Girl Up Champions and Global Advocates represent a diverse group of individuals – celebrities, athletes, business executives, philanthropists – who actively work to empower adolescent girls around the globe,” states Girl Up.
Some of those Girl Up Champions and Global Advocates are:
GIRL UP CHAMPIONS: Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight are stand-out artists and positive teen role models; Cara Delevingne / Model, Actress; Katherine McNamara / Actress; Monique Coleman / Actress, Global Youth & Girls Advocate; Nigel Barker / Fashion Photographer, TV Personality; Priyanka Chopra / Actress, Singer, Former Miss World; Rebecca Soni / Former US Olympic Swimmer, Athletic Success Consultant; Victoria Justice / Actress, Singer.
Your children can sign up if they are interested. The sign up form is in Mrs. Boles’ room. There will be various workshops held throughout the year and they will also be fundraising and raising awareness regarding important issues.