Each year, International Day of the Girl highlights the devastating challenges the world’s 1.1-billion girls face – particularly those growing up in impoverished, war-torn and developing nations, where child labour, child marriage and early pregnancy are rife.
While both boys and girls around the world are vulnerable, millions of girls are denied their basic rights every day, purely because of their gender. Here’s just one terrifying statistic: every two seconds, a girl under the age of 18 is married off against her wishes. That’s 15-million girls every year.
At marie claire, we’re committed to fighting for gender equality and empowering women all over the world. As International Day of the Girl draws closer (October 11), marie claire editors have reflected on their most cherished childhood memories – and the ways they’re taking action to ensure that girls everywhere can have access to the same opportunities, wherever they may live.
Sarah Grant, marie claire features director
“My most treasured memories from my teenage years would be holidays spent on Rottnest Island in Western Australia. They were incredibly fun and happy days spent riding bikes, swimming in the ocean and eating lots of hot chips with my friends. There was a fantastic sense of being free and not having a care in the world.
Since becoming a mother a year ago, I have become a lot more aware of the millions of girls around the world who aren’t fortunate enough to get a strong start in life — let alone the chance to ever experience summer holidays with friends. I think it would be wonderful to be able to sponsor a girl, and know that you can make a small difference in the scale of things but a huge difference to how that individual’s life progresses. Every girl should have the right to love, health and education.”
Sally Hunwick, beauty director
“I loved going to the beach with my mum and dad and my two sisters and brother. I loved being all together; swimming, eating ice-cream, playing board games, having barbeques and just being kids. We looked forward to those two weeks every year.
I feel very lucky to have so many idyllic memories from my childhood and I want my child to have the same. All young girls should look back on their childhood with fondness.”
Alley Pascoe, entertainment & news editor
“When I was 11 I won a writing competition at school. As a part of the prize, I got a one-on-one writing workshop with a published author (and a Nestle goodie bag). I still remember the advice the author gave me, “Write about what you know.” I’ve lived by those words ever since.
As a journalist working at marie claire, I get so much joy out of mentoring aspiring female writers. We have a wonderful internship program for university students who want to experience the publishing industry. I work with the interns every day, editing their work and giving them feedback. The advice I always give them is: Write about what you know.”
Isabelle Truman, senior digital fashion & features editor
“Every summer we would pack our togs, grab the dog and head away to one of the most beautiful New Zealand beaches. I would spend entire days reading in the sun and drive along the beach – far too fast (says the police officer who knocked on our door) – on our four-wheel motorbike.
I think it’s so important we remember how lucky we are and give back to those who haven’t grown up in the same way. I sponsored a young girl through World Vision for years throughout university and hope to sponsor another now that I’m more financially able.”
Kathryn Madden, features editor
“As a teen, the local ballet studio was my second home. All my friends danced too, and the highlight of our year was the annual concert, where we’d don red lipstick and sparkly costumes and showcase our sharpest routines.
Over the years I’ve taught dance to young girls in an effort to pass on my passion. Plus I tutor children from refugee backgrounds – I help them with their English, but each session inevitably descends into dancing!”
World Vision Australia aims to have 1000 girls sponsored before International Day of the Girl (October 11). For less than the cost of a daily coffee, you can help change the harsh realities girls face in developing countries by sponsoring a girl. This supports her education, health and gives her the chance to achieve her goals – free from some of the most damaging constraints of gender inequality.