Why I do What I do
My stories are about girls from around the world kicking ass and beating evil men, while still enjoying the things girls love, from fashion to food to cute guys. And why not? Life’s not just about survival, but about growing and thriving and laughing and living, isn’t it?
I’ve lived in seven countries in four continents and traveled to countless more since I was a baby, so I write from my own experiences and observations. I write to entertain, but more importantly I write to empower girls, especially those who live in the darkest corners of our planet. These are sad places where a girl is born with few rights. If any. Their rights are taken away by archaic customs and traditions, by their own families and communities and in some cases even by law.
Did you know that in some parts of the world a little girl can be bartered in exchange for clemency when a male member of her family commits a crime? That little girl is “married” off to the other family only to be abused in horrific ways that if we truly knew how, it would keep us all awake at night for the rest of our lives. Hard to believe this is happening today, in the twenty first century, under our own watch, isn’t it?
Contrary to some beliefs however, girls aren’t disposable or useless or a burden. In contrast, girls are the greatest untapped resource on earth. The greatest untapped resource on earth.
Did you know:*
- Women operate a majority of small farms and business in the developing world
- Each extra year of a mother’s schooling cuts infant mortality by between 5 to 10%
- When girls over 16 earn an income, they reinvest 90% in their families and communities, compared to men who invest only 30-40%
- Every 1% increase in the proportion of women with secondary education boosts a country’s annual per capita income growth rate by about 0.3% points
- Picking just one country – if India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, their GDP would rise by $5.5 billion. Imagine
Did you also know:*
- 38% of girls in developing countries are married before the age 18, with 15% of all girls married before 15. Yes, you read that right. Married before the age of 15 usually to men 20, 30 or more years older.
- In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence, and 50% of all the sexual assaults in the world are on girls under 15. These are our children.
- The number 1 killer of girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide is pregnancy & childbirth complications. These are our children having children.
- Women and girls make up 80% of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across national borders annually with the majority trafficked for sexual exploitation
- 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation, also called cutting. Most go through this between infancy and 15 years old
- In sub‐Saharan Africa, girls aged 15–24 are eight times more likely than men to become HIV positive. Imagine being 15 and being HIV positive?
- There are 65 million fewer girls than boys in primary school today. Girls’ primary school completion rates are below 50% in most poor countries because they’re pulled out by parents for domestic work or to be married off
- More girls under 16 years old are in domestic service than in any other type of work
Heart breaking statistics.
Let’s not forget behind all these numbers are real live girls with blood pumping in their veins, bright eyes that look up to the skies in wonder and hearts filled with feelings, wishes and dreams. They are just like how you and I were when we were little. But as you can see here, so many girls have their hearts and bones broken on a regular basis around the world.
This horrifies me. And it should you too. It’s for all these reasons I write. And also because I was a little girl once and know what it’s like to grow up in this world as one.
I have heard that feminism is a dirty word now, one that is isolating and choleric. I fervently believe in the equality of all – women, men, boys, girls, gay, straight, transgender, bi, black, white and everything in between. But, if even one girl is forced to drop out of school and marry a man she’s never met with no one uttering a word in her defence, then I say feminism is not dead. If even one little girl is taken to the back shed to have her clitoris cut while she screams for mercy, then I say feminism is not dead. If even one young woman is robbed of her identify and restricted in her movements by being forced to cover up for so-called safety and ‘honour,’ then feminism is not dead. When those of us sitting in the comfort of our living rooms whisper to one another “Oh, but it’s racist to talk about it. We must not offend,” and pussy foot around serious human rights violations, then I say feminism is not dead.
As long as we, in the name of misguided multiculturalism and perverted political correctness, allow honour killings, forced marriages, wife beatings and female genital mutilation, to continue, then, I say feminism cannot die. When so many today defend such vile practices as “cultural, “part of a heritage,” or “a tradition,” then no, feminism cannot die. There is still much work to be done.
For those who still wonder why we must care, I have a simple poem for you. A poem I hold dear to my heart.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Martin Niemöller, German Anti-Nazi Activist
Regardless of where you identify yourself in the political spectrum and whether you agree with any of the organisations mentioned in this poem or not, one thing holds true. The day we stop fighting for what’s right, is the day we give up on ourselves and on humanity.
My message to all the vulnerable little girls everywhere is to stay strong, fight for your rights, find ways that allow you to learn and become who you truly dream of becoming. With all the advances in technology and reach of information these days, there has never been a better time to be bold and grab onto your dreams. So yes, you too can grow from the little acorns you are now, to magnificent, giant oak trees.
Anything is possible, my little sisters.
I also want to you know you’re not alone in your endeavor to claim your rightful place as human beings, to be respected and valued like any other. We will change this world together. We will make the world aware, and we will make them care.
And if no one else will, I promise you, you’ll find me standing with you, always.