Bring Back Our Girls: How To Help

Sylvia Pankurst, feminist revolutionary, was born in this month back in 1882.  We are still fighting Sylvia’s war today, but the battlefield looks a little different. One of the key fronts we fight upon is the education of girls.

Today, there are 220 Nigerian schoolgirls still in the hands of  abductors, who are reported to be selling them as sex slaves to religious fundamentalists. The girls were kidnapped by a he girls were kidnapped by an extremist Muslim group called Boko Haram, whose name is reported to mean ‘Western education is a sin.’

What to do with this heartbreaking information?

What to do with this useless rage?

 (cartoon from The Guardian.)

Boko Haram strikes at education for girls because it is an established factor in raising living standards for women.  Girls who finish high school  have smaller, healthier families, lower HIV infection rates, and higher wages. Critically, educated women are more likely to educate their own children – ending the cycle of illiteracy in one generation.

A few key facts (All stats found here):

Educated women are healthier.

An extra year of girls’ education can reduce infant mortality by 5–10% and can reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other preventable disease.

Educated women earn more.

Providing a girl with one extra year of education beyond the average boosts her future wages by 20%.

Significant inequalities still exist

Of the 793 million illiterate people in the world, two-thirds are female.

With each week that passes, the future of the missing Nigerian schoolgirls looks bleaker. Here are their names:

Girl Rising is a global campaign for girls education, which aims to make education for girls part of ‘mainstream conversation’. They do this through screening their documentary Girl Rising, which follows ‘nine unforgettable girls living in the developing world: ordinary girls who confront tremendous challenges and overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams. Prize-winning authors put the girls’ remarkable stories into words, and renowned actors give them voice.’

Check out their website here.

You can find out how to host a screening in your town here. I am planning to try and host a screening at our school. I would love for all our children to gain an understanding of what education can mean to girls around the world – both to understand how privileged they are, to appreciate their access to school, and to be part of a community effort to help other children.

You can also access petitions, donation suggestions and information at the Bring Back Our Girls Facebook page.

Bring back our fucking girls.