Girls: Live Your Lives!

Atoofa Najeeb

Sitting on my favorite couch, I thought to log in my Facebook. In my newsfeed I saw an article posted by my friend titled: “A report on the Status of India’s Girl.” The article came under the trend of the “International Day of the Girl.” This article was written by Plan Asia in Genderbytes blog. Brief of the article is that 50% of girls do not want to be girls out there in the India society while, 53.22% of the Indian children have experienced some, and 22% among them extreme forms of sexual violence. India is now the world’s “hub” for child prostitution and child sex-trafficking. She is my longtime friend, and once shared with me that her father is ashamed for having a daughter at home, and he cried when she was born.

Now this is depressing!

“There are 31 million school-aged girls who do not have the opportunity to attend elementary school. About 35% of women across the world have encountered physical or sexual violence. More than 90 percent of teenaged girls have said they wish they could alter the way they looked. Only 4 percent of the top U.S. companies have women as their chief executive officers,” said Julia Glum in her article “International Day Of The Girl 2016: Quotes And Facts To Celebrate, Empower Young Women.”

It is a known fact that when it comes to girls no special attention is paid on their education in developing societies like Pakistan and India etc. A horrifying trend is that many girls are even abandoned at the time of their birth, and sometime the mother is also killed for giving birth to a daughter. This is outrageous and an unacceptable social behavior. That also reminded me of another story which was published in BBC in 2012 reporting that a husband and mother-in-law strangled a women for giving birth to a third daughter in Afghanistan. Such stories are becoming more common.

Coming back to our own culture and religion, we are told that in the times of Jahiliyyah (Days of the Ignorance) female infanticide was a common practice that the Prophet Mohammed outlawed in his religious law. But irony is that a majority of the Muslim societies are still indulged in such practices even today and discrimination against girls is accepted as a social norm. This is shameful.

I am aware that my religion does not bar women in having different roles such as: an entrepreneur, a teacher, preacher, doctor, engineer, scientist, and she can do that along with her domestic roles also. But social and patriarchal conservatism and the objectification of women have reduced them into sex tools and child bearing individuals.

Not all women but yes, majority of them face a range of violence and harassments. I personally believe that the most needed strategy of our times is to educate and economically empower girls. Being a girl, I wish to tell all my women readers that you can do whatever you want. You must know your right, and you must learn to stand up as yourselves. Even if our society bars and tries cutting your wings, you must learn to fly, and live your dreams.

Life is not happening again. Hence, live it girls!

The patriarchy has pressed women for long enough. It is about time that women start creating their own world. And the time for that started yesterday!

Women hold half of the world, and if they empower themselves, they can hold the whole of sky. Raise your voices, raise yourself, as there is nothing shameful in being a girl.

And a belated Happy International Day of the Girl.

You all are beautiful and amazing and should start doing amazing and beautiful things!

Atoofa Najeeb

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Better known as "Fifu," she is an Islamic Feminist and strives for creating greater public spaces for women in the Muslims societies. A campaigner at heart, she constantly works with young and underprivileged girls. Proud to be a woman, she says!

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