Category Archives: Kids

New perspective about recessions and their impact on girls and women

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The World is Failing Girls…

While doing some research recently on charities which support the education of young girls and women in impoverished countries, I found an interesting report by Plan International which throws a new perspective on the issue. It opened my mind, and heart, to new facts I have not considered before… Did you know that the current global economic crises affects the female gender unequally?  The evidence suggests that girls and young women are particularly vulnerable. When we read in the press about countries toppling over like dominoes in Europe, we may not realise that the ripple effects go much further, wider and deeper than just those developed countries alone.

When matters of basic survival are at stake and there isn’t enough to feed the family, girls are made to drop out of school early to find work. This sets off a spiral of hopelessness which may involve abuse, early pregnancies, and a lifetime of continued poverty…

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The long-drawn economic crises around the world, coupled entrenched gender inequality in most under developed countries have left girls and their families with “fewer resources, lower incomes and less access to basic services, including social safety nets”.

We should care because it is not just affecting girls’ basic physiological needs but also their fundamental human rights to survivaldevelopment (including education and employment), protection (from violence, neglect and abuse) and participation in macro decisions*.

I am going deeper into the facts and plotting a way to help in a bigger way. If you are interested, there are many charities and NGO’s out there which specifically reach out to these vulnerable girls and women apart from PLAN(such as CARE, CamFed, the new Malala Fund, GEMS, Half the Sky)…perhaps you might be inspired to find your own unique way to help turn the tide against this oppressive trend and give underprivileged young girls and women a chance at better lives.

* Source: Plan International

What Have We Done? What today’s teens grapple with…

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I think we adults – I am referring to the baby boomers and Gen Xers here – really have to step up now and admit we are responsible. I read an article last night which was probably not the best one to read while trying to relax on a Sunday night! The raw messages from the teenage girls interviewed and opinions from the psych experts really disturbed me.

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In today’s world where the external and material define most of us, how are we as adults taking responsibility for role-modelling for the younger generation? We started it – the unrelenting pursuit of material wealth and status, the explosion of cyberspace and its trappings, the obsession to have an interesting alternate life on screens everywhere, the myriad of digital toys and faux friends… We continue to perpetuate the problems when we don’t live authentic lives we are proud of, nor make genuine connections that enrich us and then choose to participate in the same games and illusions, and judge ourselves against the worldly ideals we think ‘society’ holds for us. Most role models teenagers have today are no longer from worthy novels or real world history but the media-exposed celebrities and criminals.

Teenagers now feel huge pressures to conform, outperform, have perfect social-media selves, be thin, dress right, and are increasing sexualised at younger ages, girls and boys alike. Reading firsthand accounts of how these girls cope made me realise how we adults really have to do some serious soul-searching and resolve to stop judging ourselves by the wrong standards, so that we don’t do the same to the younger generation (they will do what we do, unfortunately!).

I have read a couple of Steve Biddulph’s books (they are really insightful) and he is quoted in this article as saying:

“The danger time usually starts around 14; typically, a girl vulnerable to these pressures has a dad who is critical or cold; a mum who is stressed and busy; has had fairly unlimited exposure to TV (such as in her bedroom) from early childhood, and now digital media — texting, Facebook — with no time restrictions.

Special attention is needed from ten to 14, when a girl starts to become her own person. She needs adults who have soul, who ask her about her beliefs, values and what she stands for, what she wants her life to be about. She needs to develop an interest or an activity that really makes her feel alive.”

Let’s consciously look at what personal values we hold and maybe decide to drop those we know deep in our hearts, are not going to serve us well as genuine well-adjusted human beings (with soul) who understand self-worth, enriching relationships and open hearts.