GUEST BLOGGER:Tamara Arredondo
Taking on large social issues can be daunting. Whether it is an individual, an organization, or an entire community, changing the focus or mentality of a population to address or alleviate a noted problem is no small task. It takes courage to stand up and say things need to change. It takes optimism to believe that the change can come to fruition. And it takes relentless determination to see that change through.
Think about these challenges: Break down gender stereotypes. Eliminate domestic expectations. Afford increased educational opportunities. Better the available education. Inspire dreams and aspirations. Encourage the pursuit of higher goals.
This seems like a tall order.
What about doing all these things for the world’s girls?
These problems still exist for many women around the world. Many cultures do not afford girls the same opportunities as their boy counterparts. Domestic responsibilities are higher. Educational opportunities are often scarce. Career options are limited. Choices are not always their own. Dreams are not encouraged. Overall, females face many more obstacles when seeking individual fulfillment.
Where does that leave you and me? What can we do to promote girls worldwide?
In the United States, women have come a long way. While some may argue that we still have a long way to go, we have seen increased opportunity over the past century. The challenges that American women have faced and overcome have given others a better future, given us a better future. We owe it to those pioneers to take advantage of the opportunities we are given (voting, education, job options, etc.) and to help other women and girls realize the their full potentials.
Locally, be a mentor. This can take a variety of forms: parent, teacher, friend, tutor, coach, adviser. But whichever role you assume, take genuine interest. What are her strengths? What are her weaknesses? Where would she succeed? What are her goals? Personal investment from an adult sends a powerful message of belief and self-worth. And it goes such a long way with motivation.
International encouragement can seem a little more difficult as the personal connection is a harder to come by. However, there are so many people and organizations, such as Edge of Seven, that bridge this gap and make it possible for those living in the developing world to reach out to groups of marginalized or struggling women and support girls around the globe. Being able to visit and work directly with these groups, whether building a school, teaching usable skills, delivering clothing and tools, or whatever, is an credible experience on both sides of the equation, but it is not necessary in order to show your support. Time to travel or volunteer can be difficult to come by. You can, however, support these causes locally and use your greater network to spread the word.
Here and there—every person is able to help with the promotion of girls, their rights and their dreams. No action is too small. Piece by piece we can all solve this puzzle together.
Here’s to Women!
Happy International Women’s Day!