Because I am a girl

As readers of this blog will know, I don’t typically use it as a platform for politics or to tackle the big issues of the day. For one thing, I usually blog to take a break from more serious topics, it’s a chance to be a little more reflective. For another, there are enough information sources online already, written by people who are much better informed on these topics than I am.

But when I was asked to be a guest blogger as part of Plan Ireland’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign, I knew I wanted to get involved. And that was before I’d seen the really shocking statistics.

For me, one of the saddest parts of charity advertising campaigns, particularly those around Africa, is how much it takes to actually shock. It’s just so easy to become immune, to switch off, to listen to statistics and numbers but not to hear.

Plan Ireland’s campaign is full of numbers, terrible numbers. Numbers of women who are not in school, who are born to teenage mothers, who have HIV and AIDS. But of all of them the one that really hit me was this one:

70,000 girls every day are forced into marriage.

Every day. That happened today. It will happen tomorrow. By the time we’ve seen the X Factor results on Sunday night that’s over 200,000 teenagers – some girls as young as 12 – who’ll be forced into marriages, ending their education and their freedom. Soon, they’ll have children, and if those children are girls, the cycle will begin again and again. Unless we do something to try and stop it.

If you have a chance read the blog, comment, watch the video, tell other people, start a conversation. If you have the cash, make a donation or sponsor a child.

Only last week a client and I were having a chat – a rant really – about how about 90% of marketing directors in Ireland are male and about how writing by men is usually classed as ‘literary fiction’ while writing by women falls into the ‘chick lit’ category. These imbalances are important, of course they are, and we should talk about them.

But there are other, more important, more life threatening imbalances taking place all over the world, today. And I think we need to talk about them as well.

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