You and I probably know that girls have the capacity to change the world. I, certainly, never had my doubts.
In recent years, organizations such as the UN, Center for Global Development and Women Deliver have placed young women as central components in their efforts to eliminate gender inequality and oppression. In particular, some of the campaigns created by these organizations have focused on securing the sexual health and education of young women with the understanding that the more options young women have with regard to their futures, the more opportunities they will have to contribute to their communities, regions and the world at large.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation is one organization that has created a campaign to strategically address girls’ rights to sexual education and reproductive health. Girls Decide is a project that in part, highlights the staggering statistics young women face all over the world today. For example, roughly 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, accounting for 11% of births worldwide. Then, girls aged 10-19 account for 23% of the overall burden of disease due to pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. The Girls Decide campaign aims to further illuminate why issues like unplanned pregnancy, living with HIV/AIDS and sexual violence need to be attended to and how doing so can improve the lives of and empower young women globally.
As part of the initiative, the IPPF has produced six engaging short films recounting the stories of young women from around the world who have all benefited from IPPF and their affiliates. The films highlight the importance of resources like heath centers with the added significance of compassionate, welcoming, informative and non-judgmental staff, doctors and counselors on site. The message that rings throughout all the films is that if we support young women and girls, they can gain invaluable amounts of self-esteem, which may allow them to positively influence the struggles they are faced with, and effectively change the world.
Here’s some information directly from IPPF:
The Girls Decide films, which were launched in London on 16 February 2011, are part of a larger initiative that aims
to highlight the centrality of girls’ and young women’s sexual and reproductive lives for both individual and global development, and aims to ensure that girls’ and young women’s sexuality and pregnancy-related issues are effectively addressed by adopting policies and practices that work for girls.
The films share the stories of girls from around the world on their journeys to make informed decisions about sex, pregnancy, abortion and relationships. They show how IPPF Member Associations around the world fulfill their commitment to young people’s sexual and reproductive rights through the provision of quality youth-friendly services.
The films were filmed in six countries and each portrays a global message. A case study of a girl’s personal decision-making journey forms the basis of each film. The countries and issues included in films are as follows:
Bangladesh: child marriage
Swaziland: living with HIV and sexuality
Albania: young men’s role indecision making on pregnancy
Syria: gender based violence
Indonesia: Safe motherhood for young women
To learn more about Girls Decide and to watch the videos, visit http://www.ippf.org/en/Resources/Films/