Girls Call for Justice
By Sr. Ethel Howley, SSND (Atlantic-Midwest Province)
Girls are ready to accelerate history and to move our countries forward. Some have taken leadership in promoting a future with hope for climate change, widespread educational opportunities for all young women, and safe environments in which to study and work.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and, at age 17, the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate (2014), founded an organization to ensure 12 years of free, safe, and quality education for every girl. Her efforts began in Pakistan and have expanded to other parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Today, girls are standing up for their right to learn, despite enormous obstacles, across the world. (Photo source: Wikimedia)
Greta Thunberg, a Swedish girl and environmental activist, born in 2003, is known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. Greta gained notice for her straightforward and blunt speaking to political leaders. She criticized world leaders for their failure to take action in addressing our climate crisis. After Greta addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student protests took place throughout the world and they continued in the following years. (Photo source: Wikimedia)
Emma Gonzalez, born in 1999 in Florida, USA, is an American advocate for gun control. In 2018, she survived the deadliest high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. In response, she co-founded the gun-control advocacy group March for Our Lives and quickly rose to fame becoming the American face of anti-gun violence. In a speech given in Washington, she began by listing the names of the 17 students and staff who were gunned down in her school. She then remained silent for 6 minutes and 20 seconds in order to show how it felt to crouch in a classroom while a murderer carried out his shooting spree. (Photo source: Wikimedia)
In adversity, these three girls have exhibited resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience. We look forward to experiencing the rewards of their work and foresight. Hopefully, we can invest in a future that believes in their leadership and potential. The International Day of the Girl, celebrated October 11 each year, supports further opportunities for girls and increases awareness of worldwide inequality faced by girls based on their gender.