the value of a girl

Last night I registered my 5 yr old girl for soccer. I registered her brother too, but for now let's just think about her. She started Kindergarten this past September. Five days a week, for half a day, she is at school, learning, playing, having a healthy snack,and doing a whole lot of other things with a classroom of other girls and boys.  Where we live, school is not a get to do thing, it is a must do thing for all children, whether you do so in the public school system, at a private school or through homeschooling or another alternative learning program. School for our kids, for our girls, is simply a given in our lives.

This is not the case in a lot of other parts of our world. I know that you know this, but think for a minute about your own daughter at 5 or 6 years old and then, instead of sending her to school, think about sending her out to walk MILES every day to get clean water for your family. Think about arranging a marriage for your 11 or 13 year old daughter. Think about there being no time for school in your daughter's day because she is a bonded servant (fancy name for slave) for your rich neighbours. It's all rather unthinkable right?

And yet for many, MANY girls in our world, this is their reality. For millions of girls the world over, education is a privilege - often a hard fought one (think Malala) - not a right. Girls around the world face barriers to education that boys do not. Barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery and sex-trafficking. Removing these barriers not only means a better life for these girls, it means a safer and more prosperous world for all. And the solution to removing them is simple: educate girls.

Educated girls stand up for their rights, marry and have children later, educate their own children, and their families and communities thrive. Educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.

GirlRising is a global campaign for girls education. It is a documentary film, it's a movement, it's a powerful teaching tool and it's a call to action for policy makers and educators and change-makers and regular everyday people the world over. GirlRising's mission is to change the way the world values a girl. ALL girls.

The powerful Girl Rising documentary is a feature film about nine girls across the world demonstrating inspiring strength and spirit and who are all fighting in various ways for their voices to be heard, for their education and for a better life for all girls.



Join me and Girl Rising Edmonton on International Women's Day, Saturday, March 8th, 2014 for a special screening of this powerful documentary. Details and tickets can be found here. 

For two of you, I have a t-shirt and 2 ticket combo prize to give away! Comment below and let me know what Girl Rising and educating girls means to you! Winners will be chosen at random on March 5th, 2014.




Rise up les filles!






Feminist Fare Friday: Edition #17

Today's edition comes with a BIG trigger warning. Some of the posts from this week are about childhood sexual abuse and how the Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen situation has brought this topic WAY out from under the carpets that it is often swept under in the name of "it's in the past, time to move on", "allegedly", "but he/she is the nicest person in the world", and all the other ways that society will more often than not choose a blissful shield of ignorance, rather than listen to or hear what happens to 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys in our world (Canadian Statistics). ***If you are not in a place to read these articles, please know this; it is OK, you don't have to. Skip #1. As an alternative, I give you cute baby animals instead! XOXO ****

*****For the record and in the spirit of full disclosure, I believe Dylan Farrow. I am one of the 1 in 3 girls that was sexually abused as a child by a trusted neighbour and there are still people in my life who do not know about it or who don't quite understand what that means to my life now.****


1. Dylan Farrow's incredibly raw open letter to to the world about her sexual abuse at the hands of one of the most revered Hollywood directors of our time started a virtual whirlwind of he said/she said, opinions, analysis and thoughtful and not so thoughtful inspection of all aspects of this particular case and of the topic in general all over the internet.  Film biographer, Robert B. Weide posted an account on The Daily Beast of what he claims are all the details that everyone was getting so, so wrong about Mr. Woody Allen and his relationships with the women and children in his life 20+ years ago.

"Twenty-one years after the first allegations that Woody Allen abused his adopted daughter, that incident is back in the news thanks to the director’s ex-partner, Mia Farrow, and estranged son, Ronan Farrow. But what does a closer examination reveal?"

Seems to me a closer examination reveals more about corporate media and Hollywood going to bat for their stars and protecting the mighty, then it does about believing victims, protecting victims and providing any kind of justice for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of these "stars". Jennifer Pozner outlines corporate media's rapist problem in very great detail in this post for Salon.

"Whether it’s Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe or even Jezebel promoting R. Kelly’s new “Black Panties” album without mentioning the allegations that he’s sexually assaulted dozens of adolescent black girls — or the Academy Awards giving a Best Director Oscar and a standing ovation to convicted pedophile rapist Roman Polanski — the music industry and the Hollywood film community just can’t stop enabling oh-so-talented predators."

One of the most powerful pieces that I read this week (and for better or for worse, the one that was the most triggering for me personally) was Andrea Grimes look at what exactly would make someone believe a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I can't really say much more about it other than I called my therapist the next morning to book an appointment and simultaneously decided to take a wee break from social media for the rest of the month.

I know there are lots of those people—people who would give the benefit of the doubt to literally anyone besides a scared, confused child or an adult survivor just coming to terms with their past. I wonder why there are so many of those kinds of people who seem unable to, simply, listen to survivors without transporting themselves into some crudely imagined, hyperbolic Law & Order: SVU episode full of idealized victims and nefarious abusers.


On to lighter topics now....

2. Pussy Riot was on the Colbert Report this week. You'd think two years in a Russian prison would break someone's spirit. Apparently not if you are Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhin. It's a great interview to watch, especially as the ladies give as good as they get from Mr. Colbert, who had a hard time keeping a straight face at times.


3. You know I am a sucker for anything with boobs! Especially when those boobs are feeding babies. This little diddy from Australian  duo Sparrow Folk is sure to "ruin your day" (ie, MAKE your day!)



4. Do you know about GIRL Rising? Well you should. And you should know that I will be talking a lot more about this incredible film and the upcoming screening of it in Edmonton on March 8th, which is also International Women's Day 2014. Watch the trailer below and look for a screening in your area too.



5. Who knew how much power women yield over all the poor menfolk out there, with the simple snip of a pair of scissors! JLaw cut her hair and the collective gasp from men was heard the world over. And now Felicia Day, poster-girl for geekdom, has done the same and this is NEWS people. A woman got a haircut and it is newsworthy.... just let that sink in for a minute.... thanks sexism!


Have a wonderful weekend and be kind to each other and to yourself,