There are still no resources to speak of for girls with disabilities facing violence, even though they experience violence at higher rates and more frequently than any other group of young women and girls in Canada. The rates of sexual, physical, verbal and systemic violence are at least three times higher.
It is difficult to fully comprehend the experience of someone with special needs. However, drawing from my personal experiences, including those of being a mom and the creator of a fashion brand focused on comfort, I can attest to the difference soft and comfortable materials can make on one's mood. Clothing plays an important part in all of our lives, especially those with sensory sensitivities, and the tactile experience can be as meaningful as the style when it comes to feeling good.
The Canadian Women's Foundations' Girls' Fund will help one thousand Canadian girls reach their potential, from age nine to 13 via 22 organizations in 44 communities across Canada. One such organization is the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton, where 17-year-old Nikki met Hailey, who would become her mentor and change the trajectory of her athletic life.
On International Day of the Girl Child, I think about a little girl I used to know. She was the daughter I imagined I would have. I said goodbye to that girl on a cold, February afternoon, in an ultrasound lab in downtown Toronto. I learned that the child growing inside me was my second, beautiful son. I would never have a daughter.
Traditional occupations with high rates of female workers in Russia are medicine, education, hospitality and service industries. Ironically, these happen to be the industries with not-so-high salaries and meager career opportunities. The most lucrative careers are predominantly male, and there is no trend of change on the gender front.
I believe that if institutions create greater educational and economic opportunities for women, we would immediately begin to see the positive impact on society. In my opinion, the Italian Government should highlight the capabilities of girls by creating more opportunities for dialogue to influence policies that benefit women and girls.
The truth is that girls' bodies are designed to grow and change shape throughout their formative years and it's natural and perfectly normal that they do so at different rates. So it's no wonder that the long-held standard in kids' fashion that a size 10 is ideal for a 10-year old is potentially damaging to one's self-esteem.
Menstruation is one of the leading causes of absenteeism among adolescent girls, with girls in Kenya missing an average of four days each month. Without access to accurate and essential health information, girls have limited understanding of how their bodies work. Femme International's study in Nairobi showed that 80 per cent of girls had no idea what menstruation was before their first period, leading to feelings of fear, confusion, and shame. A new smartphone game aims to change that.
It's not easy to be a girl here. And it's clear to me that it's not the strangers who are the biggest threat. It's poverty. It's the lack of good options. It's the prevalence of sexual violence, especially for Nepal's Dalit and Indigenous girls. And it's something else, too. It's the lack of programs for men and boys.
Roughly one billion women and girls worldwide -- almost 30 times the population of Canada -- suffer from malnutrition. This has catastrophic consequences not only for them and for their children, but for the world, as the loss of women's full potential hinders the social and economic development of entire countries.
To unleash the power of the adolescent girls is to create a world where girls are able to take advantage of any and every opportunity to come her way. It means to create a world where she not only has access to education, but also the freedom to attend school. Where she has reliable sources of nutrition-rich food and clean water, and doesn't have to risk sexual assault to collect it.
Nearly 90 per cent of girls tell Plan International that they have more opportunities in life than their mothers did. That's progress. But in developing countries, girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer malnutrition, and 63 million girls (many more than boys) don't attend school. Removing barriers to education, health care and other rights isn't enough. We need to focus on how girls can move beyond merely surviving, to thriving.