Fears that the divisive politics which characterized Brexit and the U.S. presidential election will undermine liberal democracies across the globe, and put the world's most vulnerable people in harm's way, have never been greater. They are not misplaced -- right now real lives and a meaningful Canadian identity are at stake.
Though Canada is far from immune to the forces of intolerance, we generally still self-identify as generous, socially conscious citizens. In this moment of unease and unrest, it's heartening that we see ourselves as the world's helpful, conscientious neighbor. Well Canada, this week we have the chance to put our money where our identity is.
Hillary Clinton has been called shrill and cold, where a man might be called firm and resolute. Her election journey was paved with sexism and impossibly high standards, and she had to prove her worth repeatedly despite Donald Trump's evident lack of competence and experience in politics. Never before has there been such a clear example of an underqualified man getting the job over a highly competent woman.
Partnering with men and boys involves helping them develop a healthy, non-violent, and respectful outlook towards themselves and their relationships, and models of manliness where they are equals amongst their peers. Engaging boys and adolescents in the process at all levels is also key to empowering a generation of young people with the capacity to claim their own rights and respect those of everyone around them.
Numbered at 1.8 billion, the world is now home to the largest generation of young people aged 10 to 24 in its history. Having grown up in a digital era and more connected than ever before, younger generations are able to see the world's boundaries as more fluid, recognizing their shared interests and values with people around the globe.
I am calling on all Canadians to empower girls because we live in a globally connected world where rape and other forms of gender-based violence are pervasive. Canadians must realize that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable and that girls are among the most vulnerable population in the world.
The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. This is a time when Muslims all around the world abstain from all food, drink and sexual pleasure during daylight hours. It is also a time when Muslims remember those less fortunate around the world by giving a portion of their wealth to charitable causes. Every Ramadan, here at Islamic Relief Canada, we pick a global issue that we campaign and fundraise on, and this month we're calling for more action towards ending the global refugee crisis.
Despite the fact that children themselves consistently prioritize education above all else, when asked about their greatest needs during times of crisis, less than two per cent of humanitarian funding currently goes towards education. There is still a very narrow perception that when a crisis hits, education is simply a nice to have, rather than a need to have. Food, water, shelter and sanitation always seem to take precedent. And although all of those things are essential, I reject the notion that education is not equally as important.
The painful fact is the first thing to be compromised during a humanitarian emergency is the integrity of girls' rights. The everyday realities of many adolescent girls -- which often include early marriage, discrimination and lack of access to education -- are made far worse in the wake of a major disaster.
This year, the World Health Organization is calling on the global community to "end malaria for good" by lowering the global malaria burden over the next 15 years, and reducing malaria death rates by at least 90%. We still have a long way to go, but the end of the malaria epidemic may finally be in sight, and could even be achieved within our lifetime.
Each year, 15 million girls under 18 will be married; that's 41,000 each day, or nearly one girl every two seconds. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the second-leading cause of death of 15 to 19 year old girls globally. And, frighteningly, 30 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 around the world experience violence by a partner. Even here at home, three times as many Canadian women as men report being held back in some way due to their gender.
Girls living in poverty across the developing world are also much more likely to be subjected to violence than their brothers. Many believe girls have no business being in school. Many are forced against their will into marriage and intercourse in their teens. Two out of three victims of child trafficking around the world are girls.
Hurricane Sandy certainly got our attention. Billions of dollars (and counting) in damages. Communities crippled and left in the cold without electricity. Nearly 200 lives lost. Sadly, with the stark realities of climate change and frequency of extreme weather events, this likely won't be the last natural disaster we experience or witness in our lifetime or even this decade. So, what are we to do about that?