Last night I sat in a picture theatre almost entirely full
of women for a private screening of Girl Rising. It’s quite a film/documentary,
and if you have an opportunity to see it, you should. In some ways I felt like
it was preaching to the converted here, because the message is the value of
educating girls, to a county’s economic prosperity, health and just about every
other index of flourishing you could invent.
We are privileged to live in a
country where it isn’t even a question whether you will educate your daughters
as well as your sons, and even though I finished my schooling some time ago, I
not felt once felt there was any difference in opportunity or choice between me
and the boys in my classes.
But in many places of the world that is not the case, and
those places are where these stories come from. Girls from nine different
countries were paired with a writer in their own language to tell their story. I
didn’t agree with every worldview and attitude it was presenting, of course (presenting the rather disney idea that you have the power to be
anything you want to be and fulfil all your dreams etc irks me),
but the film served its purpose in showing us what it meant to be born in girl
in many countries, and what a difference it made if those girls could simply go
to school (especially to their health outcomes, which we don’t always think about when we think of education).
The main way presented to us to support the education of
girls was to give financial resources, as is to be expected, but I did leave
feeling more disgruntled with my job, with nit-picking my way through
documents moaning when someone opens more parentheses than they close. And I
walked to my car with another girl who was thinking similar things and said ‘my dinner conversation was all about
where I’m going to mount my flat screen TV’. But it can be hard to know where
to channel your “white man’s guilt” when stirred in such a way.
Before the feature film we also saw a short film made by the
BUMP mentoring program for
young Mums, and few tears might have slipped down my face in the dark over that
Then on Friday someone is coming into my workplace from the
A21 Campaign, to talk to us about human trafficking in Australia. I
don’t know who here is responsible for that, but I intend to go along.
So, by the end of this week I might let out a roar or two, before I charge off into the sunset the change the world.