By Craig Bateman
Today is the International Day of the Girl. This annual date in the calendar was initiated by the UN (United Nations) and aims to highlight the ongoing discrimination and disadvantage that girls are actively subjected to all over the world.
Each year, the UN focuses upon a different theme. The theme that they have chosen this year is ‘Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement’, and surrounds the inclusion of girls within data analysis. The potential to analyse the preferences and interests of this demographic can lead to the greater representation of girls within the tertiary industries, and help to uncover some fundamental truths about what is important for girls at this time in history.
The UN believes that “much more can and needs to be done to harness data required to ensure programs, policies, and services effectively respond to the specific needs of girls.” In other words, the key message that the UN is aiming to convey is the importance of investing in research which captures the priorities for girls.
Through such investment, there would be greater capacity to incorporate the views and aspirations of girls into the running of public institutions such as the UN itself, with the outcome of ensuring that policy-making is as incisive and representative as it can be.
The International Day of the Girl shares its place in the calendar with the birthdate of Emily Wilding Davison, the martyr suffragette. Davison passed away after colliding into the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby Race in 1913 where she was campaigning for votes for women. Davison has become the iconic image of the sacrifices many made to enable a fairer democratic political system in the UK that doesn’t discriminate on grounds of gender.
In 2009, Kate Willoughby, who has co-ordinated efforts to champion Wilding’s story, launched ‘To Freedom’s Cause’, a highly-acclaimed play that highlights the struggle to gain women the right to vote. Willoughby then founded an Emily Wilding Davison legacy group ‘Emily Matters’, which has been campaigning to support and advance gender equality, particularly focusing on the importance of voting amongst young men and women. The play has been performed in many settings and to mainly audiences, including at the UK Parliament.
From 1908, the suffragette movement adopted the colours of purple, white and green; purple symbolised dignity, white purity, and green hope. These colours continue to inspire many men and women across the UK to build upon the suffragette’s legacy even today.
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Photograph by Wikipedia