By Niamh Collins
To begin, happy international women’s day! I want to say a big thank you to all the trailblazing women in the world and in my life, may we forever seek to emulate you, and in the words of Jane Fonda, continue to take the torch forward ourselves!
When browsing through articles that focused on the achievements of women today I was struck by a particular one published by the Huffington Post, ’55 incredible photos of girls going to school around the world’ It is easy to forget when enrolled within an education system that such a high proportion of young women around the world are denied such a right, and it is incredibly humbling to see the efforts and remarkable journeys girls undertake every day to learn.
My grandfather is currently working with a woman in Africa and a man in India to help develop biodegradable sanitary towels from the cellulose of banana leaves, as all too often when teenage girls reach the menstrual age they are forced to leave school without completing their education. SHE enterprises are working tirelessly to tackle the lack of affordable menstrual pads which force 18% of girls to abandon their studies. It is not simply on international women’s day that we need to acknowledge the remarkable efforts of these organizations.
At a time when we may grumble about the upcoming exams, demanding work days and mountains of paperwork, across the globe 65 million girls are not in school. How can we possibly reach any sense of equality when such a large proportion of girls are denied access to education, with two-thirds out of 774 million illiterate people being women?
These images are truly breathtaking, to see such inspiring young girls from all cultures, races, and backgrounds attending school despite many adversaries (such as the image of girls attending a class following damage by a recent Saudi-led air strike in the port city of Hodeidah, Yemen) reiterates just how important education truly is, and how crucial it is we continue the fight to ensure all of these 65 million girls can access the education they deserve. Because every person, regardless of their gender should have the right to education.
I urge you greatly to follow the link below to see these wonderful images and read the inspiring stories behind them for yourself.