Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Day of the Girl

October 11th 2012 was the first ever UN Day Of The Girl. Two years later, there are events happening globally. In our small way, we’re contributing tomorrow – we’re giving our blog and facebook over to Day of The Girl and we’ll be posting all day about organisations we love that are doing great things.

It can be easy to think – at times – that we in the UK might not need something like Day of The Girl. But the reality suggests we do. As thing like the Everyday Sexism project, Pink Stinks, No More Page 3, Child Eyes and Count Dead Women show, girls and women right here in the UK still suffer disproportionate discrimination and violence simply because they are female. The gendering of toys and books limits expectations and interests and has an impact on what and who children believe they can be – and as Emma Watson said in her recent UN speech, this impacts negatively on us all. If we are taught, socialised and trained to believe that gender roles – down to the emotions we’re allowed to feel – are tied to our gender, were constantly reinforcing difference.

Here are some stats and info from the UN, Daughters of Eve, Plan UK , Rape Crisis England and Wales and Count Dead Women

  • Rape, sexual, domestic and partner violence, sexual harrasment. 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Additionally, some studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner. In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims. Rape is ‘a mistake’ that ‘boys’ should not be punished for, that certain politicians believe women cannot get pregnant from Statistics on the number of rapes worldwide are difficult to collate as under reporting is common but it is estimated that
    • 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year
    • Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year
    • 1 in 5 women (aged 16 – 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

    Between 40 and 50 per cent of women in EU countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work In the United States, 83 per cent of girls aged 12 to 16 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. A 2005 survey by Amnesty International found that 33% of people believed that women shared responsibility for their rape.

  • Femicide and honour killing. In the UK, more than two women are killed by men every week. In Central America hundredshundreds – of women are killed every year. ‘Honour killings’ – whereby a girl or woman is killed by her family to preserve ‘the honour’ of that family – are recorded across Europe, Asia, the Americas…
  • Child Brides. More than 64 million girls worldwide are child brides, with 46 per cent of women aged 20–24 in South Asia and 41 per cent in West and Central Africa reporting that they married before the age of 18. 1 in 3 girls in the developing world are married by their 18th birthday. This can end their chance of completing an education and puts them at greater risk of isolation and violence. For girls under 15 the incidence of early and forced marriage is 1 in 9. Some are married as young as five years old. Victims of early and forced marriage typically have children very young. Approximately 70,000 girls die in labour every year because their bodies aren’t ready for childbirth.
  • FGM. Approximately 140 million girls and women in the world have suffered and live with the after effects of female genital mutilation/cutting. It is estimated that 23,000 girls are cut every year in the UK.
  • Trafficking Millions of women and girls are trapped in modern-day slavery. Women and girls represent 55 per cent of the estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labour worldwide, and 98 per cent of the estimated 4.5 million forced into sexual exploitation.

These stats are sad and hard to read – but there is hope. Voices like those of Malala Yousafzai, Nimko Ali, Leyla Hussein, Fahma Mohammed, Emma Watson are being heard. Change is starting – and we can all make it come faster, by celebrating girls and women for exactly who they are. We’re all good enough, just as we are. We don’t need to be cut, or controlled or protected or policed. We just need the room to be.

We’re celebrating girls and women today. We’ll be celebrating them – and ourselves – tomorrow too, and the next day. The Day of The Girl is a wonderful thing. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t need it?

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