#LetsTalkEquality on Day of the Girl

November 5, 2020 | GFC & Partner Updates

On Instagram Live, learn from young leaders how we can boost girls’ confidence, autonomy, and voices globally.

On October 9, in celebration of Day of the Girl, Penda Sarr, Programs Associate for Africa & the Americas at Global Fund for Children, invited four young people to discuss the broader issues impacting gender inequality and girls’ confidence on Instagram Live.

According to The Confidence Code for Girls, a girl’s confidence falls by 30% between the ages of 8 and 14 – and these effects can be long lasting.

The speakers for the Instagram Live event were:

  • Melissa Flores, Communications Coordinator at Al Otro Lado (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
  • Nasra Ahmed, Vice President of GFC’s Youth Leadership Council and Outreach Worker at Integrate UK (Bristol, United Kingdom)
  • Solomon Ndondo, member of GFC’s Youth Leadership Council and Founder of Africa Rise Foundation (Beitbridge, Zimbabwe)
  • Bri La Tendresse, Special Projects and Safeguarding Officer at GFC (Washington, DC, United States)

To kick off the conversation, Melissa talked about what happens between girlhood and adolescence, and explored girls’ confidence through the lens of migration. She emphasized the hardships experienced by migrant girls who are growing into adulthood while seeking refuge from the violence in their home countries – and sometimes in their own families. 

“Young girls that are transitioning into adolescence that don’t have the confidence to know that violence from family members is wrong are less inclined to see that as a qualification for asylum when in fact it is.”

Bri furthered the conversation by discussing how social contexts and identities, based on factors such as socioeconomic status, education, and religion, can impact a girl’s confidence and trajectory in life. She included an interesting correlation between girls’ confidence and their performance in STEM education.

“At the same age girls’ confidence drops, their math and science test scores tend to drop also. Up until these ages, boys and girls don’t have a difference in their math and science test scores, but around this age they tend to drop, and it’s a lot to do with gender norms where women are pushed towards things like literature and boys are pushed towards science and engineering.”

Nasra talked about the effectiveness of including boys and young men in conversations around gender and equality. She explained how social norms fuel toxic masculinity, and how she has seen that exposing male students to the different ways in which women are marginalized, such as through the traditional practice of female genital mutilation, opens their minds and understanding.

“Boys will be in positions of power. They might be doctors or medical professionals, they might have daughters or sisters, they might be around women, period. And they all benefit from a patriarchal society. So if they learn about gender equality, we can all work together to end the suffering and to empower women and girls.”

To close out the Instagram Live event, Solomon and Nasra discussed what we can all do to empower girls and boost their confidence. Solomon emphasized the importance of access to quality education so girls can have the same opportunities as boys. He also spoke about the need to demystify stigmas and issues around girls and the difference in treatment between boys and girls in Africa.

“In Africa, when there is a newlywed wife and she bears a girl child, they see it as some kind of an abomination, so we need to demystify such issues and reach out to communities and have programs on behavior change. A child is a child no matter whether it is male or female.”

Nasra pointed out that we need to listen to girls around the world, as no one solution fits all problems. She also highlighted that we need to invest more resources, time, and effort in gender equity work and the importance of partnership.

The Instagram Live event followed GFC’s Promoting Healthy Masculinities webinar the previous day, where GFC sat down with five community-based partners from the Changing Gender Attitudes, Empowering Girls initiative to discuss why it’s important to engage boys and young men in preventing gender-based violence and empowering girls.

Watch the full Instagram Live event here and stay tuned for more Instagram Live events in the future by following GFC’s Instagram.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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