Education Pivotal For Equal Rights: Girl Rising Highlights Continued Fight

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DeAnte Washington, Staff Writer

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The College of DuPage kicked off Women’s History Month last week with a screening of  “Girl Rising,” a film by Richard E. Robbins. It told a story of nine girls from developing countries who overcome challenges to receive an education and change their lives.  

As a man, it provided much-needed insight on female issues. “Girl Rising” is an important film for men just as much as women. During this month, men should have an understanding of female struggles and accomplishments.

It’s shocking that over 65 million women are not provided an education. Even in our country there are still women who are not able to receive an education based on their circumstances.  If this is an interesting topic to you, I advise that you dive into this film.

Each story of the nine girls was heartfelt, desolate and inspiring. I was touched by Wadley’s story the most.  

Wadley is one of the nine girls from the film. She was born in Haiti. Haiti, not too far of a plane ride from Miami, is a developing country in our world. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, the citizens of Haiti were in need of help. Before the disaster, Wadley attended school just like any other student. After, she was not able to attend because her mother wasn’t able to afford it.  

Her story was unique because it showed the astounding perseverance of a 7 year-old girl. When she was turned away from the teacher, she stood her ground. In the film, Wadley is asked by her old teacher to leave the classroom because her mother didn’t pay for her schooling. She refused to leave and if the teacher kept telling her to leave, she would come back the next day.   Wadley, similar to other girls, wanted to learn. In her story, she made it clear to the audience there is nothing more desirable to a child than a classroom setting.

It was hard to sit and watch 13-year-old girls being forced into a marriage and already giving birth. In our country, this would be taboo, but in developing countries, it’s a norm. In Afghanistan, a woman’s only job is to give birth. If they give birth to a female, they are frowned upon as if it was a curse. Imagine having to go out every day covered from head to toe, unable to show any part of your face. Women’s lives are in danger in Afghanistan.They are so restricted and limited in the things they are able to do. Amina’s story in Afghanistan was not only heartbreaking, but it filled me with anger. It’s absolutely ridiculous how girls are forced into marriage and motherhood but not into schools. After watching it, I thought about the issues we face in our country.

Today, women are still fighting for their rights and a place in this country. Men aren’t taught to settle down and have children when they grow up. Men aren’t told they need to find a wife after they are done with school. Women are held to higher expectations, because we’ve built a society where women have a minimal amount of power. “Girl Rising” was a well-told story, and if you want to support and be more involved in women’s rights, you can start by having more conversation with women about their experiences. Men can advocate for women, but that starts with listening more, understanding what challenges women face, and being willing to participate in the change. Another good start would be to watch this film.

 

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