Gender equality —let’s make women and girls #worldclass
This petition had 14,135 supporters
Every day, girls like Anusha* in India are denied the right to live, learn, earn and thrive simply because they were born female. We believe that girls should grow up to be #worldclass – not second class – citizens, and the time has come for decision-makers around the world to make this aim a reality.
World leaders must not be allowed to backtrack on agreeing to an ambitious stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality.
The Sustainable Development Goals – due to be agreed in September this year – will set the agenda for the fight against poverty and injustice over the next 15 years. A gender equality goal with clear targets – on health, reproductive rights, education, political participation, access to finance and jobs, and much more – will mean real, concrete action is taken to ensure girls like Anusha grow up to be world class citizens.
Please sign our petition asking Ms Smriti Zubin Irani, Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development for the Government of India, the Secretary of State for International Development for the UK Government, and Alfonso E. Lenhardt, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to continue to champion a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality when the negotiations to replace the Millennium Development Goals get tough later this year.
I am Anusha, I come from a village in northern India. In our community, girls are not allowed to step out of their house. Forget going to school – we are forced to work in houses and fields and bring up our siblings.
Unlike the rest of the community, my father cherished me. He told me that one day I would become a star – that this was the meaning of my name.
But when I was nine my father died. My mother remarried, leaving me and my brothers behind to face life on our own.
We were taken in by my uncle and aunt. My brothers found work – there were opportunities available to them that were not even considered for me. I was the only girl. My role was to do endless household chores. I was beaten often. There was no dignity in my life.
One day we were visited by someone from a school called Udaan (run by CARE India) – a place for girls like me who had never been to school. My aunt sent her own daughter, but not me.
But when she did not settle at the school, my aunt sent me to help her adjust. For me this was a dream come true. When the teachers found me they gave me fresh clothes, clean food and a warm bed to sleep in. After a few days I felt like a human again – I almost forgot about my past and all the trauma I'd been through.
My teachers asked me to build a purpose in life and gave me the belief to achieve it. I have been nurtured, given wings to fly and seen other girls like me take a route out of physical and mental trauma to soar with dreams and aspirations.
I will study hard, to become a doctor to serve back to my community. One day I will become a star like my father has named me.
I want this to be true for all girls.
A global gender equality goal can make Anusha's dream a reality. Many governments have said they will support a gender goal – but we've seen promises like this fall by the wayside before. We must keep up the pressure to turn these intentions into action.
Photo: Sankalpa Acharya / CARE India
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