Author: Lauren Himiak

A woman holding her young malnourished baby queues for food at the Badbado camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs).   Famine has been declared in two regions of southern Somalia – southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. The United Nations indicates that 3.7 million people across the country, that’s nearly half of the Somali population, are now in crisis and in urgent need of assistance.  An estimated 2.8 million of those are in the south.

Helping Girls and Women Before a Disaster Strikes

On July 11th, we recognize World Population Day – a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme, Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies, is one of critical importance as the rights of girls and women are affected most in emergency settings. Take a disaster triggered by climate change as an example. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a household survey from Oxfam in Aceh, Indonesia, found that up to four women died for every male in the most affected areas. In some villages, all of the deceased were women. Why? In Aceh, girls and women often not encouraged or taught to swim or climb trees. They also spend majority of time in the home caring for children – homes vulnerably positioned near the shoreline. Girls and women are also more susceptible to gender-based violence in emergency settings where feelings of stress and powerless can lead increased physical and sexual violence, and exploitation. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, rape was reported as an epidemic that followed as girls as women were …

unnamed

When Time Stood Still: A Story of Courage, Survival, and Healing

Once in a while a book comes around that will have a profound impact on the lives of others. In a rare combination of personal reflection and professional insight, When Time Stood Still is a book that will not only assist in the healing of survivors, but also in public acknowledgement and understanding of childhood sexual abuse. ​The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine in the world, as many victims are too young or vulnerable to disclose the experience. According to the Children Assessment Centre (CAC), an estimated 500,000 children were born in the US in 2014 will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Statistics available state that child rape occurs every two minutes and that 90 percent of molesters abuse children they know. Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. This translates to more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse living in the US. When Time Stood Still is a rare experience, …

Child Marriage Post

Making Strides to End Child Marriage

More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into marriage before the age 15. Ending child marriage is not just a priority for the world, but a necessity that will enable girls and women to participate more fully in society. Girls and women are at the heart of global development, and when given the opportunity, education, and tools, can go onto raise healthier and smaller families of their own that will, in turn, contribute to their communities and society. We have seen an increase into the awareness of child marriage, thanks to organizations like UNICEF, Girls Not Brides, Save the Children, and Breakthrough. Just this month, Let Girls Lead (LGL), based at the Public Health Institute, celebrated the Malawian Parliament voting to pass the National Marriage Law, which raised the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. After over five years of advocacy by LGL partners and other key organizations, the victory guarantees a Malawian girl’s right to be a girl for the first time in …

Aziza_IMG_5024

Using Storytelling to Create Social Change

Violence is the second leading cause of death among adolescent girls globally. Not malnutrition or accidents or cardiovascular disease or maternal conditions. Violence. In fact, among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide, almost one quarter (around 70 million) have reported experiencing some form of physical violence since the age of 15. These shocking statistics can leave one feeling overwhelmed, confused, and angry. Luckily there are many out there working to change the lives of girls for the better. Rebecca Barry wasn’t on the course to advocate for the health and rights of girls and women, but her life took a turn in 2009 while on holiday in Samoa. What happened inspired her to find a way to use her skills and resources to raise awareness and connect others looking to create change. Girls Globe recently sat down with the director and producer of I AM A GIRL to talk about what girls in the world are facing today, and how we can all work to make a difference. How did the idea for I AM …

image1

Why you should care about GamerGate

And what it means for global violence against girls and women. Last week, actress and gamer Felicia Day posted an entry on her blog – “Crossing the Street” –to share her concerns that an online gaming campaign has made her fearful to engage with a culture she truly enjoys. Knowing full well that her words could (and now have) result in an outpour of angry, abusive, and downright vicious attacks, Day’s post has caught attention from the media struggling to understand the ugly phenomenon known as GamerGate – an online movement of gamers openly harassing female bloggers, developers, and critics with violent threats of rape and death. Yes, as women speak out against the violence, victimization, and inequality in video games, the response has been actual violence, harassment, and real threats to their safety. The objectification of women in entertainment is nothing new. One needn’t look very far to see over-sexualized, scantily clad women being dominated by men. Flip through the closest magazine or look at the nearest billboard. Within the gaming culture, women have expressed …

15206984639_7fa4fdea07_k

Global Citizen Festival 2014: The Finale to UNGA and the Road Ahead

At the end of the 69th session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA), one message rang clear: there is much more work to be done. Luckily, we are at a time of great momentum, where youth voices are speaking louder than ever, demanding their most basic human rights and a seat a the table to develop the post-2015 development agenda. On Saturday, the third installment of the Global Citizen Festival was held on Central Park’s Great Lawn, attracting around 60,000 attendees. Created by the Global Poverty Project, the festival’s mission – to end global poverty by 2030 – is shared by attendees, as ticketholders must earn their spot through online activism such as sending tweets, signing petitions, or sending Facebook messages. This year delivered not only with big name performances – Jay Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, the Roots, Fun., Tiesto – but with powerful speeches and political announcements from world dignitaries and President Barack Obama (pre-recorded). Celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Dianna Agron, and Zachary Quinto shared the stage with Queen Silvia of Sweden, …

Image c/o Ruth Orkin

Today, I was called a ****: The Harsh Reality of ‘Cat Calling’

Note to Readers: This blog contains slang for female genitalia often used as a term of abuse. “Hey, hey sweet lips….HEY SWEET LIPS.” Head down. Don’t engage. Walk faster. “Hey sweet lips, come on over here.” “Man, she ain’t no sweet lips. That’s just a white c**t.” Jolt of anger. Heightened awareness. Pulse rising. Don’t engage. Walk faster. While the victim-shamers may ask what I was wearing or how I was walking (because that should matter?!), let the record show that I was walking down a typical busy street to a friend’s house in Brooklyn. An evening to catch up with a friend was very quickly taken over by a complete loss of safe personal space as a woman. Does this happen often? Yes. Does this only happen to me? You’re kidding, right? As a growing number of advocates are realizing the prevalence of street harassment, women are slowly gaining momentum to and the courage to start what I can only hope will be a movement. Young people like Caroline Tomkins are speaking out in New York City and …

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 4.28.22 PM

Women Deliver Announces 2016 Conference on 500 Day MDG Milestone

August 18, 2014 marks the 500 day milestone until the deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the eight goals established by the United Nations and governments around the world tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. As the world gears up for a final push to raise awareness of the progress made through the MDGs and rally to continue the momentum, one advocacy organization working to advance the health of women and girls has made an exciting announcement. Women Deliver – a global advocacy organization and leader in the call to advance the health and rights of women and girls – announced today that the next Women Deliver global conference  will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2016. The announcement was made at the Invest in Girls and Women – Everybody Wins event held at the Danish Parliament, where Denmark’s new Strategic Framework for Gender Equality, Rights and Diversity was also launched. “We are beyond thrilled that the Women Deliver 2016 Conference will be in Copenhagen,” said Women Deliver President Jill …

c/o CFYDDI

Steering the Post-2015 Agenda in Uganda: Putting Youth Behind the Wheel

The theme of the recent International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne, Australia was “Stepping Up the Pace” – referring to the need to energize and revitalize global efforts to increase investments, collaborative research, and political commitment to bring an end to the epidemic. The conference was packed with researchers, students, non-government organizations, and individuals working to mobilize efforts and build on the current momentum of building the post-2015 agenda. With so many innovative and engaging advocates in one setting, the conference proved to a motivational event with attendees returning home more empowered in the work they do. AIDS2014 allowed advocates from across the world a chance to meet, share work, and build new relationships for future collaboration. Yet, work to end the AIDS epidemic goes beyond biotechnology and research, recognizing the importance of cross cutting issues like gender-based violence (GBV), sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and youth empowerment. While these topics are at the top of the international development, many are working to ensure those who have the potential to shape beyond the post-2015 agenda foster …

3255172319_bacfa52ffb_o

Ending the AIDS Epidemic in Adolescents

The International AIDS conference kicked off this week in Melbourne, Australia bringing together policymakers, those working in the field of HIV, persons living with the disease, and others committed to ending the endemic. Recognizing that we are at a critical time to ensure that HIV remains on top of the global agenda, this year’s theme – Stepping Up the Pace – is pushing adolescents to forefront. According to UNICEF, by the end of 2012 approximately 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV globally. About two thirds of new infections were among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Today’s adolescents have never experienced and AIDS-free world and face complicated risks and challenges that were unknown to previous generations. Compounded by the vulnerabilities that arise during adolescence, young men and women – and particularly girls – are facing high infection rates, poor access to treatments, and inadequate education. Despite these challenges, the global community is committing to addressing the specific needs of adolescents in order to cute infections in half by 2020. Recognizing …